Thoothuvalai (Solanum trilobatum) is a quickly spreading herb usually props up in our surroundings after a good spell of rain. It is a medicinal plant used in Indian medicines Ayurveda & Siddha to treat respiratory problems like asthma, cough, cold & flu.
It is recommended to include these herbs twice a week in the diet of children and old people, who usually fall sick during monsoon & winter, as it gives them enough relief from common cough, cold & flu. We can also take thoothuvalai candies that are available in drug stores here during this season.
Although thoothuvalai leaves, stems, flowers & fruits have medicinal properties, their leaves are being used for culinary purposes to prepare rasam (soup) and chutney as a home remedy.
I prefer to use thoothuvalai chutney as a sandwich spread or serve it as a side for idli or dosa.
Variations: We can prepare thoothuvalai thuvaiyal as shown here and serve as a side for curd rice. Thoothuvalai chutney may be prepared with/ without tomatoes/ 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 (100 ml)
- 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
- Wash thoothuvalai leaves after trimming their stems.
- Chop thorny leaves carefully using scissors or knife.
- 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.
- We can prepare quick & easy thoothuvalai chutney as below. If we add a tbsp of curd into this chutney, it can be used as a dip for pakora, tikka, kebab, etc.
- We can also make coconut chutney using thoothuvalai as shown below and it tastes exactly like a curry leaves coconut chutney:
- Since thoothuvalai plant has sharp tiny thorns all over the stems & leaves, we need to be careful while handling it. We have to discard its thorny stems but we can use thorny leaves alone; no need to remove those thorns on the leaves as they become soft & tender while sauteing; if you find it difficult to chop these thorny leaves, you can use the whole leaves as shown below.