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  • Kothamalli Thogayal (Cilantro Chutney)

    Posted on | February 4, 2008 | 47 Comments |

    Comfort food is something you crave to come home to after a few days on the road. Comfort food is usually synonymous to familiar food. It is something so personal, one person’s comfort food can send another person running for cover. For most of us, it is something that we grew up with, associated with a warm childhood memory, a special meal that only one’s own mother can really make perfect. So it is not surprising that Siv and I have different dishes that we call our comfort food.

    Growing up in two different states in India, even though these are neighboring states, our basic culinary habits are quite different. The gap is closing over the years though, Siv enjoys Kerala food now, and I have an acquired taste for a lot of Tamil dishes that I used to hate when I was young.  When we first met, we both were in love with food, but the common dishes were normally spicy non-vegetarian food. Regardless of the cuisine, we both loved our meat and fish. I couldn’t stand most of the typical Tamil vegetarian dishes – Pongal,  Rasam, different types of flavored rice etc. Siv didn’t like some of my favorite dishes either. This wasn’t a big problem for us, even after we started cooking at home, there were enough dishes that we both liked, we never had to cook anything that the other person didn’t like.

    There sure were some fundamental problems though. I couldn’t stand the smell of coriander leaves, I used to refuse to eat anything with coriander leaves, even if it was just a garnish. I also hated white rice, the only rice I liked was the Kerala rosematta rice, but Siv wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole. Even though Siv could live without his Pongal and Rasam and tomato rice, there was no way he was going to switch to rosematta. He was okay to live without cilantro though. But somehow, over time I developed a taste for cilantro, and now I add it to everything I can. Siv eats rosematta rice now, even though he still prefers Basmati or other varieties of white rice.

    Coming back to the topic of this post- comfort foods, as I was saying we used to have totally different criteria, but now the lines are starting to merge. This simple coriander thogayal (Tamil word for chutney) with rice is his comfort food, but add a side of spicy chicken fry to it, I can find comfort in it too… Siv made this chutney following his mom’s instructions over the phone, so simple to make and quite tasty too, I am sure we will be making this more often.

     Coriander Thogayal


    • 2 bunches of fresh cilantro leaves
    • 1/4 cup sliced shallots
    • 8 dry red chilies
    • 1tsp tamarind extract
    • Salt to taste
    • 2 tbsp urad daal
    • 1 tsp oil


    Heat oil in a frying pan, add the urad daal and fry till it starts to brown. Remove the daal from the oil and keep aside.

    Add the red chilies to the same pan, fry for a few seconds. Add the shallots and fry till the shallots are soft. Add the tamarind extract and the cilantro leaves to the pan. Mix well and fry for a few seconds till the water evaporates, and the leaves shrink down considerably.

    Remove from the heat and let it cool down a bit. Transfer to a blender or food processor and grind to a coarse paste, adding a little bit water if necessary. Add salt and the fried daal from the first step and grind to a smooth thick paste.

    This goes well with rice, dosa, idly etc. Unlike uncooked chutneys, this can be refrigerated and used for a few days. Coriander Thogayal

    This is my last minute entry for Meeta’s Monthly Mingle – Comfort Foods over at her beautiful blog What’s for Lunch Honey?

    Category: Chutneys and Dips and Pickles, Greens, India - Tamil Nadu, Vegetarian

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    47 Responses to “Kothamalli Thogayal (Cilantro Chutney)”

    1. Srivalli
      February 5th, 2008 @ 12:03 am

      Lovely looking chutney Sig….it looks so green!..I guess thats true with every couple..we start with something and end up liking what the partner does!…thats great infact

      Thanks Srivalli! :) Yeah, I know what you mean, it is not just food, a lot of habits change over time in a relationship…

    2. Raaga
      February 5th, 2008 @ 12:15 am

      I can understand totally what you’re talking about… Sachin and I come from neighbouring states… but our food tastes are sometimes opposite poles :-) I like mushy rice… he likes his grains separate… he loves Sambar… you know about me… :-)

      But this is a yummy chutney!!! And I am glad you like coriander now :-)

      yeah sambar…. I am with you there… :D I am okay with sambar with rice, can’t stand it with idlis…

    3. Lakshmi
      February 5th, 2008 @ 12:16 am

      I have a dabba full of this at home. My sis thickened it by boiling it so as to increasing its shelf life. Drooling over that rice n chutney, and it is a real comforter. :drool:

      We only kept it for three days, but my M-I-L said it lasts longer… :)

    4. Nags
      February 5th, 2008 @ 12:26 am

      Try lime juice instead of tamarind. The taste will be fresher and its healthier too! Mine is more customised to be served with bread :)

      Lime juice sounds like a great addition… post your version sometime too…

    5. Suganya
      February 5th, 2008 @ 12:55 am

      Was surprised to find thogayal at your place. What other Tamil dishes you have fallen in love with?

