Category Archives: Chutneys

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.


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



  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  (
  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.


  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)



  • 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 ( ( 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



  • 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


  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.

Thengai Chutney – Coconut Chutney

Chutneys are the best accompaniments for most of the south indian food items. Idlis, Dosais, Uppumas, Paniyarams, Vadais and many more breakfast and dinner dishes are always had with various kinds of chutneys. Even rice varieties are had with special chutneys. The breakfast platter would definitely have the white coconut chutney. The general coconut chutney popular in all restaurants is prepared with grated coconut and pottukadalai/roasted channa dal/roasted split chick peas. We from the coastal districts of tamilnadu – Thoothukudi and Tirunelveli would not use this pottukadalai more in the chutneys. Might be due to the abundance of coconut, plain coconut chutney with tamarind and green chillies is the daily routine. Pottukadalai is also called porikadalai. The pottukadalai chutney used to be a rarity and so we used to call it hotel chutney – the chutney which is available in restaurants.

I learnt making this hotel chutney or the regular coconut chutney of  chennaiites from my mother-in-law. She also taught me many more healthy vegetable chutneys (to be posted in future).

pottukadalai – roasted chick peas

Coconut Chutney using Pottukadalai (roasted split chick peas) (serves 2)


  • freshly grated coconut – 1 cup (desiccated coconut gives a different taste)
  • pottukadalai – 1/2 cup
  • green chillies – 4 no.s
  • ginger – 1/2 inch piece
  • water
  • salt – as needed

Thaalippu – Thadka

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

thengai chutney/coconut chutney

Method of Preparation

  1. In a blender, add freshly grated coconut, pottukadalai, green chillies, ginger, salt and adequate water
  2. Grind this well into a smooth paste
  3. Transfer into a serving bowl
  4. For tadka, heat oil in a small pan
  5. Add mustard seeds
  6. Let mustard seeds splutter, add urad dal
  7. When urad dal becomes light reddish, add curry leaves
  8. Pour this into the chutney
  9. Green chillies can be adjusted according to required spice of the family
  10. Serve with idlis, dosais or any dish of choice. ( (

Note: When I prepared this chutney recently, I found the mustard seeds container empty.. so I substituted with seeragam/jeera/cumin seeds.

Thakkali Kaara Chutney/Spicy Tomato Chutney

This is a very spicy chutney. Though, the spice level can be altered by the number of red chillies used, it can be really red-hot spicy. The colour of this chutney is very appealing.  With the soft dosai/pancake on a banana leaf, there is the creamy coconut chutney, tangy coriander chutney, the spicy tomato chutney and not to leave the gingelly oil mixed gun powder chutney.

Be it the steaming hot idlis/steamed rice cakes, the soft or crispy dosais, the lentil dosais or the different kinds of uthappams (recipe shortly), this chutney is a deadly combination.

All the chutneys taste the best with gingelly oil. If gingelly oil is not available, any cooking oil can be used. I have 4 red chillies for 4 ripe tomatoes since my red chillies are very spicy. So, depending upon the spice of the red chillies one can alter the number of chillies.

the chutney…

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • ripe red tomatoes (medium) – 4 no.s
  • onions (medium) – 1 no.
  • garlic cloves – 6 no.s
  • red chillies – 4 no.s
  • freshly grated coconut – 1/2 cup
  • salt – to taste
  • oil – 6 tbsp oil – preferably gingelly oil
  • kadugu/mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • ulundham paruppu/urad dal – 2 tsp
  • curry leaves – a few

Method of Preparation

Step – I

  1. Take 1 tbsp oil in a pan
  2. Keep the burner in medium position
  3. Fry the garlic cloves till golden
  4. Add the sliced onions and fry them till they become opaque
  5. Add the red chillies and grated coconut
  6. Let the coconut roast for a while
  7. Add the randomly cut tomatoes and saute till they become soft
  8. Simmer and let this mixture mix up well for about 5 minutes
  9. Turn off the stove and let the mixture cool
  10. Take the above mixture in a blender, add salt and blend well till smooth.

