Cilantro Chutney

The post for today is Kothamalli thogaiyal. Just like the Italian pestos, this dish demands blending together the spices and cilantro to a coarse paste. Instead of the walnuts or pine nuts, urad dhal is used and instead of olive oil, water is used and instead of basil or sun dried tomato, cilantro is used here. Hence I gave it the name Indian Pesto with Cilantro.

Kothamalli thogaiyal is a flavorful chutney made with fresh cilantro and very simple Indian spices. It is one of the tastiest chutney that can be relished with anything edible 🙂 It will be a great side for dosa (savory pancake) or idly or rice and an aromatic spread for sandwiches. Since, raw cilantro are used, they are a good for the health and I make this chutney atleast once a week.

Cilantro is rich in phytonutrients, flavonoids and active phenolic compounds. There is a belief that cilantro can help to lower blood sugar and cholesterol. Like mint leaves (pudina), cilantro can fight inflammation and has anti-microbial properties. Cilantro are commonly used in Mexican and Asian especially Indian cooking. They can be found in the vegetable section of the grocery store. Bright green and fresh leaves are preferred for cooking and the dry wilted ones are discarded. Most Indians refer cilantro as coriander leaves and interestingly, I have seen people in US, calling the coriander seeds as just “Coriander”.

The divine heat from the dry red chilly and the mild tanginess from the tamarind adds an exotic kick to the dish in every mouth. Finally addition of the earthly asafeotida takes the entire dish to the next level. The usage of coconut and urad dhal adds a subtle coarseness to the dish. Grinding them all with the fresh cilantro completes its making. I generally do tempering with mustard seeds and urad dhal. I love this chutney and would recommend it for anyone who is looking for fixing a quick menu. A dollop of home-made ghee with steamy rice and few spoons of this chutney on top when served with crispsy pappad or chips is a delicious meal by itself.

2 cups cilantro – chopped
2 dry red chilly – crushed
2 tsp asafoetida
1 tbs urad dhal
1/4 tbs tamarind pulp
1/4 tbs coconut shavings – fresh or dessicated
1/4 cup water
1/4tbs oil
2tsp mustard seeds
Salt to taste

Wash and clean the cilantro. Chop them and set aside.

In a small cooking pan, heat 1tsp oil. Once they get heated up, add the dry red chilly, asafoetida, urad dhal (reserve a couple of teaspoons for final tempering), tamarind and coconut. Cook for 3-5 minutes. Remove and let it cool.

Once cooled, grind them with cilantro and very little water to a smooth paste. Adjust water accordingly. Add salt to taste.

Simultaneously heat remaining oil in the same pan. Add the mustard seeds and urad dhal to the heated oil and cook for 1-2 minutes. Transfer them over the cilantro chutney and give it a complete mix.

Serve with hot rice and ghee or dosa or idly.

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