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Recipes | Cooking with Thuthuvalai – A tiny herb and a few healthy recipes

8 May 2015 3 Comments

healthy indian curry and chutney recipes

‘All good food comes with a story, and the stories need sharing as much as the food‘.

Wait, don’t keep that box for washing…taste the dish in it and tell me how is it?” asked hubby, who saw me holding and sniffing that small blue box. The tiny box and the food inside looked unfamiliar to me.

Hmm..it does taste good, but what is it and how did it come in your lunch-bag?” I asked, staring at him.

My colleague KC brought this Kulambu (curry) for lunch today. I found the recipe quite interesting and asked him to pack a little for me so that you can taste and try it at home.” Hubby smiled and answered, clearing the doubt in my mind.

Oh, that’s really good, do ask him to share the recipe of the same if he can.” I told hubby and continued rearranging my kitchen.

Sanjeeta kk of Lite Bite is ‘your’ wife?” my hubby’s colleague rushed to his cabin the next day morning and asked him in amazement.

Wondering as to how his colleague get to know about his wife, my hubby relied, “Yes, she is. Why?”

My wife works as assistant professor in a college and looks like most of the staff working over there is fan of Lite Bite. They regularly discuss the recipes and blog updates in their staff room.”  his colleague informed, barely hiding his disbelief.

The dish you tasted yesterday is a Kulambu (curry) made with a common herb Thuthuvalai greens which is a regular at my home.  Here are the three recipes my wife wanted to share with your wife. Hope she likes it” He continued handing over a few hand-written papers from a notebook to my hubby.

Thuthuvalai as is called in Tamil is a medicinal plant with loads of health benefits. Solanum trilobatum or purple fruited pea egg plant or climbing brinjal is a medicinal plant which is extensively used in regional cooking in Tamil Nadu. The plant which is a climbing shrub has tiny thorns on leaves and stems and is supposed to cure sore throat, cold, cough and flatulence.

The most common way to cook these thorny plants is in the form of chutney, soup or rasam, Khulambu or in crepes or Dosa.

healthy indian curry and chutney recipes

Thuthuvalai plant in my garden…

Here are a few of the recipes Mrs. Pattunnarajam Chandrasekaran, wife of my hubby’s colleague shared along with a few recipes of mine with the healthy Thuthuvalai plant.

Every Indian develops the taste of their regional cuisine quite early in life. The characteristic flavors, indigenous herbs and spices used in cooking varies according to the availability of these ingredients and climatic conditions.

It was difficult for me to develop the taste for certain ingredients which were introduced quite late in my life. Thuthuvalai, turkey berriessun berries, narthangai (citron) pachdai, mavadu (baby mangoes), Neem flower rasam, agathi greens are a few local ingredients which took me years to get used to.

I love to cook and grow local herbs and vegetables at home and have this small thorny plant of Thuthuvalai quietly growing in my backyard.

I often use the leaves to make crepes or Dosa or add them directly to my soups or Rasam whenever anyone catches cold at my home. And that is all I know to sue these greens in my kitchen.

1. Instant purple fruited pea egg plant semolina crepe aka Thuthuvalai rava Dosa

healthy indian curry and chutney recipes with thuthuvali greens

Thuthuvalai-semolina batter in top right and the crepes with tomato chutney…

Dosa or crepe is the most common way I use Thuthuvalai in my cooking, and this is how I make Thuthuvalai crepes.

Ingredients:

(serve 3)

  • 1/2 cup packed Thuthuvali leaves
  • 1 cup semolina
  • 2 tbsp. rice flour
  • 2 tbsp. wholewheat flour
  • 2 tbsp sour yogurt
  • 5-6 peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • Water

healthy indian curry and chutney recipes with thuthuvalai greens

Method: Wash Thuthuvali leaves and grind it into coarse paste with peppercorn (black pepper or kali mirch) and cumin seeds (jeera).

