Thengai Thogayal, also known as Coconut Thogayal, is a traditional South Indian dish that originates from the state of Tamil Nadu. It is a chutney or condiment made using fresh coconut, red chillies, tamarind, and other flavorful ingredients. These ingredients are ground into a coarse paste, sometimes with water, for texture and consistency. The resulting thogayal has a rich, nutty flavour from the coconut and a spicy kick from the red chillies.
Thengai Thogayal is delicious and nutritious, as coconut provides healthy fats and essential nutrients. It’s a beloved part of South Indian cuisine and offers a burst of flavours complementing a wide range of dishes. Thogayal is a versatile dish that can be served as an accompaniment to various main courses, such as rice, dosa, idli, or rotis.
Why I love Thengai Thogayal
Thengai Thogayal offers a unique and delicious combination of flavours. The fresh coconut’s nuttiness, red chillies’ spiciness, and the earthy notes of roasted lentils create a well-balanced and satisfying taste.
The coarsely ground texture of Thengai Thogayal adds a pleasant taste to your meals. It’s not as smooth as traditional chutneys, which can make it more interesting to eat.
Coconut Thogayal is an absolute comfort food. I grew up eating this dish almost every week. It is our family’s favourite. Nowadays, when I am not in the mood to make anything elaborate, I make a simple Thogayal and have it with Appalam or Vadam.
It is a simple recipe that takes hardly 15 minutes to prepare. The best option for a lazy day lunch menu!
How to make Thengai Thogayal
Add oil to a pan. Once hot, add mustard seeds. Let it splutter. Add urad dal and fry till it changes colour. Add tamarind, adafoetida and red chillies. Saute for a couple of minutes. Switch off.
Transfer the tamarind, asafoetida, and red chillies to a mixie far. Add salt and grind coarsely. Add grated coconut and grind again. You can add little water to achieve the consistency you prefer. Finally, add the mustard seeds and urad dal. Grind for a few seconds. The mixture should remain a bit coarse.
Delicious Thengai Thogayal is ready to be served with hot rice.
Variations & Tips
Use freshly grated coconut for the best flavour. Frozen grated coconut can also be used if fresh is not available.
Roast the lentils (urad dal) until they become golden brown. This step is crucial as it adds a distinct flavour and aroma to the thogayal.
Some prefer a coarse texture, while others may like the thogayal to be smooth. Add water according to the texture you prefer. But the coarse texture is the best way to have this Thengai Thogayal.
The recipe I have shared here is my Mom’s. She doesn’t roast the coconut. We all enjoy the thogayal this way. If you prefer roasting the coconut, you can roast it first and add it to the mixture while grinding.
Adjust the number of red chillies according to your preferred spice level. If you like it milder, use fewer chillies; add extra chillies if you enjoy more heat. Peppercorns can also be added to the thogayal for an extra spice kick.
Incorporate fresh herbs like curry leaves, cilantro, or mint leaves to add a refreshing and aromatic twist to the thogayal.
How to serve Thengai Thogayal
Thengai Thogayal tastes best when mixed with hot steamed rice and a ghee/sesame oil dollop. This combination makes for a comforting and delicious meal. Mix the thogayal into the rice and enjoy.
Coconut Thogayal can be served as a side dish alongside other main courses like sambar, rasam, or any South Indian curry. It adds a burst of flavour and texture to the meal.
Thengai Thogayal makes an excellent accompaniment for dosa and idli. Spread a thin layer of the thogayal on the dosa or idli before eating for extra taste.
Enjoy Thengai Thogayal with Indian flatbreads like chapati or roti. It can be used as a dipping sauce or spread on the bread.
Other recipes you may like
Thengai Thogayal | Coconut Thogayal
- 1 tsp Oil
- 2 tsp Mustard seeds
- 1 tsp Urad Dal
- 6 Red Chillies
- Tamarind a small piece
- Asafoetida a generous pinch
- Salt as needed
- 1 cup Coconut fresh or frozen
- Add oil to a pan. Once hot, add mustard seeds. Let it splutter. Add urad dal and fry till it changes colour. The urad dal should be golden brown.
- Add tamarind, adafoetida and red chillies. Saute for a couple of minutes. Switch off.
- Transfer the tamarind, asafoetida, and red chillies to a mixie far. Add salt and grind coarsely.
- Add coconut and grind again. You can add little water to achieve the consistency you prefer.
- Finally, add the mustard seeds and urad dal. Grind for a few seconds. The mixture should remain a bit coarse.
- Delicious Thengai Thogayal is ready to be served with hot rice and a spoon of ghee/sesame oil.