Step – II

  1. Take 3 tbsp oil in a pan
  2. Add 1/2 tsp mustard seeds and let it splutter
  3. Add 1 tsp urad dal and let it turn brown
  4. Add half the curry leaves
  5. Now pour in the blended chutney into the pan
  6. Let the chutney mix well and become little thicker
  7. This might take about 5 minutes
  8. Chutney is ready.


  1. Separately heat 2 tbsp gingelly oil, add mustard seeds
  2. When they splutter add urad dal and curry leaves
  3. Pour on top of the chutney
  4. This thaalippu makes a big difference to the consistency, taste and glowy tempting looks of the chutney (see picture)
  5. The first picture is after the chutney is done. The coconut and tomatoes literally swallow the entire oil and the chutney is left with no glow
  6. The second picture shows the make-over the chutney has had!

Oh! poor me!


the chutney make-over


  1. The number of red chillies to be used would depend on the spice quality of the red chillies.
  2. If one would like to omit garlic and onions, these can be avoided and two tsp of grated ginger can be used and the number of red chillies can be reduced
  3. This chutney would need more oil to compensate the spice of red chillies. If one prefers to use lesser oil, go on
  4. Still I would recommend reducing oil while the blended mixture is cooked. The last thaalippu helps in the balance of the spice
  5. This Blogger and blog would not hold responsibility for the result of the chutney or consumer consequences.

Vengaya Chutney/Onion Chutney

This is a very simple chutney to go with all kinds of lentil based dosais. By lentil based dosais, I mean those with more proportion of lentils to rice. The basic dosai has rice and dehusked black gram in the ratio 4:1 – 4 cups of parboiled rice and 1 cup of dehusked black gram. Lentil Dosais would have more quantity of lentils to rice. (eg. Whole lentil dosa and many more to come). These chutneys are also good for basic dosais, no doubt.




  • vengayam/onions – big -3 nos
  • thakkali/tomatoes – big – 2 nos
  • poondu/garlic – 6 cloves
  • milagai vatral/dried red chillies – 3 nos
  • salt – to taste
  • oil – 1 tsp

Thaalippu – Tadka

  • oil – 1 tsp
  • mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • broken urad dal – 1 tsp
  • curry leaves – a few

Method of preparation

  1. Take 1 tsp oil in a chatti/deep pan
  2. When oil is hot, add garlic cloves and fry till golden
  3. Add onions and saute for 2 minutes
  4. Add tomatoes and dried red chilles and fry till tomatoes becomes soft
  5. Simmer stove accordingly. Due to less usage of oil, there are chances of onions getting burnt if stove is kept on high flame
  6. When tomatoes are soft enough to be mashed with a spoon, turn off the stove
  7. Let it cool
  8. Add salt and grind it well in mixer grinder or blender till smooth
  9. For tadka, heat oil in a small pan
  10. Add mustard seeds
  11. Let mustard seeds splutter, add urad dal
  12. When urad dal becomes light reddish, add curry leaves
  13. Pour this into the chutney
  14. Red chillies can be adjusted according to required spice of the family

Inji thuvayal – Ginger Chutney

Chutneys are an important part of tamilnadu cuisine. The staple food Idli – steamed rice cake and Dosai – Rice and lentil pancake is always had with different kinds of chutneys. These might vary in their combination of ingredients – coconut, dals and vegetables to make it more spicy, tangy or very spicy.

Inji thuvayal – Ginger Chutney

Inji Thuvayal is an accompaniment for kaaikari sodhi or the vegetable stew. This is mainly for digestional purpose since coconut milk makes the dish very heavy. Ginger aids in digestion.




  • Ginger – 5 tsp
  • red chillies – 3 nos
  • freshly grated coconut – 1/4 cup
  • tamarind – 1 small lemon sized
  • salt to taste
  • oil – 1 tsp for frying

Thaalippu – Tadka

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

Method of preparation

  1. Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan
  2. Fry ginger and red chillies for a while
  3. Now add freshly grated coconut and tamarind and fry for a while
  4. Grind all the above together in a blender to a fine paste
  5. For tadka, heat oil in a small pan
  6. Add mustard seeds
  7. Let mustard seeds splutter, add urad dal
  8. When urad dal turns light reddish, add curry leaves
  9. Pour this into the chutney
  10. Serve with stew.