Take a large bowl and add semolina (rava), rice flour, wholewheat flour, salt (about ¼ tsp.) and combine well with a ladle.

Pour yogurt (curd or dahi), ground Thuthuvalai leaves paste and about 3 cups of plain water into the bowl.

Combine all the ingredients to make a runny batter. Add more water if the consistency is not as required.

Heat a griddle and pour a ladle full of batter on it. Drizzle a little oil if required (I use non-stick pan which do not require any oil) and flip the crepe to the other side.

Cook both the sided till it turns golden brown in colour.

Serve these healthy crepes with any chutney or sauce of your choice.

2. Purple fruited pea egg plant curry aka Tangy Thuthuvala Kulambu

healthy indian curry and chutney recipes with thuthuvalai greens

Ingredients:

Recipe courtesy: Pattunnarajam Chandrasekaran

(serve 3)

  • 100 gms Thuthuvalai greens
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 5-6 garlic pearls
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Water as required

Spices:

  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp. coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. fenugreek seeds
  • A pinch of asafoetida powder

Method; Wash the Thuthuvala greens and grind into fine paste.

Make tamarind paste using a small lemon sized ball of fresh tamarind. I use homemade tamarind paste which I prepare and refrigerate.

Take about 2 cups of water in a vessel and add tamarind paste, red chilli powder, coriander powder (dhania), asafoetida powder (hing) and salt in it.

Heat oil in a wok or kadai and crackle mustard seeds in it. Add fenugreek seeds (methi dana) and garlic pearls (lasun)in the oil and sauté for a minute.

Pour spiced tamarind water in the wok and bring it to a boil.

Add ground Thuthuvala greens in the wok and let it simmer till the gravy or Kulumbu (gravy) becomes semi solid in consistency.

3. Purple fruited pea egg plant and tomato curry aka Thuthuvali-tomato Kuzhambu

healthy indian curry and chutney recipes with thuthuvalai greens

This is how I make Kulambu or curry with lots of tomato and shredded Thuthuvalai leaves. Deep red country tomatoes and a good Sambhar powder gives this Kulambu a bright red hue.

Ingredients:

(serve 3)

  • 10-12 Thuthuvalai leaves
  •  4 large tomatoes
  • 8-10 shallots
  • 2 tsp Sambhar powder
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp. Bengal gram
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
  • A pinch of asafoeitda powder
  • Salt to taste

Method: Wash Thuthuvali leaves and roughly chop it with kitchen scissors.

Wash and finely chop the tomatoes.

Peel and slice the shallots (small onion or chinna vengayam).

Heat a oil in a wok or kadai and splutter mustard seeds (rai dana) and Bengal gram (channa daal) in it.

Add sliced onion and saute for 2 minutes.

Add asafoetida powder and chopped tomatoes in it and cook for 6-7 minutes on medium heat.

Add Sambhar powder and chopped Thuthuvalai leaves in the wok and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.

Put off the flame and serve the healthy curry with Idly, Dosa or plain rice.

4. Purple fruited pea egg plant spread aka Thuthuvala Thuvayal

healthy indian curry and chutney recipes with thuthuvalai greens

Ingredients:

Recipe courtesy: Pattunnarajam Chandrasekaran

(serve 3)

  • 100 gms Thuthuvala greens
  • 2 tbsp grated coconut
  • 3 dry red chillies
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 Garlic pearls
  • 1 tsp. de-skinned black gram
  • 1/2 tsp tamarind paste
  • Salt to taste

Method: Pluck and wash Thuthuvala greens.

Heat oil in a wok or kadai and lightly brown the de-skinned black gram (urad daal). Take the roasted gram out and add greens in the same oil and sauté for 2-3 minutes.

Grind sautéed greens with grated coconut, garlic pearls, red chillies, tamarind paste and salt into fine paste. I like chunky bits of leaves and spices in my chutney and use mortar and pestle to grind.

