Clean and remove the stems from 1/2 bunch of pudhina (mint) and wash the leaves thoroughly, at least three times till all dirt washes off. Drain and keep aside to dry on a paper towel.
Heat a pan with 1 tsp of oil. Put in 2 tsp of urad dal. When it is golden brown, add 1 whole red chilli (more chillis if you like the chutney hotter) and 2 pinches of hing and stir once quickly. Put in the drained pudhina leaves and saute for a few minutes. Add a marble sized ball of tamarind (and 1 tbsp grated coocnut , if available) and stir once. Take it off the heat and cool it.
Grind it in the mixie to a fine paste with salt to taste and 1/4 cup of water. (Above picture)
This is the basic recipe for most of the vegetable chutneys and thugaiyals. Substitute coriander leaves or curry leaves for 'kothamalli chutney' and 'karuveppilai chutney'. If it is ground to a thick paste, it is called 'thugaiyal' or 'thuvaiyal'. Thuvaiyal is served as side dish for varitey rice and curd rice and can be prepared in a few minutes.
You make it into a chutney by adding water to make it into a thick pouring consistency. You can serve chutneys as a side dish for dosais, idlis, vadai and even rotis. Optionally, you can season chutneys, before serving, with 1/2 tsp of mustard, 1/2 tsp of urad dal and a few curry leaves spluttered in a tsp of hot oil.