Category Archives: Chutneys

Pooti Aachi Vengaya Thuvayal – Great Grandmother’s Onion Chutney

 


  

This post is a tribute to the almost nonagenarian, my 89 year old grandmother-aachi, whose kitchen I peeped into as a kid. It has been a beautiful journey of love, love and love alone – millions of life’s lessons learnt from thousands of chatting sessions. The soft yet strong hands have produced en-numerous delicacies with tonnes of affection. I see those soft hands that have turned wrinkled and bony… and realize life’s harsh truths. The truth of aging, might not be as bad as I sound.. as we learn the art of aging graciously. But seeing our elders age is certainly one among the severest truths.

  


  

When I hold those hands now, I feel the same warmth among those pressing bones that protrude. How many nei urundais (lentils sweet) and pathirpeni (sugary crisps) and murukkus (savoury crisps) have these hands made and served, the taste still lingering in our minds…
 
When I see the glittering child like smile amidst those few clinging teeth and skinny cheeks, I long for the same energetic glee that has welcomed us home from school…
 
When I now listen to the never ending stories through the tired voice, I hope to hear the tamil songs sung to me and the gossips of the household with the same youthful tone…
 
When I look into those wrinkled sleepy eyes, I think of those youthful eyes that admired my every move…
 

But.. the joy of having aachis/grandmothers to tell you stories and admire your children is certainly a boon.
  

at work – great grandmother and great grand daughter


  

When I see my little daughter enjoy the company of Pooti Aachi/Great Grandmother and play several games, I am astonished by the connect of an almost ninety year old with a nine year old and also the other way round! The passion to connect can well be understood by today’s generation of social networks. This is a great connect, that needs no wi-fi. This is the generational link that passes through four generations of interdependent relationships. Quite amazing..truly no words to express.

This is yet another trademark Aachi’s recipe. This storable Onion Chutney is simply the best of chutneys and a great preserve. It can be stored for weeks without a refrigerator. But.. brush your teeth before meeting people.. these are onions and garlic.

The name normally associated with the thuvayal/chutney is vengaya thuvayal or onion chutney. But when it became my daughter’s most favorite chutney, she renamed it as ‘Pooti Aachi Vengaya Thuvayal’ – what else could suit the best of dishes – with the four generational connect. So each time we go home, this is packed on demand…

Due to old age, pooti aachi/great grand ma doesn’t make it anymore. It is made by her daugther-in-law – Amma who has been making this for decades now. But, aachi insists to stand behind to guide, so that nothing is missed. Such emphasis on perfection… certain traits of old age one can’t avoid, I suppose. Though Amma makes the same Great Grandmother’s Onion Chutney to perfection, but she needs to wait a few more decades to earn that name- ‘Pooti Aachi’ and the chutney to be named after her.

So, this post is completely in admiration of that Grand Lady of True Affection, whom I always long would stay with me forever.
  

Pooti Aachi Vengaya Thuvayal
  


  

The chutney is a very simple one, that involves patience and care… the same qualities that I respect my Aachi for.
  

Ingredients
  


  

To grind-

  • chinna vengayam/shallots – 4 cups (appr. 600 gms peeled)
  • poondu/garlic – 1 cup – (appr. 150 gms peeled)
  • milagai vatral/red chillies – 10 no.s

  
For Tempering-

  • nallennai/gingelly oil – 1/2 cup
  • kadugu/mustard seeds – 2 tsp
  • kariveppilai/curry leaves – 3 tbsp

  
Seasoning-

  • salt – to taste
  • juice of 2 small lemons

  
Method of Preparation

1. Wash and peel shallots and garlic and cut into random pieces

2. Fry red chillies in droplets of oil, this helps the seeds to grind well with onion and garlic


  

3. First dry grind the roasted red chillies and then grind the shallots and garlic with chillies into a smooth paste


  