Add the roasted gram in the Thuvayal and serve with plain rice, Dosa or Idly.

healthy indian curry and chutney recipes

Thuthavalai plant in my garden…

5. Purple fruited pea egg plant soup aka Thuthuvala Rasam

healthy indian curry and chutney recipes with thuthuvalai greens

Ingredients:

Recipe courtesy: Pattunnarajam Chandrasekaran

(serve 3)

  • 100 gms Thuthuvala leaves
  • 4-5 garlic pearls
  • 2 dry red chilies
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tsp. peppercorn
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. asafetida powder                    `
  • Salt to taste
  • Water as required

healthy indian curry and chutney recipes with thuthuvalai greens

Method: Pluck and wash the leaves of Thuthuvala.

Grind the leaves with peppercorn, cumin seeds and garlic pearls into fine paste.

Take 2 cups of water in a vessel and add tamarind paste and salt in it and boil it for about 7-8 minutes till the raw smell of tamarind disappear.

Add ground Thuthuvala and spice paste in the boiling tamarind water.

Take the vessel off the flame as soon as the Rasam starts to boil and cover the vessel with a lid.

Heat oil a small pan and crackle mustard seeds in it. Add asafoetida powder and broken red chillies in hot oil and pout this tempering over the cooked Rasam

6. Purple fruited pea egg and tomato soup aka Thuthuvali-tomato Rasam

healthy indian curry and chutney recipes with thuthuvalai greens

The Rasam I cook using Thuthuvalai leaves and tomato pulp has orangish hue to it and I do miss the flavors of the herbs in my recipe. As I don’t grind the leaves and just shred the leaves to use as garnish. This recipe is more like a soup which is good to have to get relief from common cold and cough.

Grinding the leaves along with spices (in her recipe above) to make Rasam gives strong flavor and much better taste.

Ingredients:

(serve 3)

  • 10-12 Thuthuvalai leaves
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 3 garlic pearls
  • 6-7 peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp oil
  • A pinch of asafoetia powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Water as required

Method: Wash and squeeze the tomatoes in a large vessel filled with 2 cups of water.

Bring tomato with water to a boil.

Wash the Thuthuvalai leaves and remove the hard thorns and finely chop the leaves with a kitchen scissors.

Grind peppercorn, cumin seeds and garlic cloves into coarse paste, I use my pestle and mortar to do this.

Add ground peppercorn and garlic paste to the boiling tomato water and let it simmer for 6-7 minutes on medium heat.

Heat oil in a small kadai or wok and splutter mustard seeds in it. Add chopped Thuthuvali leaves, stir and put off the flame.

Pour this tempering over the tomato water and continue to simmer for another 2-3 minutes.

Take the vessel off the flame and serve this healthy soup or Rasam with plain rice or with garlic bread.

Notes:

  1. Make sure to remove thorns which are hard and large at the back of the leaves before using it in cooking.
  2. Add handful of mint or coriander leaves in all the recipes for a better taste.
  3. The colour of Rasam cooked using tamarind will be muddy green while the rasam with tomato as base will be bright red.
  4. Use country tomatoes in the recipe which are sour and tangy in taste for better results.
  5. I often add a pinch of sugar in all the recipes made with Thuthuvalai as the greens are slightly bitter in taste.
  6. Thuthuvalai leave is said to generate heat in body and should be consumed occasionally.

Search for the English & Hindi names of various foods and ingredients used in the recipe in Glossary.
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3 Comments »

  • Fa's Kitchen said:

    just the tamarind in the background had me hooked, sanjeetha… lovely blog and lovely recipes..

  • Revathy said:

    Where can I get this leaves in Bangalore.. Its been so long I m searching fa this plant.let me know if you have any idea..I want it fa my kid as she used to catch up cold frequently..

  • sanjeeta kk (author) said:

    @Revathy, No idea about Bangalore, but these are frequently available in Chennai.

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