Zucchini Thogayal| Tamilnadu Style Zucchini Chutney

I’m here today with a new recipe, one for Zucchini Thogayal!

What is thogayal?

Thogayal‘ or ‘thuvaiyal‘ refers to the Tamilnadu style of making chutney. Thogayal is made with lentils, which give it a thicker consistency than that of chutney.

Thogayal is usually an accompaniment to rice and rasam, vattalkozhambu, milagu kozhambu or kootu. Sometimes, it is just had mixed with some piping hot steamed rice, along with a dollop of ghee or sesame oil (nalla ennai). It also makes for a great accompaniment to idlis, dosas, uttappam and the like. Any which way, it’s delish. πŸ™‚

Any fruit or veggie of your choice can be used to make thogayal – ridge gourd, ivy gourd, cabbage, spinach, capsicum, pineapple, carrot, roasted eggplant, radish, even kale. Did you know that the peel of some vegetables can be used in thogayal as well – like this raw banana peel thogayal? Thengai Thogayal stars fresh grated coconut, while toor dal is the main ingredient in Paruppu Thogayal. Yes, there are literally hundreds of varieties of thogayal in Tamilnadu!

How this Zucchini Thogayal came about

After the kale, it was the zucchini’s turn to be Tamilian-ized. πŸ™‚ I had some yellow zucchini left over after preparing Thai curry, and was wondering what to do with it. The Kale Thogayal received so much love – both at home and virtually – that I decided to try making a Tamilnadu-style chutney with zucchini, too. Boy, did it turn out yum?! Packed with flavour, this thogayal went on to become a huge hit with everyone in the family, too.

I made the Zucchini Thogayal the same way we prepare most Tam-Brahm chutneys, with lentils and a bit of tamarind. I also added in some garlic cloves, ginger and jaggery, which elevated the taste of the chutney to a whole new level. I served it with some idlis and dosas, and no one could tell what veggie had been used! πŸ™‚ Such a great way to make use of leftover zucchini, I say.

Zucchini is high in antioxidants and possesses certain nutrients like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, magnesium, manganese and potassium. I figured this thogayal is a good way to get these nutrients into one’s system.

Is this Zucchini Thogayal vegan and gluten-free?


The way I make it, this Zucchini Thogayal is a completely vegetarian and vegan preparation, suited to those on a plant-based diet.

If you just skip the asafoetida used in the tempering, this thogayal becomes gluten-free as well. This is because most commercial brands of asafoetida available in India do contain wheat flour, to a lesser or greater extent. However, if you can find 100% gluten-free asafoetida, you could definitely go ahead and use it.


Zucchini Thogayal for Foodie Monday Blog Hop

I’m sharing this recipe with the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. Every Monday, the members of this group showcase recipes based on a pre-determined theme. This week, we decided to present accompaniments made using ingredients that are different from the usual – think sauces, chutneys, dips, pickles made from something other than the usual suspects. Since a zucchini doesn’t often find itself listed amongst the ingredients for a thogayal, I decided to share this recipe for the theme.

This wonderful theme was suggested by Renu of Cook With Renu. The very talented Renu has some amazing recipes on her blog, including baked goodies and some lesser known dishes from across India. I have been eyeing her Masala Gud, Sprouted Horsegram Salad and Matar Makhana Sabzi for quite some time now – should try them out soon!

Zucchini Thogayal recipe

Here’s presenting to you the stepwise guide to making delicious Zucchini Thogayal.