      :) mainly non-veg, the fish curry, crab curry etc… I love vattal kolambu and puli kolambu and all the koottu’s as well…

    6. Kaykat
      February 5th, 2008 @ 1:19 am


      Hey, do you realize the last 3 out of 4 food-related posts are vegetarian? :razz:

      :D yeah, I just did… let me get all those chicken and mutton posts out here, and soon……

    7. indosungod
      February 5th, 2008 @ 5:01 am

      Sig, totally identify with Siv where Rosematta rice is concerned, it was served at my boarding school, whereas I am used to eating thin rice sticking to each other. I still don’t like raw coriander leaves on anything but cooked is perfectly fine and I love the coriander chutney but I add a little bit of coconut ;)

      :) I couldn’t believe that he didn’t like my rosematta rice… but now I get it… :D You don’t like raw coriander leaves? I love coriander in everything now, cooked and raw :)

    8. Meeta
      February 5th, 2008 @ 5:14 am

      Wonderful post! I really like the color of the chutney. Lovely!

      Thanks Meeta! Glad I could make it to the mingle…

    9. Laavanya
      February 5th, 2008 @ 5:40 am

      When I saw kothamalli thogayal and the name Sig next to it, I couldn’t believe my eyes at first. Maybe I had read the name wrong…. :mrgreen:
      That looks great and though I’m tamilian, i’ve always liked rosematta rice.. had it in TVM when I visited my relatives and loved those plump, chewy grains.

      :D I am married to a Tamilian, so don’t be surprized… I should post more Tamil recipes… and I think you are the first Tamilian I know who actually likes our rice… :)

    10. Siri
      February 5th, 2008 @ 6:06 am

      Love the rich color of the chutney Sig :drool: I am glad you like Coriander now.. ( saying this being a die-hard fan on Fresh Coriander since childhood. :grin: )..

      Siri :( Yes):

      :) Thanks Siri, and yeah, I am glad I like coriander now too… I use it so much these days!

    11. Asha
      February 5th, 2008 @ 6:48 am

      That chutney goes well with everything!!! Great photos!! New camera tricks? :smile:

      Nooo… I haven’t touched all the new stuff yet…. My classes start only after the 20th :)

    12. shilpa
      February 5th, 2008 @ 7:15 am

      Heee I am also like you. I never used to touch cilantro and my mom thought I picked up wrong genes from my dad ;) . Now I add it to everything, it does not bother me.
      I think I will love this chutney. Got to try it soon….

      :) lol, so I am not the only weird one, huh? We don’t use much coriander leaves in Kerala, especially in my house… that is why I never developed a taste for it… but I couldn’t get away from it after I moved to Bangalore… now I can’t live without it…

    13. TBC
      February 5th, 2008 @ 7:54 am

      Whaaat?? you made a thogayal?! I thought u only ate fancy schmancy stuff, Sig! :mrgreen: :cool:

      That thogayal looks good. I’m guessing it would be a great sandwich spread too…at least the uncooked version is. :drool:

      :D hey what can be fancier than this green chutney? yeah, it will be great on sandwich, I haven’t tried it yet, but like the idea :)

    14. richa
      February 5th, 2008 @ 8:12 am

      whaat, u could not stand coriander !! now u r over to the good side :) looks yum!
      anything coriander is welcome on my plate :)

      :) yeah, I know I used to be a very picky eater before :D Now I am like you, I can have anything coriander anytime

    15. Mishmash!
      February 5th, 2008 @ 9:12 am

      I didnt know that thogayal was chutney….:P “but now the lines are starting to merge “…beauty of relationship right :)

      Actually I didn’t know the meaning of thogayal till last week either shh… don’t tell anyone ;)

    16. Kalai
      February 5th, 2008 @ 9:41 am

      Beautful pics! I love this thogaiyal, too!