4. In a heavy bottomed pan, heat 1/4 cup oil

5. Drop the mustard seeds and once they splutter, simmer stove and add curry leaves

6. Fry for a few seconds and pour the blended paste

7. Increase the flame and bring it to boil


  

8. Then, simmer again and let this mixture cook well – it would take at least 20 minutes to reach a thicker consistency.

9. Do not add salt till this stage. As the mixture thickens, we will need lesser salt

10. Add salt and tell it thicken more… say another 5 minutes

11. When the colour of the chutney reaches brown colour .. remember it was off-white in the beginning, add juice of 1 big lemon or 2 small lemons
  

from off-white


 

to brown


  

12. Once the lemon juice is incorporated, we can notice the colour change in the thuvayal from brown to black.

13. Do not overcook after adding lemon juice…as it will make the chutney bitter

14. After addition of lemon juice, the time needed would be approximately  3 minutes for the chutney to be ready


  

15. Enjoy with all kinds of Idlies and Dosais or even breads and rotis…why not!!

Chinna Vengaya Thuvayal – Shallot Dip/Chutney

 

IMG_2902

Unlike most of those plans/promises I have not been able to keep up, this time I could make it. As written in the previous post – here is the chinna vengaya thuvayal, ideal for lentil dosais. Also good for basic Idli and Dosai, but I believe the garlic content in this vengaya thuvayal helps to tackle the gastric problems which might arise for some, due to the protein rich whole lentils in the pancakes. In a whole, this thuvayal aids in digestion.

With simple ingredients and simpler preparation, this has the ability to change the earthy pancakes into a special treat or a quick and easy breakfast or dinner food.

 

Chinna Vengaya Thuvayal – Shallot Dip/Chutney

IMG_2858
Ingredients (serves 4)

  • chinna vengayam/shallots- 12 no.s
  • poondu/garlic – 12 cloves
  • milagai vatral/dried red chillies – 6 no.s (less or more)
  • puli/tamarind – gooseberry size
  • uppu/salt – to taste

thaalippu/seasoning:

  • nallennai/gingelly oil – 6 tsp
  • kadugu/mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • ulundham paruppu/dehusked black gram – 1 tsp
  • kariveppilai/curry leaves – a few

 


IMG_2436

 

Method of Preparation

  1. Clean, wash and cut onions and garlic
  2. Wash tamarind well
  3. Grind to a smooth paste with red chillies, tamarind and salt
  4. Heat 4 tsp oil, add mustard seeds and black gram; when the black gram is golden brown add curry leaves; fry for about 15 seconds in low flame and pour the blended paste
  5. Stir the blended paste well in the seasoned oil
  6. Fry/cook for about 10 minutes in slow flame
  7. The texture and taste of the end thuvayal/dip depends on the family.  If one prefers a slight raw taste of onions, frying for 5 minutes is sufficient
  8. Frying the thuvayal for 10 minutes would give it a darker shade colorwise and the raw smell of onions and garlic would be gone
  9. Do not forget to stir at frequent intervals from the bottom of the pan as the thuvayal might stick to the bottom and be burnt very quickly
  10. When the thuvayal is done, remove from the pan and transfer into a serving bowl
  11. Heat 2 tsp oil in a pan; Pour on top of thuvayal that has a glow on top due to hot gingelly oil
  12. Thuvayal is ready! While served with dosais, pour one or two teaspoons of gingelly oil for one of the best flavours you would have tasted till date!

 


IMG_2366

Note:

  1. The quantity of red chillies can be altered according to taste preferences.
  2. Onions and garlic also contribute to the spice of the thuvayal – so try with lesser chillies and upgrade it the next time if needed.
  3. More gingelly oil, tastier the thuvayal. The taste of gingelly oil helps in tackling the spice level and pungent smell of garlic and onion – hence do not be conscious of oil here.
  4. Instead of seasoning first, one can also start with just heating the oil and pouring the blended paste and cooking together.This doesn’t make any difference to the taste.
  5. Season the thuvayal in the end. Pouring the seasoned oil or just hot oil –  on top of the done thuvayal is very important to make the thuvayal a delight with any kind of lentil dosais.

