Celery Thokku is an excellently prepared flavour-some dish rich in nutrition and tastes extremely well when mixed with hot rice and a little ghee to make wholesome celery thokku. It can also be served as a side dish with idli, dosa, pesarattu or curd rice. This recipe is remarkable and can be preserved for few days stored in the refrigerator.
Thokku is an integral part of any South India meal and is considered a halfway dish between a thogaiyal and a pickle. Thokku is a mix between the both and the main difference is that in thogaiyal, all ingredients are combined together and blended to a paste with tamarind whereas in pickle no water is added and the water contents of ingredients are reduced by slow cooking.
Traditionally the logic behind making the thokku is stir fry all chopped veggies (such as tomatoes, coriander leaves, beerakayya, raw mango etc) until dry and blend to a paste with tamarind, red chillies, fenugreek, and garlic, ginger, salt and tempered with mustard. There are several versions of making a delicious and spicy thokku.
You can also make a variety of thokkus that includes mango thokku, coriander or kothamalli thokku, pudina (mint) thokku, Tomato thokku (also popularly known as thakkali thokku) and many many more. You can also replace vegetables with meat or seafood such as prawn thokku or chicken thokku and the principle is the same – reduce moisture, adding a souring agent and cook into a thick gravy. Celery is also used added to soups. Creamy Celery soup is quite a popular and delicious appetizer.
Celery is a wonderful herb and now a days has become a common household staple along with other veggies. It’s crunchy texture and distinctive flavour makes it a popular addition to salad and many other delicious recipes. Celery is available almost throughout the year but the best taste and quality of celery can be enjoyed during the summer months. Celery is also valued for its excellent health benefits. It provides an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber, and is a very good source of folic acid, potassium and vitamin B1 and B6.
To prepare this spicy and scrumptious Celery thokku, firstly heat 2 tablespoon oil in a wide pan. Add the chopped celery and sauté it with some coriander leaves for about 7 minutes. Take it off from heat and let it cool.
Add another tablespoon of oil in the pan and add little fenugreek seeds (methi), chopped green chillies, ginger and garlic. Cook this for 2 to 3 minutes stirring continuously.
Grind the cooled celery along with ginger and garlic mixture making to a smooth paste. Pour the rest of the oil in the pan and add some mustard seeds. Once they crackle, add the celery paste and mix. Add salt to taste, turmeric paste, asafoetida (hing) and mix well.
Cook the thokku on a low flame simmering till the oil leaves the sides of the pan and the mixture cooks down to a thick consistency. Mix the thokku with plain cooked rice or spread it over toast and sandwich or roll it up in chapatti or roti or use it as a dip.
Tip: Cut celery into very small pieces which would take less time to fry. Do experiment using other souring agents like mango, vinegar, lemon juice in place of tamarind.
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Celery is one of the very common and effective plant that help in curing various health disorders. The green leaves, stem and the bulbous root of celery are all extremely rich and makes it a very important medicinal plant. The presence of the essential oils makes celery special. It contains balanced minerals, vitamins and nutrients and its oil has strong smell due to concentrations of plant hormones.
Celery is also used in aromatherapy and other traditional way of healing like Ayurveda. The whole plant is said to be gently stimulating and nourishing, it also acts as a digestive remedy and liver stimulant. A tincture can be used as a diuretic in hypertension and urinary disorders.