      Thanks Kalai! :)

    17. Rina
      February 5th, 2008 @ 9:54 am

      I’m a Cilantro freek myself.. from childhood. Inherited from my Grand mother I make this Coriander chutney and enjoy the comfort of it with rice. I do add more ingredients though. Love the combination with chicken. :drool:

      More ingredients huh? You should post your version sometime… and yeah, it was great with chicken…

    18. Manasi
      February 5th, 2008 @ 9:54 am

      :drool: Nice chutney!!
      Surprising u could not stand cilantro!

      :) thanks Manasi… I was not alone in the cilantro haters club though, a lot of mallus hate cilantro :)

    19. Padmaja
      February 5th, 2008 @ 10:13 am

      hey love that chutney!!!
      I love these leaves Sig that i tend to garnish evrything and anything with cilantro leaves. So you can how much i love this chutney!! yum!!

      :) this is perfect for cilantro lovers Padmaja… you will love it for sure…

    20. Namratha
      February 5th, 2008 @ 10:16 am

      That looks mouth watering Sig, love the colour too. Simple recipe, am gonna try it soon :smile:

      Thanks Namratha… let me know how it turns out…

    21. Latha
      February 5th, 2008 @ 10:38 am

      Truly said Sig! I love kothamalli togayal – tastes evolved through my Tamilian lineage – even though i dont make this often!

      :) thanks Latha… it is so simple, I wonder why Siv never made it before!!!

    22. Revathi
      February 5th, 2008 @ 11:33 am

      The joys of interstate-marriage !!! Imagine inter-continent marriages !!!

      Very nice to see how other couples cope with the differences.

      Lovvvveeeee kothamalli thogayal !!

      :) yeah, inter-continent marriages, but at least there you get in with the expectation that things will be different :)

    23. vimmi
      February 5th, 2008 @ 12:16 pm

      My husband and I are from different regions too, He is from Goa and I from Punjab. They dont make anything without coconut and we never used coconut in our food. Now we have a variety of dishes, I love their prawnsa and fish curries and he loves the kadhi chawal, Rajma chawal and the like. But now our kitchen also witnesses many dishes from the south.

      Goa and Punjab, huh? Great combination…. I haven’t had much experience with Punjabi food, but I love goan food… who doesn’t? Hope you got used to coconut by now…

    24. sunita
      February 5th, 2008 @ 1:38 pm

      Sig, give me coriander, anytime :smile:

      :) another coriander lover….

    25. Rajitha
      February 5th, 2008 @ 3:03 pm

      Finally..u are able to see the light at the end of various tunnels..cilantro..tofu..good girl :nerd: …looks great girl..pass on
      the :( Yes): to Siv…

      :D yeah yeah…. the tofu tunnel I am still trying to cross with a small flashlight in hand ;) And Siv is happy someone remembered to appreciate his efforts… ;)

    26. rachel
      February 5th, 2008 @ 5:54 pm

      It shows how much you guyz adjust :smile: We are still getting at it slowly …

      great pic!

      :) it is going to be 10 years for us, so yeah, you will get there too…

    27. RedChillies
      February 5th, 2008 @ 6:16 pm

      The chutney looks beautiful and this is a new recipe for me. I am so glad that this chutney without coconut.

      Thanks redchillies… and yeah, it is a no-coconut chutney, and so easy to make… :)

    28. sagari
      February 5th, 2008 @ 6:55 pm

      Sig color of chutney looks soooo good and that picc wow

      :) thanks Sagari!

    29. sra
      February 5th, 2008 @ 8:30 pm

      We used to get this chutney with veg pulav in our hostel. It tasted good, tho’ an unusual combination. :( Yes):

      pulav and this chutney, I can see how that will work… :)

    30. Anita
      February 6th, 2008 @ 4:34 am

      What, you don’t like the Tamil ‘verity’ rices?! :D

      I am liking this version of coriander chutney – the cooked onion will make it palatable to TH as well. yeah, we have different comfort foods, and he he still doesn’t like Kashmiri food (hard to believe, no?).

      Whattt, he doesn’t like Kashmiri food? You should show him the pictures first, and then feed him…. :)

    31. Roops
      February 6th, 2008 @ 6:26 am

      :oops: I shouldn’t have started my blog hop this morning – certainly shouldn’t have read this post.
      I was so craving for a spicy sandwich for breakfast and had to eat fiber cereal instead in time crunch :cry:
      I have never tried cooked version of cilantro chutney with onions but cant imagine anything that wont be drool worthy …. :drool:
      Can I please redo my breakfast in PST at your place?

