Thoothuvalai Chutney

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. So we can add these herbs into our diet during winter or monsoon. Here I have prepared thoothuvali chutney that can be used often for breakfast.

tutuvela Thoothuvalai Chutney
Thoothuvalai plant

These herbs are recommended by Indian medicine system to include twice a week into our diet. It is particularly beneficial to children/ 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 the drug stores here.

img_1777 Thoothuvalai Chutney
Thoothuvalai mittai

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.

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Thoothuvalai leaf

I  prefer to use thoothuvalai chutney as a side dish for idli or dosa.

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Thoothuvalai chutney for idli & dosa

We can also use this as a sandwich spread liked by the children.

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Thoothuvalai Sandwich


Thoothuvalai chutney may be prepared with coconut just like a coconut chutney.

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Thoothuvalai chutney with coconut

We can also prepare thoothuvalai chutney with/ without tomatoes just like onion-tomato chutney.

img_1929 Thoothuvalai Chutney

Thoothuvalai chutney recipe:

We can prepare thoothuvalai thuvaiyal and serve as a side for curd rice. Now let us look into the recipe for thoothuvalai chutney with tomato that tastes like an onion chutney:

img_17452 Thoothuvalai Chutney
Thoothuvalai chutney

Time taken: 20 min

Yields: ½ cup (100 ml)


  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 Thoothuvalai Chutney

Cooking Method:

  • 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.
  • Then add thoothuvalai leaves & salt (¼ tsp) and saute until cooked.
  • Add tomato & salt (¼ tsp) and saute until mushy.
  • Grind them all along with Bengal gram powder into a smooth paste after adding 50 ml of water.
  • Thoothuvalai chutney is ready to serve.

Thoothuvalai 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.
tc-sandwich Thoothuvalai Chutney
Sandwich using Thoothuvalai chutney

Tips & Tweaks:

  • When we suffer from cold, it is not recommended to include tomatoes into our diet. So we can make the same chutney by replacing tomato with a piece of tamarind.
  • We can also prepare quick & easy 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 the thorny leaves. There is no need to remove those thorns on the leaves as they become soft & tender while sautéing. We can use a pair of scissors for chopping these thorny leaves or else we can use the whole leaves as shown below.
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Sautéed thorny leaves

57 comments on “Thoothuvalai ChutneyAdd yours →

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. I always find the thorns on the thoothuvalai as the tricky part in using it in cooking.Is it a good idea to use scissors to remove the thorns? Thank you so much for writing about the healing herbs of Tamil nadu and how they are used in cooking and how food becomes medicine.

    1. Yes, I did find it difficult initially, but my mother suggested me to use it without removing the thorns on the leaves, we just need to remove the stems/stalks not the midribs. So washing those thorny leaves alone is a difficult task. Hope you would try it in this winter ! Have a great weekend !!

  5. Very interesting and powerful herb, thoothuvalai! And the chutney sounds great and special. Unfortunately the supermarkets in my country don’t sell this herb..,

      1. Most welcome! Oh I hope so too! Been there last winter and fell in love with the culture, people and food. Hope to go again very soon to discover more!

    1. Thanks, Hanna ! It tastes mildly sweet and it does not have any strong flavor. You can replace this with holy Basil leaves (Tulsi) for its medicinal value or Basil leaves for the taste.

  6. This is great!! My granny always made thoothuvalai kashayam or laegiyam for my cold but chutney is so new..definitely trying this!

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