Ingredients (makes about 3/4 cup):

1. 1/2 of a large zucchini
2. 1 tablespoon fresh curry leaves
3. A 1-inch piece of ginger
4. 4-5 garlic cloves
5. 1 teaspoon oil
6. 1-1/2 tablespoon urad dal
7. 1-1/2 tablespoon chana dal
8. Salt to taste
9. A small piece of tamarind
10. 3 dry red chillies
11. 1/2 tablespoon jaggery powder or to taste

For tempering:

1. 1 teaspoon oil
2. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
3. 2 pinches of asafoetida
4. 1 sprig fresh curry leaves


1. Chop the zucchini into cubes. I did not peel it. I had 1 full cup of zucchini cubes.

2. Soak the tamarind in a little boiling water for 10-15 minutes, for it to soften. Let the tamarind cool down fully.

3. Wash the curry leaves well. Pat dry using a cotton cloth, removing all traces of moisture from them.

4. Peel the ginger and garlic cloves. Chop roughly.

5. Heat the 1 teaspoon of oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the urad dal, chana dal and dry red chillies. Roast on medium flame till the ingredients start turning brown, about 2 minutes. Ensure that the ingredients do not burn.

6. When the lentils begin to change colour, add the zucchini cubes, chopped ginger and garlic cloves, and curry leaves to the pan. Continue to roast on medium flame for 1-2 minutes – by this time, the lentils would have browned nicely and the zucchini would have shrunk a bit. Switch off gas. Allow the roasted ingredients to cool down fully.

7. When all the roasted ingredients have completely cooled down, transfer them to a small mixer jar. Add in the softened tamarind, along with the water it was soaked in. Add salt to taste and the jaggery powder. Grind together, in intervals, stopping to mix up the ingredients with a spoon. Use a little water for grinding, if needed. Grind till the zucchini is well pureed, with some coarsely crushed bits of lentils and dry red chillies. Transfer the chutney to a serving bowl.

8. Now, we will prepare the tempering for the chutney. Heat 1 teaspoon sesame oil in a pan. Add in the mustard, and allow it to sputter. Add in the asafoetida and curry leaves (washed and patted completely dry). Let them stay in for a couple of seconds, taking care to ensure that they do not burn. Pour this tempering on the chutney, and mix well. Your Zucchini Thogayal is now ready to serve with idlis, dosas, vada, rotis, parathas or steamed rice.

Tips & Tricks

1. I used half of a large yellow zucchini to make this thogayal. You can use any variety of zucchini here.

2. I did not peel the zucchini, just chopped it into small cubes.

3. Adjust the quantity of tamarind you use, as per personal taste preferences.

4. Sesame oil goes really well in this Zucchini Thogayal. That’s what I use to roast the ingredients and in the tempering.

5. Make sure the ingredients do not burn while roasting them. Use a heavy-bottomed pan, and roast the ingredients on medium flame. Add in the zucchini, ginger, garlic and curry leaves to the pan when the lentils are just starting to get brown. This will help all ingredients to get cooked evenly, without burning.

6. You can omit the ginger and garlic, if you do not want to use it. However, I would strongly recommend using them. They add a gorgeous taste to the Zucchini Thogayal.

7. Skip the jaggery if you so wish. However, it does add a beautiful flavour to the thogayal. I would definitely recommend using the jaggery.

8. I have used 2 spicy Salem Gundu dry red chillies and 1 not-so-hot Bydagi dry red chilli in this chutney. The heat was just perfect for us.

9. Make sure all the roasted ingredients have fully cooled down, before starting to grind the chutney.

10. This chutney can be stored refrigerated in a clean, dry, air-tight bottle for 2-3 days.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

14 thoughts on “Zucchini Thogayal| Tamilnadu Style Zucchini Chutney

  1. An interesting way to use zucchini, making a thogayal. Love chutneys that are a bit thick as one can smear a thick layer of it on flatbreads. bread or even idli. I never peel zucchini as the skin is soft and very nutritious.


  2. Chutney with Zucchini sounds quite interesting and looks so inviting, never thought that we can make Chutney with it..this can be so handy for breakfast and simple meal with dal rice.


  3. Firstly loved your thogayal collection with fruits and veggies Priya. Zucchini chutney looks tempting, love to have it with any South Indian breakfast. I too like jaggery taste in thogayal πŸ˜‹.


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