      :) I never imagined using this for breakfast… but that is a great idea Roops… :) I will have one for you next time..

    32. Uma
      February 6th, 2008 @ 10:56 am

      :smile: Looks delicious. Nice pics. :( Yes):

      Thanks Uma! :)

    33. Pooja
      February 6th, 2008 @ 12:34 pm

      that looks nice. we make it little different way . never tried with shalllots. must be more tangy with it.
      thanks for sharing :)

      Looks like there is a lot of variations of this dish around… :) I am sure it is all delicious…

    34. Nanditha
      February 6th, 2008 @ 1:04 pm

      Coriander chutney is a comfort food in my home too!i love it with any thing! kids prefer as a sandwich spread!

      :) That seems to be the popular recommendation, sandwich spread :)

    35. musy
      February 6th, 2008 @ 2:46 pm

      The chutney-rice combo is the best! Sig, you sure now know the delights of cilantro :-D And am sure you’ve met the likes of me who can polish off just chutney, without anything else needed ;)

      :) just the chutney,huh? I too do that with a lot of spicy, tangy chutneys … :)

    36. Rachna
      February 6th, 2008 @ 5:33 pm

      aw i love dhania chutney, with mint and imli… with anything….yea i love the colour!!

      I saw another variation with mint, that is a great combo I think… Will try that next time..

    37. Shankari
      February 6th, 2008 @ 8:54 pm

      Kothamalli thogayal, rice & ghee – bliss.Wow Sig, I am seeing a new side of you – first tofu and now this. My! my! whatelse r we going to see :evil:

      :) tofu is a new discovery, and I said I can tolerate it, not love it… :) but cilantro, that I love…

    38. Ramya's Mane Adige
      February 7th, 2008 @ 7:14 pm

      I had almost missed this post!!!! :shock:
      The chutney looks really good…. Love the 2nd pic

      Thanks Ramya! :)

    39. Bharathy
      February 8th, 2008 @ 7:14 am

      Kothamalli Thogayal is something I learnt from my MIL..Almost similar to the recipe here..My favourite too..
      You latest recipes are really maddeningly rocking, Sig!!! :( Yes):

      Thanks Bharathy… :)

    40. Deepa
      February 8th, 2008 @ 9:12 pm

      This is really a comfort food !!Excellent pic lady!! :( Yes):

      Thanks Deepa!

    41. Ammoos
      March 10th, 2008 @ 3:40 pm

      Hi Sig, tried this yesterday, it came very close to the thogayal I had at my friend’s place, but it was slightly bitter. Would you know why? :roll:

      Hi Ammoos, cilantro is a little bitter to start with. If it was too bitter, try adding a little more tamarind next time, hope that helps!

    42. Archie
      May 7th, 2008 @ 4:10 pm

      Hi Sig,

      I stepped onto ur blog through some bloggers…. Saw this recipe and fell in luv with it since i a corriander lover …Thogayal looks very nice … i’ll def try it …. Also, my story is same like urs i am from mumbai and he is from chennai …. we have so many difference … but as the time is passing by i see all the difference are turning into similarities…..

      :) Welcome to my blog Archie… Hope to see you around…

    43. v
      October 1st, 2009 @ 1:00 am

      This chutney’s the best thing that has ever come of my bloghopping when I should be studying! I’ve been silently haunting your blog for some time now, after I stumbled upon it one hideously lazy afternoon. I’m not usually big on vegetarian dishes or coriander but something about that rich green colour against the white of freshly steamed rice caught me up by the collar and wouldn’t let go till I tried out the recipe and ….and I’ve been steadily polishing off the results for the better part of a week now:)

    44. Penis Enlargement Procedures
      June 14th, 2011 @ 12:36 am

      I’ll gear this review to 2 types of people: current Zune owners who are considering an upgrade, and people trying to decide between a Zune and an iPod. (There are other players worth considering out there, like the Sony Walkman X, but I hope this gives you enough info to make an informed decision of the Zune vs players other than the iPod line as well.)

    45. Asthi
      July 30th, 2011 @ 10:45 am


      Super recipes, love this one in particualr, we have one similar in Sri Lanka but we use coconut and loads of green chillie to spice it up. You and hubby should come over to Sri Lanka, i think you will find its where Kerala meets Tamil Nadu in terms of recipes and food!

    46. Damon Southam
      August 25th, 2011 @ 3:54 am

      Just what a rubbish. How might you refer to it as a blog. Affect the type, then it will certainly be a piece far better