The plethora of chutneys, pickles and other condiments that specially the South Indian cuisine offers, often mesmerizes me. Yes, it does, because each state in South India has their way of making one, in the simplest, yet super delicious way. One such preparation is the ‘Thogayal’ or ‘Thuvaiyal,’ a classic coarsely ground chutney from the cuisine of Tamil Nadu. In this post of mine, I have shared a Pudina Thogayal, which is a thick and tangy chutney made with fresh mint leaves or pudina. It is simple, quick and a vegan recipe too.
Table of Contents
About Pudina Thogayal
When in Tamil Nadu, you will come across the term ‘Thogayal,’ which is nothing but a thick chutney, essentially prepared to be consumed with rice.
Just like this Pudina Thogayal, which is made with fresh mint leaves (pudina) coarsely ground with other ingredients, there are other variations of this typical Tamil style chutney made with a variety of lentils, spices and even coconut.
Apart from this Pudina Thogayal which is made with fresh mint leaves, there are more of such preparations which use various greens, herbs and vegetables too. Depending on the type of thogayal, it can be relished as a side dish with rice or even idli and dosa.
In fact, a traditional way of having this Pudina Thogayal is to pair it with rasam, steamed rice and a simple raita or pachadi that would make it into a wholesome, comforting and delicious South Indian meal at home.
The recipe of this Pudina Thogayal is super easy and gets done within 15 minutes. The only time that goes is in roasting the ingredients.
Once that is done, everything is dunked in a grinder jar, seasoned with salt and blitzed with some water into a coarse or semi-fine paste.
One thing that you must keep in mind while grinding the ingredients to make this Pudina Thogayal is that you should not grind it too coarse. The thickness and consistency of this Mint Thogayal should be such that you can easily form a ball shape out of it.
More on the recipe
In addition to the fresh mint leaves or pudina, other ingredients that go in this recipe are sesame oil, mustard seeds, urad dal (husked, split black gram), chana dal (husked, split Bengal gram), dried red chili, asafoetida and tamarind.
The flavor of this particular Tamil style chutney is quite zingy and tangy, which is apparent from the tamarind used in it.
Since tamarind is added in this Pudina Thogayal, it can also be refrigerated for 3 to 4 days. Like I said, this Mint Thogayal has a sour taste too due to the tamarind.
So, does taste best with plain steamed rice. Of course, there is the minty aroma and flavor too. I don’t add coconut in my thogayal, but you can add if you want.
This Pudina Thogayal recipe serves about 1 to 2 people, if served with just steamed rice and nothing else. You can easily double or triple the recipe.
How to make Pudina Thogayal
Prep Mint Leaves and Fry Spices, Lentils
1. First, remove the leaves from the mint (pudina) stems. You will need about 1 cup tightly packed pudina or fresh mint leaves.
Rinse the leaves using a strainer or colander a couple of times. Drain all the water and keep aside.
2. Heat 2 teaspoons gingelly oil (sesame oil) in a small pan. Keep heat to low. Add ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds.
3. Let the mustard seeds crackle.
4. When the mustard seeds start crackling, add 1 teaspoon urad dal and 1 teaspoon chana dal.
5. On low heat, fry the lentils. Stir often, while frying the lentils.
6. Fry till the dals turn golden and fragrant.
7. Add 1 dried red chili (broken and seeds removed) and ¼ teaspoon asafoetida (hing).
8. Mix and fry for a few seconds or till red chilies change color.
9. Now, add the mint leaves and stir to combine them with the rest of the fried lentils and spices.
If the pan has become very hot, then before adding mint leaves, you can even switch off the heat and then add the mint leaves. The mint leaves will get cooked from the residue heat of the pan.
10. Mix very well.
11. Sauté mint leaves for a minute.
12. Switch off the heat and add ½ tablespoon tamarind. Make sure there are no seeds in the tamarind.
13. Mix well. Let this mixture cool to room temperature.
Make Pudina Thogayal
14. Add everything in a chutney grinder or small mixer-grinder jar or a small blender.
15. Add ¼ or ⅓ teaspoon salt or as required.
16. Add 4 teaspoons water or as required.
17. Grind with less water. While grinding scrape the sides and continue to grind.
18. First grind to a coarse paste or a semi-fine paste. Do not make the thogayal too coarse. The thickness should be such that you can easily make a ball from it.
19. Remove in a bowl and serve Pudina Thogayal as a side dish with steamed rice or with a South Indian meal. Check the taste before serving. Add more salt, if required.
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Pudina Thogayal Recipe
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil (gingelly oil)
- ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon urad dal (husked and split black gram)
- 1 teaspoon chana dal (husked and split bengal gram)
- 1 dry red chili – seeds removed
- ¼ teaspoon asafoetida powder (hing)
- 1 cup mint leaves (tightly packed), fresh pudina
- ½ tablespoon tamarind (without seeds)
- ¼ to ⅓ teaspoon salt or add as required
- 4 teaspoons water or add as required
Preparation & frying lentils, spices and pudina
- First remove the leaves from the pudina stems. You will need about 1 cup tightly packed pudina.
- Rinse the leaves using a strainer or colander a couple of times. Drain all the water and keep aside.
- Heat gingelly oil (sesame oil) in a small pan. Keep heat to a low. Add mustard seeds and let them crackle
- When the mustard seeds start crackling, add urad dal and chana dal.
- On a low heat stirring often, fry the dals until they turn golden and become fragrant.
- Then add the dry red chili (broken and seeds removed) and asafoetida powder (hing).
- Mix and fry for a few seconds till red chilies change color. Take care that the chilli does not burn.
- Now add the rinsed mint leaves.
- If the pan has become very hot, then before adding mint leaves, you can even switch off heat and then add the mint leaves. The mint leaves will get cooked from the residue heat of the pan.
- Mix very well. Sauté mint leaves for a minute on a low heat
- Switch off heat and add ½ tablespoon tamarind. Make sure there are no seeds in the tamarind.
- Mix well. Let this mixture cool at room temperature.
Making pudina thogayal
- Then add everything in a chutney grinder or small mixer-grinder jar or a small blender.
- Add ⅓ teaspoon salt or add as required. Also add 4 teaspoons water or add as required.
- Grind with less water. While grinding scrape the sides and continue to grind.
- First grind to a coarse paste or a semi-fine paste. Do not make the pudina thogayal too coarse.
- Remove in a bowl and serve Pudina Thogayal as a side dish with steamed rice or with a south indian meal.
- Do not use stems, but only the leaves. Using mint stems can make thogayal taste bitter.
- Ensure to cook and brown the lentils very well.
- For a spicier Pudina Thogayal, increase the number of dry red chillies.
- Recipe can be scaled to make for more servings.
Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)
This Pudina Thogayal recipe from the archives first published on June 2018 has been republished and updated on December 2022.