Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Spinach, Roasted Peanut And Tamarind Chutney "Spinach Thogayal"

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I love greens. I have been eating one kind or the other since I have been very young. While it was more because of mom's compulsion before, I have to say I genuinely enjoy eating greens now. Furthermore, I have developed a healthy respect for their iron-rich properties. These days Spinach, Broccoli Rabe, Collards, Kale, Swiss Chard, Fenugreek Leaves are all consumed enthusiastically by the whole family. Yup Yup. We do. :)
You see,  I was raised a Lacto Vegetarian till I was 18, so we had to rely heavily on legumes, greens and dairy products for a balanced diet. Mom would make umpteen varieties of Kurma, Chutneys, Dips and Stew to please my palate as I was a super picky-eater. One of my favorite chutney was "Pulicha Keerai Thogayal(= Sorrel Leaves Chutney)". Mom would get a fresh bunch or two from the street hawker and make this chutney that I used to eat with warm rice topped with thick yogurt, like in the picture below..
Since I couldn't find 'Sorrel Leaves' I decided to use Spinach which is available in abundance where I live. :). This is a large batch that will keep well for 2-3 days in the fridge.

Ingredients(For 6-8 Servings):
  • 8 Cups Packed Spinach, cleaned and completely drained of moisture
  • 1/4 Cup Peanuts minus the shell
  • Golf-Ball sized Tamarind, soaked in water plus seeds removed, if any
  • 5-6 Dry red Chili or less if you can't take the heat
  • 2 Roma Tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1/2 Medium Yellow Onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 4 Tbsp Split Chick Pea/Bengal Gram
  • 4 Tbsp Red Lentils or Split Pigeon Peas(Tuvar Dhal)
  • 2 Stalks Curry Leaves
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil for saute-ing the veggies + 1 tsp each for wilting the spinach in batches + 1 Tbsp for frying the Lentils/Pulses
  • Salt as needed
For Seasoning the chutney(Optional, but highly desired)
  • 1 Tsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp each Cumin Seeds, Mustard Seeds, Split Black Gram Seeds "Urad Dhal"
  • 1 Red Chili
  • Curry Leaves
    • Roast the peanuts in a skillet over low-medium flame, stirring now and then for about 10 minutes. When its warm enough to handle, remove the skins from the peanuts. Do resist the temptation to eat them up.
    • Keep the ingredients handy.
    • In a tbsp of oil, fry the split chick pea. When it turns light brown add the red lentils and continue to fry.
    • Add the red chilies when both the pulses have turned brown and fry for a minute. Switch off the stove and let it cool down. Soak the tamarind in warm water.This helps the tamarind to become soft and facilitates easy grinding.
    • In a wide pan, add a tbsp of oil and saute the garlic, onions. When the onions are translucent, add the chopped tomatoes and saute till it loses the raw smell.
    • Add the curry leaves, fry for a minute more and switch off the stove. Move it to a plate and let it cool before grinding.
    • Divide the spinach into 3 batches and wilt them separately with a tsp of oil for each batch. Don't wilt it for more than a minute. It starts leaving water.
    • Move the spinach to a plate and allow it to cool before grinding! Use the water it releases to grind the chutney.
    • Add the toasted peanuts, softened tamarind(remove seeds if any), fried pulses + dry red chili mixture and grind them to a paste with very little water.
    • The paste should look something like this:
    • Now add the spinach to the above paste and "pulse" grind with little to no water until the it comes together as a coarse chutney. Do not make a smooth paste- it looks so very unappetizing that way!
    • Seasoning the chutney(An entirely optional but highly desired step): Fry all the ingredients under "Seasoning" in the oil and pour over the chutney. Mix gently and serve with rice and yogurt or just with hot rice.I have never tried it as a dip with pita bread but its an exciting idea as well.
    Makes 6-8 Servings.

    If you are a lover of greens like me you would love "some" of my Spinach dishes too..Seeing an awful lot? Well atleast now you know I wasn't lying about my love for greens. LoL 
    Spinach Dishes: Spinach, Veggie and 3-Cheese Lasagna, Spinach and Lentil Dry Curry with Grated Coconut GarnishSpinach And Artichoke Frittata,   Moroccan Chickpea, Spinach, Raisin and Couscous Stuffed Red PepperSaag PaneerPuff-Pastry Spinach And Cheese Swirls.PinwheelsSpinach and Split-pea Stuffed Flat bread/ParathaSpinach Pesto with PignoliTurkish Borek With Yufka leavesMicrowaved Spinach and Malai Kofta.

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    1. i have bookmarked this one..i have suddenly developed a love for spinach and if i can have it with rice..even better..
      oh btw i was thinking of asking you how tht recipe turned soooo glad it did...cant wait 2 see pics..

    2. Nisha, the first time around the dessert was a hit. For the sauce though I made a watered down version of the one that you have posted to cut some calories. Even with that it was excellent. Sadly I didn't eat much cause I had to pack it off to a party. And I am sure it will be a hit again when I make it on Friday. I hope the sun shines bright during the weekend so my photos do justice to the scrumptious dessert!

    3. Delicious and healthy recipe...make it in batches and this is a real comfort food..with curd and rice,yum yum

    4. Love the tampering on top..looks so tempting and delicious..never cooked spinach in this way,nice and easy recipe which is healthy too..thanks for sharing!

    5. What a lovely chutney. I love spinach and tamarind! Thanks for the fantastic step by step pics. I can't wait to try it!

    6. the picture with yogurt and chutney is too tempting!...thats what I am going to do now...blame it on sickness...going to have white rice with yogurt and lot of pickle!!
      Bookmarking this, will surely try this sometime! the spinach and peanuts combo!
      BTW..last summer we had lots of sorrel leaves in our backyard....if we r here this summer will again plant them!

    7. Hi Cool
      Chutney looks to be lovely. Wonderfully prepared and it's perfectly gelling with rice. Thank a lot for sharing step by step method.

      Hamaree Rasoi

    8. Nice thogayal...Love it with sambar rice...

    9. Wonderful combination.. looks so delicious.. love the clicks !!

      Indian Cuisine

    10. Looks so comforting,I liked the recipe,very new way to make spinach!

    11. Really very brilliant idea of using spinach instead of sorrel leaves, chutney looks delicious and inviting.

    12. Love the idea. Am sure it tastes divine with hot rice and ghee :-)

    13. My god, you take the most amazing photos of your food! I'm a fan for life of your blog, I think :)

    14. Wonderful ingdnts!!! look tempting and yumm!!

    15. What an absolutely mouthwatering pictures and how wonderful the dish is - excellent recipe! Love it

    16. I absolutely admire how detailed you have made this dish without cutting any corners- will bookmark it..

      US Masala

    17. Wow that chutney sounds DELICIOUS! Love the flavor of tamarind.

    18. Wow, that chutney is awesome! So flavorful and interesting. It contains some of my favorite ingredients...



    19. oh what a combination! sounds exquisite warm rice and thogayal make to want it drool!


    Thanks a bunch for your valuable comments and continued support.They are very much appreciated. Yes,like "Rain on Dry Land" and like "Oasis in Desert Sand".
    XoXo, Cool Lassi(e)