One thing I have realized since the time I have been blogging is that I would not make a good food blogger. The reason is simple. I forget to take pictures while cooking and whenever I go dining else where, I cannot resist the urge to jump on the food before taking pretty pictures of presentation. Most of the recipes that have been handed down from my mother do not come with standard measurements and have to be based on what you see and taste while cooking. so why another food post? – Blogging about food has been a good way to chronicle some of the recipes that I have learnt.
The word ‘Chutney’ or ‘chutnee’ (pronounced CHətnē ) refers to a condiment made of fruits or vegetables, usually savoury with some tangy flavours thrown in. The chutney is very often ground to a paste like consistency (a barring a few recipes that are chunky in texture). The chutney is usually tangier or spicier than the food itself since it is supposed to enhance the favours of plain dishes. Here are two of the chutney’s I have learnt from my mother-in-law as they happen to be my husband’s favourite condiments to go with idli’s or dosa. Whoever said ” the way to a man’s heart is through the stomach”, knew what she was talking about.
Shallots- a handful
Green chillies- to taste
Tomatoes- 2 medium sized, diced
Garlic -6-7 cloves
Mustard seed- 1/2 tsp.
salt to taste
Grind together the garlic cloves, green chillies, tomatoes and chopped shallots or mini onions (you can use onions if you want but choose the one that is not sweet) to a fine paste. Heat oil. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves. Add the tomato-garlic paste, salt and let it cook till the chutney thickens to a desired consistency.
You would know the taste is right when you can taste the tang from the tomatoes and a slight flavour of garlic. This chutney serves as a good marinade for chicken and will remain in the fridge for upto a week. I often use it as a base for curries when I am slightly pressed for time.
Ridge Gourd Chutney:
Ridge gourd or turai or beerakai is a common vegetable in India. You might know it as Luffa. yes , Luffa…the bathing loofah is made of this vegetable once dried. You may find different regional variations of the ridge-gourd chutney online but the recipe I have learnt only uses the outer skin of the vegetable.
One medium sized ridgegourd- peel the skin(or the first few millimetres with a paring knife)
salt to taste
mustard seeds and urad daal – 1/2 tsp.
tamarind- 2 marble sized (Soak in water and extract the pulp)
Let it cool and grind with the tamarind pulp. add the tamarind pulp in small portions , taste often to check that the sourness does not overpower the flavour. A good chutney would have a balance of spicy and tangy.
The remaining vegetable can be cut into chunks and used in sambhar or mixed vegetable preparations.