Kothamalli (Cilantro/Coriander) Thogayal (Tamil style chutney)

It’s fridge clean out day, and making thogayal with leftover herbs is one of my favorites! While there is no exact equivalent word to translate ‘Thogyal’ into english, chutney, or Pesto-like blend is the closest, for some context. It’s authentically Tamil food.

With more travel coming up, I am all about making sure there’s no food waste this week; so all my cilantro stems, cilantro leaves and fresh mint are becoming this comforting home style deliciousness.

This freezes well up to 2 weeks, which makes it a great ‘make ahead and store’ dish.


Serves 4

1 bunch cilantro with stems, ~2 cups (tamil: kothamalli)
(cut off the bottom inch of roots and retain the more tender part of the stem; this is a great way to leftover stems which are full of flavor)
1 bunch fresh mint leaves, ~1 cup
4 dried red chillies (tamil: vara molaga/molaga vathal)
1 tbsp urad dal (tamil: ulutham paruppu)
3 tbsp chana dal (tamil: kadalai paruppu)
2 tbsp canola oil
1″piece fresh tamarind; substitute 1/4 tsp tamarind paste (tamil: puli)
1/4 cup freshly grated coconut (Tamil: thenga)
(you could use the frozen kind, just thaw it to room temp)
1/4 tsp asafoetida powder (tamil: perungayam)
1 1/2 tsp coarse kosher salt (tamil: uppu)

In a small non stick pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add in chana dal, urad dal, and tamarind. Fry for about 2-3 minutes until the dals are golden brown and crispy. Make sure you keep tossing because the dal tends to burn easily.

Toss in measured asafoetida powder, salt, and the dried red chillies. Fry for another 45 seconds and turn off heat. Set aside this spice mixture and let it cool down.

Prepare the herbs by washing them well and tearing them into manageable pieces.

Place the now cooled spice mixture, measured fresh coconut, and the prepared fresh herbs in a blender.

Note: Make sure the spice mixture is warm/room temperature. If you throw in fresh herbs over a really hot spice mixture, the greens will wilt and turn dark brown.


Place the now cooled spice mixture, measured fresh coconut, and the prepared fresh herbs in a blender.

Blend together until smooth, with about a tablespoon of water, no more. Make sure you blend thoroughly, but not too smoothly. The texture should be more like a pesto.

This thogayal makes a great breakfast topper for eggs, or a salad dressing, sandwich spread, or a perfect chutney side for almost all tamil breakfast/snack dishes. Truly versatile!


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