To me , my mom is one of the best cooks there is !!! I love her food. It takes me back to days full of summer, innocence and joy. All was right with the world , every single moment !!! Once I discovered that I like to cook, she took the time to teach me all the traditional recipes that her mom handed down to her and I hope someday I will hand down to my own daughter……..well as I said, hopefully !!!! While I love the traditional recipes and make them often…. I love putting a modern spin on these recipes. There is nothing wrong with it but pushing it slightly over the edge relieves the monotony. I love the chutnies or thuvaiyals my mom makes…..give me those any day over a sambhar.

For those who are not from the south, you know what a chutney is …well….. a thuvaiyal is a much more dense version , ground with a lot less liquid and more spices. You can definitely eat it with dosas or idlis but it is primarily eaten with rice and a kootu , a veggie -dal combo that has a consistency that is slightly thicker than a sambhar but not as dry as a poriyal. I twisted a few things but it is essentially a PEERKANGAI /LUFFA SQUASH THUVAIYAL ( RELISH ) WITH SHALLOTS. I know its a long name …..but it still does not do it justice.I was inspired by a recipe from Raghavan Iyer’s 660 Curries. It is an earthy, complex, tart and spicy chutney of sorts with a crunchy topping of sautéed shallots that gives it its contemporary flair. I paired it with a winter melon kootu and rice to make one very satisfying meal. I cannot wait to make it again.

Luffa Squash Chutney


1 lb Luffa squash/ Peerkangai , peeled and diced

4 dried Red Chillies

¼ cup Cilantro

12 medium to large Curry Leaves

½ tsp Tamarind Concentrate / a marble size ball of Tamarind

1 tsp Mustard Seeds

1 tbsp Urd Dal

4 Shallots/Small Onions, thinly sliced

Salt to taste

a pinch of Asafoetida


Combine the peerkangai, 2 chillies and 1 cup of water in a bowl and cook in the microwave for 4-5 minutes. Alternately cook it on the stove top till the peerkangai is fork tender.

 Pour the contents into a blender and add the cilantro, half the curry leaves, tamarind and salt.

Blend till a smooth puree is obtained. 

Meanwhile, in a little oil, sauté the mustard seeds till they pop.

Then add the urd dal and chillies . Sauté till the dal turn golden brown and the chillies blacken.

Then add the curry leaves and the shallots and sauté till the shallots are light brown.

Pour the thuvaiyal into a serving bowl and then pour the contents of the pan over it. Serve.

Luffa Squash Chutney 

This thuvaiyal will last in a tight container, in the fridge, for a week. Do not microwave it to reheat….that changes the flavour. Thaw it at room temperature. For a luxurious twist , serve it on rice drizzled with ghee……as for me I settled for without ! This if off to Walk Thru Memory Lane started by Gayathri’s Cook Spot , hosted this time by Nivedhanam.