 

IMG_2883

 

Kathirikkai Thuvayal/Brinjal Chutney


rice with brinjal chutney

Now, here comes a special recipe. Why special?

Because… this one belongs to one my friends’ grandmother. While dosaikal.com talks about some of the traditional recipes I learnt peeping into my grandma’s kitchen, and ofcourse also trying my hands at cooking with mama and grandmama – amma and aachi, I feel delighted to try some of those precious recipes that the elders of your household have left behind for you!

Thank you so much ‘A’ for sharing this, from your treasured cookbook – your grandmother’s recipe.

Kathirikkai is Eggplant to Americans and Brinjal to the British, if I am right.

It is supposed to possess many medicinal properties and is used as a remedy for cancer, hypertension and diabetes. Brinjal is high in water content and potassium. This is an excellent cholesterol regulator. Speaking of heart health, eggplant is also naturally low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium.http://www.health-galaxy.com/Benefits-of-brinjal.html

A very simple and easy recipe. ‘A’ also informed me that hot rice and thuvayal is incomplete without a kootu to go with it. Kootu is a stew of vegetables. Mixing the thuvayal/chutney with rice would make it a thick mix and the stewy kootu would aid in bringing in a balanced consistency during the travel of the food towards digestion. Kootu which is cooked with lentil also helps in the protein intake in a meal. Shall try to post ‘kootu’ in the near future.

 

Kathirikkai Thuvayal/Brinjal Chutney

kathirikkai thuvayal

Ingredients (serves approximately 6)

  • kathirikkai/Brinjals – 3 no.s if medium sized (I used one long brinjal)
  • oil – 3 tblsp
  • kadugu/mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • seeragam/cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  • perungayam/asafoetida powder – 1 tsp
  • manjal podi/turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  • red chilli powder – 1 tsp
  • kariveppilai/curry leaves – a few
  • puli/tamarind – about 25 gms soaked in 1/2 cup warm water

kathirikkai

cut brinjal in water

 

 

Thaalippu/Seasoning

  • oil (preferably gingelly oil) – 1 tsp
  • mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • red chillies – 1 long chilli split to halves

left to cool in a plate

smooth paste in blender

Method of Preparation

  • Clean brinjals and cut to small pieces
  • Always keep cut brinjals in water to avoid discoloration
  • Soak tamarind in warm water and leave aside
  • Heat oil in pan. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves and saute for a while
  • Now add asafoetida powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder (I used 1 long red chilli in place of powder)
  • Mix the cut brinjals and fry them till soft
  • When the brinjals are soft, transfer to a plate or bowl and cool the ingredients
  • After brinjal is cooled, add the tamarind with water and grind in a blender to a smooth paste
  • For the thaalippu/seasoning, take 1 tsp in a pan – add mustard seeds – when they splutter, add red chillies – when they turn a bit darker pour into the thuvayal/chutney
  • Thuvayal/Chutney is ready
  • Serve with hot rice and kootu or just enjoy hot rice and chutney.

kootu – lentil and vegetable

Vallarai Thuvayal/Chutney For Better Memory

After all the festivities and special food of the occasion, now for some simple yet worthy cooking. This one sounds simple but the health benefits are tremendous. Vallarai Thuvayal is a green chutney with the herb Vallarai. It is called the Indian Pennywort and its botanical name is Centella Asiatica.

 

 

Centella asiatica, also known as ‘Vallarai’ in South India, belongs to the family of herbs that help in maintaining youthful vigour and strength, reveals Charaka, the foremost exponent of Ayurveda.

