Thoothuvalai (Solanum trilobatum) is a herb that usually props up in our surroundings after a good spell of rain. It is a quickly spreading medicinal plant used in Indian medicines viz. Ayurveda & Siddha to treat respiratory problems like asthma, cough, cold & flu.
Children & old people usually fall sick during monsoon & winter. It is recommended to include these herbs in their diet twice a week during this season as it gives them enough relief from common cough, cold & flu. Nowadays thoothuvalai candies are also available in drug stores here.
Although thoothuvalai leaves, stems, flowers & fruits have medicinal properties, their leaves are being used at home for culinary purposes to prepare rasam (soup) and chutney.
I prefer to use thoothuvalai chutney as a sandwich spread or serve it as a side for idli or dosa.
Variations: We can make thoothuvalai thuvaiyal as shown here to serve as a side for curd rice. Thoothuvalai chutney may be prepared with or without tomatoes, and also with coconut as shown below; please refer “Tips & Tweaks” section at the end for their recipes.
Now let us look into the recipe for thoothuvalai chutney with tomato that tastes like our usual onion chutney:
Time taken: 20 min
Yields: ½ cup
- Thoothuvalai keerai – 1 cup
- Red chillies – 4 Nos.
- Bengal gram – 1 tbsp
- Onion – 1 No. (or shallots – 10 Nos.)
- Tomato – 1 No.
- Salt – ½ tsp
- Sesame oil – 1 tbsp + ½ tsp
- Carefully wash thorny thoothuvalai leaves after trimming their stems and chop them roughly.
- Chop onion & tomato roughly and keep them aside.
- Heat a pan in low flame with ½ tsp oil.
- Roast Bengal gram & red chillies.
- Remove them from pan when roasted.
- Grind them into a powder at room temperature and keep aside.
- Meanwhile heat the same pan with 1 tbsp oil in medium flame
- Add chopped onion and saute until translucent.
- Add thoothuvalai leaves & salt (¼ tsp) and saute until cooked.
- Add tomato & salt (¼ tsp) and saute until mushy.
- Add to the Bengal gram powder at room temperature and grind into a smooth paste after adding 50 ml of water.
- Serve with (or without) tempering.
Sandwich: We can make sandwich using thoothuvalai chutney as shown below:
- Spread chutney on the bread slices (I used multigrain bread).
- Place any steamed and/or raw vegetables of your choice.
- Sprinkle grated cheese before toasting.
- Serve thoothuvalai sandwich with tomato ketchup.
Tips & tweaks:
- When we suffer from cold, it is not recommended to include tomato in our diet, so we can make the same chutney by replacing tomato with a piece of tamarind.
- If you find this chutney time consuming, you may simply make it as below and it tastes like a herbal chutney:
- You can add a tbsp of curd in the above chutney and can be used as a dip for pakora, tikka, kebab, etc.
- You can also make coconut chutney using thoothuvalai and it tastes like a curry leaves chutney:
- Since thoothuvalai plant has tiny yet sharp thorns all over the stems & leaves as well, we need to be careful while handling. We have to discard its thorny stems and use thorny leaves alone; no need to remove those thorns on the leaves as they become soft & tender when cooked; if you find it difficult to chop these thorny leaves, you can use the leaf as a whole as shown below.