Some basic facts about Coriander:
Coriander (Kothamalli/ Dhania), also known as Cilantro is an annual herb whose leaves, stems and seeds are edible. Coriander leaves are widely used in Asian, Mexican and some Portuguese cooking.
Coriander, in traditional medicine, is thought to have anxiety relieving properties. The seeds are boiled with cumin in water and this liquid is used as a diuretic.
Most saturdays, a greens (as in spinach, fenugreek leaves, coriander, etc) seller ( I don’t know how else to describe him as he sells only a variety of greens), brings fresh leafy vegetables to my door. I almost always end up buying these in larger quantities than I need. I have devised various methods of cutting, cooking and freezing so that nothing goes waste!
Last week he had fresh and healthy looking coriander leaves. I bought 2 huge bunches and used up some in chutneys. The rest went into making chutney powder. This chutney powder is common in Palakkad and Tamil Iyer homes.
1 ½ cups coriander leaves, loosely packed
½ cup urad dal
½ cup chana dal
red chillies (to taste, I used 10)
tamarind, size of a marble
¼ tsp asafetida
1 tsp jaggery powder (optional)
salt to taste
Wash the coriander leaves and also the stems, if they are tender, and spread on a cloth to dry, preferably overnight. I snip them into manageable portions with a pair of scissors I keep for cutting up herbs and green chillies.
Put the dry leaves in a pan and stir, on medium heat, for a minute or two till they wilt and start giving off an aroma. Take off the heat. In the same pan, roast the urad and chana dals till golden brown. As they start browning, add the chillies and asafetida powder. Remove from heat and cool.
Put all the ingredients in the blender/ grinder jar and powder till the the coriander leaves are well ground. The powder will be a little coarse in texture. Bottle and refrigerate.
This chutney powder goes well with idlis, dosas or rice and yogurt. If it is served with idlis or dosas, you may add a bit of oil as for milagaipodi.
This a sort of oily chutney/ pickle with almost the same ingredients. Just grind the coriander leaves, tamarind and chillies ( you may use green chillies). To about ¼ cup sesame seed/ gingelly oil, add a tsp of mustard seeds. When they splutter, add the asafetida and the ground paste. Add the powdered dals and other ingredients and cook till all the moisture has evaporated and the oil is visible at the side of the pan. Cool and bottle.