March 12, 2012

Kothamalli Thokku | Green Coriander Preserve | Heirloom Recipe | No Onion No Garlic recipe

This one definitely has my grandmom's recipe written all over it. As I write this post, I remember her slaving over the dim lit kitchen hovering over a large iron Kadai (pan) while the aroma of this earthy and heavenly Kothamalli Thokku wafted through the house, while we walked in right after school. We waited hungrily as this thokku would be mixed up with steamed rice and gingelly oil and wolfed down at dinner time. And even in the time of no refrigerators, Paati made sure that she bottled them in glass containers (that she called jaadis all the while preserving them for a good fortnight or two - if they lasted that long !!). This side dish goes even well with hot chapatis / dosas alike, and keeps well for about a month under refrigeration. You may also use this as a quick chutney to mix with rice & ghee for a lunchbox item teaming it with potato wafers :) Yumm !
And like most homemakers of her generation, Paati (my maternal grandmom) excelled in preserving food stuffs in different forms and creating new dishes out of leftovers. And to think most (read 97%) of these were saatvic stuff (no onion-no garlic). I wish some of her cooking genes have passed on to me, and this post is a tribute to a gutsy lady that I spent most of my childhood years with. I have made this based on what memories remained with me. Next time, am sure to add less methi seeds, but we still liked the bitter-sweet-tangy thokku a lot:)

Prep time  - 30 mins
Cook time - 20 mins
Makes - Approx 100 gms of this preserve 

  • Fresh Coriander leaves - 4 cups (packed) - cleaned and sorted 
  • Salt - to taste (approx 2 tsp)
  • Jaggery - same quantity as tamarind or a little more if you prefer
  • Turmeric - 1/2 TBSP
  • Oil - 6 to 8 TBSP (Gingelly oil)
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • Asafoetida - a very generous pinch (about 1/4 tsp)
  • Channa dal (Kadale paruppu) - 1/2 TBSP
Spice Mix- to grind:
  • Fenugreek seeds - 1/2 tsp (reduce a bit if you dont like the bitter taste)
  • Dry Red whole chillies - 4 to 5 (adjust spice)
  • Tamarind - a big lime sized ball
  • Coriander seeds - 1/2 TBSP
  • Oil - 2 TBSP

1) Wash, clean and air dry coriander leaves on a large thin kitchen towel. Remove thick stalks / dirt if any. Chop the coriander finely and reserve.
2) Meanwhile, dry roast the fenugreek seeds, remove to a plate. Heat oil (1/2 TBSP). Add Red whole chillies, coriander seeds and fry till they are slightly roasted. Remove and mix with fenugreek seeds. In the remaining oil, fry the tamarind ball till it becomes crisp (on low flame only, else the tamarind gets charred immediately). Add 1 tsp more oil if required. The tamarind is to get crisp but not charred. Remove to a plate. Cool this mixture and grind in a spice grinder.
3) In a large iron deep bottomed pan (kadai), heat half the quantity of oil (4 TBSP). Add the turmeric,asafoetida ,Channa dal and coriander and fry till the coriander starts wilting and dal turns slightly brown
4) Now add the ground spice mixture, salt, rest of the oil and on low flame, mix it well till the spice mixture gets incorporated with the coriander. Keep stirring till the mass turns darkish and oil starts leaving the sides. If at any point you feel its too dry, add 1 - 2 tsp of BOILED and cooled water and stir (feel those upper arms muscle get a thorough workout). Add jaggery at this point and mix well.
5) Once it starts leaving the sides of the pan, you would get a cooked tangy-sweet aroma, turn off the stove and let it further cook to a gooey (lehyam) kind of consistency. Leave it in the pan only for 1/2 hour to absorb all the flavours.
6) Cool completely and store in a sterilised airtight GLASS jar. 
7) Use a clean and dry spoon everytime you take out a bit to use. 

Note: Although its completely tempting to gorge on this thokku in a go, consuming more than 1/2 tsp a day is not recommended.

19 Foodie Comments:

Radhika on March 12, 2012 said...

Well made. Thanks for linkint it to the event Kalyani.

Rosh on March 12, 2012 said...

What a wonderful recipe Kalyani!! And such fabulous clicks...makes it more tempting! Thanks a lot for sharing this on my space :)

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Sara on March 12, 2012 said...

Looks yummy, i love to mix with white rice.

Krithi's Kitchen on March 12, 2012 said...

OMG such droolworthy pics.. Delish!!

Srimathi on March 12, 2012 said...

My mouth is watering looking at it. A nice post.

Aarthi on March 12, 2012 said...

wow..awesome recipe


deeps recipes on March 12, 2012 said...

Healthy,healthy,healthy dish..

sangee vijay on March 13, 2012 said...

very nice recipe Kalyani...thanks for sharing...lovely clicks looks mote tempting!!
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schmetterlingwords on March 13, 2012 said...

Wow!! Amazing thokku... the very look of it says how tasty and aromatic this wud be... :)

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Turmeric n Spice on March 13, 2012 said...

i heart old recipes!!awesome !! thxs for possting

Vardhini on March 13, 2012 said...

Love home made thokkus .. yummy and flavorful.

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Neha on March 13, 2012 said...

Yummy recipe....New to me...will try it soon...
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Kalpana Sareesh on March 13, 2012 said...

wonderfully n traditionally made.. i remember my hubby's maami makes this one for me often hand pounded ..shes no more..bookmarking this n will def tyr it ..

Ahmed on March 13, 2012 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ahmed on March 13, 2012 said...

I love corriander in any and every form. This thokku is so mouthwatering...iam sure it would have tasted great with the addition of sweetness of your grandma's memories !

Ahmed on March 13, 2012 said...

I love corriander in any and every form. This thokku is so mouthwatering...iam sure it would have tasted great with the addition of sweetness of your grandma's memories !

Sriya on March 13, 2012 said...

very yummy and healthy ...looks like gongura chutney..

Archana on March 14, 2012 said...

Love this Kalyani. Guess I will be buying atleast 2 more bundles of coriander this week.

Sravs on March 19, 2012 said...

very tempting and super delicious one !! Thanks for linking to the event !!

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