Thoothuvalai chutney

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.

tutuvelaChildren & 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.

IMG_1777.JPGAlthough thoothuvalai leaves, stems, flowers & fruits have medicinal properties, their leaves are being used at home for culinary purposes to prepare rasam (soup) and chutney.

IMG_1663.JPGI 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:

IMG_17452Time taken: 20 min

Yields: ½ cup


  1. Thoothuvalai keerai – 1 cup
  2. Red chillies – 4 Nos.
  3. Bengal gram – 1 tbsp
  4. Onion – 1 No. (or shallots – 10 Nos.)
  5. Tomato – 1 No.
  6. Salt – ½ tsp
  7. Sesame oil – 1 tbsp + ½ tsp

thooth-chutney ingrdnts.jpg

Cooking Method:

  • 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.


57 Comments Add yours

  1. I had not heard of this herb. Thanks for introducing it along with a delightful recipe.

    1. Megala says:

      Thanks so much !

  2. Awesome post Megala, I have never heard of this medicinal plant.So creative to make chutney and incorporate it in daily meals.Loved it !!

    1. Megala says:

      Thanks very much !

  3. Isn’t it nice to deal with seasonal changes with home based recipes and herbs especially. Great share. Shall check if I can find some of this keerai here.

    1. Megala says:

      Thank you !

  4. This is a new introduction into my limited knowledge about herbs, but surely an interesting one. Not sure it is available in this part of the world but surely will pass this on to my mother. She might have access to these leaves. Thank you for sharing, Megala.

    1. Megala says:

      Thank you so much !

  5. 3C Style says:

    Thanks for introducing me to this herb. I have to try it. Lots of useful information in your post and your recipe seem easy enough for me. Might give it a try.

    1. Megala says:

      Thanks for your kind appreciation !

      1. 3C Style says:

        My pleasure Megala. Have a great week.

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