Paruppu thogayal / Lentil chutney

Today's dish is a typical South Indian delicacy. Roughly translated, 'thogayal' means a spread which is neither slippery smooth nor too grainy, at best it can be said to have a rough texture. If you take a pinch of the spread, you will feel the fine ground lentils against your fingers, but you will not be able to feel the lentils when you taste.

Thogayal is generally served in small helpings as an extra accompaniment to a standard Tamilian meal consisting of rice, liquid gravy (rasam/sambar/vathakozhambu etc.), a dry vegetable and curd. It is often taken in lieu of pickles, and is spicier than the present recipe. The only time that it appears as a main dish is when rice is taken with vathakozhambu. V and T form a deadly mouthwatering combo. I prefer having hot steamed rice mixed with thogayal and a tsp. of til oil. It is absolutely yummy that way. I often use thogayal as a spread while making sandwiches, masala dosa. Leftover thogayal can be added to your regular chapatti or paratha dough as it agrees well with almost anything.

Isn't it the most versatile thing? And the best part - it is quick and easy!

Moong dal / tuvar dal - 1 cup
Coconut - 1/2 cup (Freshly grated)
Salt - to taste
Dry red chilli - 1 (To taste)
(Some people also add a small piece of tamarind which is optional)

1. Roast the lentils on slow fire till flavor is released and they turn light brown. Set to cool.
2. Put all the ingredients together in a mixer and grind, starting with 1/4 cup water, increasing the amount of water if necessary. The ground mass should have a spreadable consistency. It should neither be too thick nor runny. If you spoon a little, it should not slip off easily!

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