Monday, March 10, 2008

1001 Thogayal : South Indian Blended Curries

Blended curries : Thuvaiyal / Thogayal / Pachadi / Chutney
A variety of blended curries are eaten all over the South. All these curries can be made in a jiffy. Most require no cooking at all. Just add everything and blend to a paste – and your curry is ready. They do not need any garnish too, though normally a couple of pinches of mustard seeds and curry leaves are fried in a spoon of oil and added. They can be eaten with rice and a variety of Indian breads. They can also be used as dips or spreads.

The sourness of the curry comes usually from Tamarind paste, or lemon. The curry is spiced up by red / green chilies. A variety of herbs / vegetables / pulses/ nuts / leaves are blended to a paste with a souring agent and chilies to make these curries.

Blended curries from sour fruits like gooseberry/ mango do not need an extra souring agent. Salad vegetables like onions, radish, tomato, can be used raw. Vegetables like eggplant, which cannot be eaten raw are cooked and used.

Thuvaiyal, Masiyal, Chutney, and Thayir Pachadi – all belong to the blended curry family. Their names change depending on the souring agent used. Thuvaiyals are made by blending raw / boiled vegetables / roasted pulses with red chili and tamarind. Masiyals / Kotsu are made by blending boiled vegetables with green chilies and lemon juice. Chutneys are made by blending raw vegetables / herbs usually with coconut and green chilies. Normally no souring agents are used for Chutneys. Thayir Pachadis are made by mixing raw / boiled vegetables with seasoned yogurt.

International Thogayals / Pachadis

The equivalents of our Thogayals, called dips, exist in many cuisines. Replace chilies with pepper , add olive oil, garlic and lemon juice to a thogayal and you get a range of 'International Thogayals' .
For example, toasted sesame seeds blended with sesame /olive oil, lemon and salt give the famous Tahini or Ellu Thogaiyal. Mix in boiled and mashed chickpeas with Tahini and you have the famous Hummus. We'd probably call it Chickpea Masiyal. ( It is interesting to note that boiled pulses are not used as a thogayal base in South India).

Instead of chickpeas, mash soaked and boiled Mochai ( fava beans) with lemon, salt, garlic, olive oil and chili and you get the Fava Bean Masiyal or Bigilla - the famous Maltese dip.

Mix in grilled and mashed eggplant and lemon juice to Tahini and you have eggplant masiyal or Baba Ghanoush, another famous Middle eastern dip. Mix in chopped tomatoes and pepper powder to Baba Ghanoush and you have the Greek dip Melitzanosalata .

Our Thayir pachadis minus the flavouring are nothing but Raitas, popular across North India. Mix in olive oil, lemon juice and grated garlic to a raita and you have the famous Greek dip Tzatziki.

Blend roasted peanuts to a paste and you have the eternal favourite Peanut butter. Add chilies and tamarind and it becomes Peanut Thogayal.

The humble mustard when ground to a paste with turmeric , salt and vinegar ( or wine / honey) becomes the delicious mustard dip, so popular in the west. We'd probably call it Kadugu Thogayal.

When you blend Tomato, onions, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, chili and salt together , we have what we would call raw tomato chutney, or Salsa cruda (raw salsa)as it is known in Mexico.

Instead of using raw veggies, stir fry the tomatoes, onion , chili and garlic . Blend it with cilantro, lime juice and salt and you have Tomato chutney or the regular Salsa, a wildly popular dip. If Avacados had been known in India, we'd certainly have had an Avacado Thogayal by pureeing its flesh with salt, pepper and lime juice. But now, we only know it as Guacamole. Another famous Middle eastern dip, Walnut Thogayal or Muhammara is made by blending walnuts, bread crumbs, chili, garlic, lemon juice, salt and olive oil . Chinese have their own pachadis built around Soy sauce, which is their chief souring agent . Soy Ginger sauce is their equivalent of our Ginger Chutney or the famous Allam pachadi. The Chinese and Japanese also add sugar to their version of our pachadis, very much like the Gujaratis do. Most Chinese or Japanese 'pachadis' have a distinct sweet and sour taste.

Thus, the concept of blending nuts / herbs / veggies / fruits, with a souring agent exists in many mature cuisines. Just keep an eye open for them and you'll see them all around you !

Model Recipes

Nilava Allam Pachadi
Latha's Fenugreek leaves Thogayal
Rak's Gongura Thuvaiyal

Srivalli's Goosebery Chutney

Laavanya's Mung Dal Thogayal

Ammani's Onion Thuvaiyal


Kribha said...

Great Job! Well Done. I'm sure many people will benefit from your page. Also, thanks for linking my recipe to your page. I feel so happy to be a part of it.

Reshma said...

Excellent Compilation!! Appreciate your effort and interest. "Trying to ape others is a waste of who you are"- Thats my policy too :) Thanks for dropping by my blog and adding my link here.

Lakshmi said...

Thanks for the link. I will try few from here :)

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