Monday, March 23, 2015

Kothambari Saaru ( Cilantro soup/ coriander leaves soup); Meatless Monday

Have you ever heard of soup made out of cilantro leaves??? Well, believe it or not, it is a very traditional recipe where I come from. Cilantro is known as coriander leaves in India why because coriander seeds come from cilantro. See?? Didn't know that did you? In Kannada and a few other languages, coriander is known as kothambari. We Indians don't like to eat rice dry just like that. We always need some sort of gravy to go with it. We make a variety of plain gravies to go with it. These gravies are similar to the soups that westerners have. For example: bean soups, lentil soups, tomato soups etc. Where I come from, we call it "saaru".  So, soup made out of cilantro leaves is called "kothambari saaru". This is super easy to make and super-tasty! While we eat it with rice, you can sip it just like that! This dish, if made thick can be used as a chutney/ dip to be eaten with dosas or idlis or in sandwiches.

Servings: 4-6


For grinding:

Coriander leaves(Cilantro ): 1 medium bunch
Freshly grated coconut: 1/2 cup
Green chillies: 2-3 medium ones( adjust as per individual spice level)
Tamarind pulp: 1/4 tsp
Salt: 1/2 tsp
Water: 1/2 cup + 2 cups

For tempering:

Coconut oil: 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves: 1 sprig


In a food processor/mixer-grinder/blender, grind together coriander leaves, green chillies, freshly grated coconut, salt, tamarind and 1/2 cup water to a fine paste.

In a pot/ saucepan, dilute this paste with 2 cups of water. Bring it to a boil. Turn off the flame.Now temper the soup as described below.


Heat coconut oil in a small frying pan. Add mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds splutter, add Curry leaves. Turn off the flame. Add this tempering to the above pot.

Serve hot with some nice hot steamed rice.

Kothambari saaru served with squash upkari , matta rice and fried fish.


Cooking made easy:

While making cilantro chutney or soup, make sure you use only the leaves. The stems are bitter an therefore if ground will make the chutney bitter. You could save the stems and chop it and use it in dishes like sambar, rasam or tomato saaru. It will emanate a nice aroma to the dish.

Tip for healthy living:

Cilantro is a herb with several medicinal surpising nutritional properties. It is also one of the richest sources of vitamin K.It is also rich in vitamin A,vitamin C, beta-carotene, folic acid, riboflavin and niacin. It is also rich in anti-oxidants, essential oils and dietary fiber.It is also rich in minerals like iron, potassium,calcium, manganese and magnesium.


Food for thought:

If life had a second edition, how I would correct the proofs. John Clare