Apart from providing vigour and strength, it improves the receptive capacity of the mind, improves memory, voice, physical stamina, complexion and digestive capacity of the body. The herb is also advisable for diabetics and people suffering from anaemia. The extracts of the plant are also being used in cosmetology as an ingredient in face creams and anti-wrinkle creams.  http://www.ayurvedictalk.com/vallarai-herb-to-maintain-youthful-vigour-and-strength/627/

 

Vallarai Keerai or the Pennywort leaves are also available as toffees, syrups, juices or powders. They are available in the Naatu Marundhu Kadai or the Tamil Medicine Shops in and around Tamilnadu, and other Sidha and Ayurvedic Medical shops.

 

 

 Vallarai Thuvayal

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • vallarai leaves – 2 cups
  • kadalai paruppu/bengal gram/channa dhal – 4 tbsp
  • chinna vengayam/shallots or small onions – 12 nos
  • poondu/garlic – 4 cloves
  • green chillies or red chillies – 2 nos
  • puli/tamarind/imli – marble sized
  • oil – 1 tsp
  • salt – to taste
  • water – very little to make a thick paste

 

 fried and ready to be ground

 

 Method of Preparation

  1. Separate the leaves from the stem and wash very well
  2. Peel skin of shallots and garlic cloves; wash and set aside
  3. Heat oil in an iruppu chatti/pan and fry bengal gram till golden brown
  4. Add shallots, garlic cloves, green chillies/red chillies and fry well
  5. Add vallarai keerai/greens and fry well
  6. Cool this and grind in a blender with tamarind, salt and very little water to a smooth paste.

 

 vallarai keerai thuvayal

 

 Note:

  1. Serve with piping hot plain white/brown rice and nei/clarified butter/ghee
  2. Nallennai/Gingelly oil can also be used instead of ghee
  3. This can be a first course of any meal with a gravied vegetable/stew
  4. Some might have this thuvayal with thayir saadham  (https://dosaikal.com/2011/12/22/thayir-saadham-mor-milagaicurd-rice-sun-dried-chillies/)
  5. Ulundham Paruppu/Dehusked Black Gram can be substituted with Bengal Gram
  6. Grated Coconut can also be used if preferred
  7. The quantity of chillies can be altered according to spice preference. 

Tangy and Spicy coriander-mint chutney for starters

This is a special green chutney for starters. Generally the coriander or mint chutney we make at home for idlis or dosais is of a different kind. It is a mixture of dal, tomatoes and other spices with coriander or mint stirred in the kadai for a short while.

This green chutney is a culmination of south and north Indian chutney styles if I could say so. This especially suits fried, grilled, baked or steamed starters because of the tangy blend of spices. Chillies can be altered according to the spice preference of the family.  Dry mango powder or lime juice can be substituted instead of tamarind.

Pachai Thuvayal/Green Chutney for Starters

 

 

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • fresh coriander leaves – 1 cup
  • fresh mint leaves – 1 cup
  • onions – 1 small
  • garlic – 2 cloves
  • green chillies – 2 no.s
  • freshly grated/desiccated coconut – ¼ cup
  • tamarind – a small piece
  • salt – as needed

Method of Preparation

  1. Wash and coarsely chop both coriander and mint leaves
  2. Randomly cut the onion
  3. In a blender, take all the ingredients – grated coconut, tamarind, garlic, onions, green chillies, coriander and mint leaves and salt as needed
  4. Grind with very little water into a thick paste and chutney is ready
  5. Serve with any kind of starter.

Tip

  1. To make this chutney tangier, aamchur or dry mango powder can be added while grinding
  2. One or two teaspoons of lemon juice would also help in extra tangy flavour of the chutney
  3. I have seen some north Indian friends add some raisins, pomegrenate seeds or dates while grinding
  4. Raisins, dates or pomegrenate seeds give an extra rich colour to the chutney and also aids in enhancement of taste

Carrot-Muttaikose Thuvayal/Carrot-Cabbage Chutney

This is a non-coconut base chutney. Healthy, vegetable base and a colourful one, suits well with idlis, dosais and sometimes to mix with plain rice too.  I have learnt most of the vegetable chutneys from my mother-in-law (athai as I call her). Thanks to her, she taught me many more healthier ways of cooking apart from more coconut based high calorie foods.

