Zucchini & Cilantro Stem Thogayal (Chutney)

Thogayal, is a south indian (specifically Tamilian) style of chutney. It varies from a chutney, because it uses a combination of roasted spices, tamarind, and lentils blended in with the vegetables and herbs. The key is to use fresh and often green veggies and herbs, that are complemented by browning the lentils and spices that add a nutty fragrance.

It’s the perfect quick dish to make with any veggie + herb combination on hand making it this meal-planner’s best friend! It’s easy to make; it stores well in the fridge upto a week, and is a versatile side to…really anything! It tastes incredible mixed in with rice, which is the traditional way it’s eaten. But, I use it several other ways too; Spread it on toast for breakfast, eat it with dosa’s or any savory pancake for lunch, or I even use it as salad dressing, and a sandwich spread.

This dish is great way to utilize the stems from cilantro that are as flavorful as the leaves, if not more!  I’d highly recommend saving the stems wrapped in a paper towel, in a ziploc bag. It stays in the fridge for a week, and in freezer up to 2 weeks.

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Ingredients:
serves 6-8
2 zucchinis, chopped
1 green bell pepper, stems removed and chopped
1 tbsp fresh tamarind, (or use 2 tsps tamarind paste)
1 bunch of cilantro stems, or about 2 cups
1 tsp coarse salt
3 dried red chillies
2 tbsp urad dal
1 tbsp + 1 tsp + 1 tsp canola oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida powder

Method:

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Heat a non stick pan with 1 tbsp canola oil for a minute over medium heat. Add zucchini, green bell peppers, and fresh tamarind. Saute this for about 5 minutes until the veggies begin to soften.

Then add in cilantro stems, and a tsp of salt. Mix these together, and continue cooking for another 10 minutes until the veggies are completely softened.

Set aside and let this mixture cool.

In the meanwhile:

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In a separate smaller pan, heat 1 tsp oil over medium heat. Add 2 tbsps urad dal. Stir for a couple of minutes until they start turning golden brown. Keep stirring and don’t walk away; dal tends to burn easily.  Now add the dried red chillies and toss together for another minute or so until the chillies have darkened and roasted, and the urad dal is a darker brown color. This step is important because the brown dal, and toasted chilli adds the essential nuttiness and earthiness to the dish.

To a blender, transfer the cooked and cooled zucchini and cilantro mixture. And top that with the toasted urad dal and chillies.

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Blend the mixture to a smooth thick puree. You won’t need to add any water, because the cooked veggies will provide all the liquid needed. Set aside the blended mixture in a bowl.

In a separate pan, heat 1 tsp oil over medium heat. Add 1 tsp mustard seeds and 1/4 tsp asafoetida powder. Mix them, and wait until the mustard seeds start popping…really popping. Again, this is a key step to develop the nuttiness of the mustard seeds.

Remove from heat, and drizzle the hot mustard seed oil over the blended thogayal. Serve warm.

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Mix well, and store in an airtight container. It tastes great served room temperature or cold. It stores upto a week in the fridge!

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