Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Coriander powder or thokku

This is a family recipe, invented/learned by my mom and perfected under my dad's guidance (he is an arm-chair cook). We use the name 'sambaara puli' but it is actually a version of coriander powder/thokku. I have been eating this for years and it is a part of the care package when someone comes here from India. According to mom, this is a kerala dish. However, I am not sure about its origins. Anyway, the recipe yields 2 cups of dried powder-like chutney/thokku. It is ideal with yogurt rice, dosas or for making coriander rice.

I am so happy that cilantro is selling for $0.29 here. I can make this as often as I want. Unlike coriander thokku, this can stay for upto a month in the refrigerator. This is because all the water has been removed. You can also make it paste-like for a more moist texture.

Coriander thokku

2 bunches fresh cilantro, cleaned and dried completely
1 small piece tamarind, soaked in a tsp of water to soften a little
15 red chillies
2 T gram dal
2 T urad dal
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
pinch of hing


2 T oil
1 ts mustard seeds

1. The cilantro has to be cleaned and dried very well. For this, I leave the cleaned leaves outside overnight, exposed to air. That does it. Heat a skillet and dry roast red chilies, dals, hing and mustard seeds until mustard pops and dals are reddish. Powder coarsely.
2. Grind cilantro with tamarind until smooth.
3. Heat 2 T oil in a skillet, add mustard seeds and let them pop. Add the cilantro paste and saute until it turns a dark green. Now add the powder and saute, saute and saute some more until most of the water is eliminated. The mixture will now be on the way to becoming a brownish-green.
4. I recommend adding salt at this stage, since we can get a better idea of how much salt is required. Keep sauteeing on low heat, until oil sizzles around edges and mixture is dry paste/powder-like. You can decide at this stage when to remove from heat based on what consistency you want.


  1. Love the coriander powder, Mika.
    We also prepare it the same way except we don't add tamarind.
    Adding tamarind gives little bit extra edge to powder, I guess.

  2. My fav podi,Mika.Amma prepares it regularly and I always have stock of it..:).I prepare a version without tamarind too,like Indira mentioned.But we do add tamarind also.Great podi with ghee and rice..YUM!

  3. Mika, That looks great. I will try it.Thanks for the recipe.

  4. So I guess now I know the origins of this recipe. I have always wondered... So it looks more like an andhra recipe.

    It is good with the tamarind too. Plzz try it.

    Hi Shilpa, try it and let me know:-).

  5. BTW, Indira and Sailu- what is the name of the powder in telegu?

  6. i like this corriander powder.
    We call "kothimera podi" in telugu.

  7. What a coincidence, my amma has just made kothamalli thokku too :) Yum yum! I think she makes it slightly different from yours, Mika. I'll pass on this version to her!

  8. We make the same kind its really tastes good with hot rice and ghee added to it what a yummy taste:)

  9. mmmmm, sounds yummy! I love cilantro and I'm sure I will love this with rice!


  10. It's "kottimera Podi" in Telugu, Mika.