Carrot-muttaikose thuvayal/Carrot-cabbage chutney (serves 2)

 

Ingredients

  • Carrot – medium size – 1 no.
  • Cabbage – 1/4 portion of a medium one
  • onion –  medium – 1 no.
  • garlic – 4 cloves
  • red chillies – 3 no.s
  • kadalai paruppu/channa dal/bengal gram – 3 tblsp
  • tamarind – small piece
  • salt – as needed
  • water to grind
  • oil – 2 tsp for roasting

Thaalippu – Thadka

  • oil  – 2 tsp
  • mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • urad dal – 1/2 tsp
  • curry leaves

Method of Preparation

  1. Grate carrots or chop into small pieces
  2. Chop cabbage and onions  randomly
  3. Peal skin of garlic
  4. Wash all vegetables thoroughly
  5. Take oil in a kadai, roast channa dal till golden brown
  6. Add red chillies, garlic cloves and onion and roast till onion becomes opaque
  7.  Add chopped cabbage and carrots and mix well
  8. Let this get roasted for a while – till cabbage becomes slightly opaque
  9. Turn off the stove and let this cool
  10. In a blender, add the cooled chutney mixture with tamarind and salt and blend it to a smooth paste with just enough water
  11. For tadka, heat oil in a small pan
  12. Add mustard seeds
  13. When they splutter add urad dal
  14. When it becomes golden brown, add curry leaves
  15. Pour this into the thuvayal
  16. Serve with idlis, dosais (https://dosaikal.com/2011/09/16/idli-steamed-rice-cakes/) (https://dosaikal.com/2011/08/14/basic-dosaidosa/) or plain rice.

Varutha Milagai Thuvayal/ Roasted Chilly Coconut Chutney

This is a special travel chutney. Whenever we travel by train, either to our grandparent’s place or back to chennai after vacation time, gingelly oil glazed idlis packed in banana leaves with varutha milagai thuvayal used to be a regular affair. The chutney would come back home from the train journey and still stay good for the next day breakfast. Even on picnic days idli and this particular chutney used to be everyone’s favourite. Generally coconut based food does not stay longer. This chutney, with all roasted ingredients, though with coconut base stays good for at least 24 hours without refrigeration.

Varutha Milagai Thuvayal/ Roasted Chilly Coconut Chutney (serves 2)

roasted coconut

 

roasted urad dal and red chillies

 

Ingredients

  • grated coconut – 1 cup
  • urad dal – 1/2 cup
  • red chillies – 3 nos
  • tamarind – 1/2 inch piece
  • salt – as needed
  • oil – for roasting

Method of Preparation

  1. In Iruppuchatti/kadai, take 1/2 tsp oil and roast coconut till golden brown
  2. In another kadai, roast red chillies in 1/2 tsp oil
  3. Remove the chillies and in the same oil, roast urad dal till golden brown
  4. Let all ingredients cool
  5. In a blender, take roasted coconut, red chillies and urad dal with tamarind, salt and very little water just enough to make a thick fine paste
  6. Chutney is done.. Serve with hot steaming idlis or packed idlis during travel.

thick varutha milagai thuvayal/roasted chilly coconut chutney

Note:

  1. Always wash tamarind before usage
  2. For easy blending, soak tamarind in hot water for 5 minutes and add to the blender with the soaked water
  3. The red chillies I have are very hot.. so I have used 3 nos. Chillies can be altered as per spice of chillies and family preference
  4. While blending, slowly add water.. If chutney becomes more watery, it would not stay longer
  5. Blend into a very thick chutney and water can be added as per preference just before serving
  6. Because this is a travel chutney and is very thick, generally thadka is not given. Urad dal in tadka is believed to spoil the chutney’s shelf life.
  7. One can give it thadka with just mustard seeds.