Indian Chutneys are spicy, sweet or sour condiments that add variety and flavour to a South Indian meal. They bring out the very essence of the ingredient being used, intensifying the flavour and enhancing it with the spices used. They are eaten at most days in a South Indian household. This is a cooked chutney – spinach is steamed until cooked and then pureed with fried mustard seeds, chilli, a little dal and curry leaves.
Cooked chutneys will last several days to a week, and can be frozen successfully. Although traditionally eaten with rice and Indian dishes, they can be used in a variety of ways including in spreads, dips, sauces and dressings. Or like me, you can eat it by the spoonful. This tastes so exceptionally spinachy.
Strictly speaking, a thogayal is a little different to other South Indian chutneys. It should be quite thick when compared to a chutney, and that thickness is provided by urad dal or other lentils or beans which form an important part of the thogayal, along with the vegetable or herb that is ground with the lentil. The term thogayal has come to mean a thick ground vegetable chutney, perhaps uncooked or quickly cooked. This recipe falls into the latter category.
Spinach Thogayal | South Indian Spinach Chutney
Cuisine: South Indian
Prep Time: 10 mins to steam Spinach
Cook Time: 5 mins
Serves: 6 people
1 bunch of spinach
1 small amount tamarind
salt to taste
1 Tblspn ghee
2 tspn black mustard seeds
1 tspn wrad dal
2-3 dried red chillies
Steam or wilt the spinach with a little water until cooked.
Heat half of the ghee in a kadhai or pan until hot. Add the mustard seeds and allow to pop, then add the urad dal, chillies and asafoetida. Saute until the dal turns golden.
Add the cooked spinach to the seasoning and mix thoroughly, then puree with the tamarind and salt into a soft mixture.
Add the remainder of the ghee in the pan, and saute the spinach puree for a couple of minutes.