Ma’s tomato-onion chutney

You need: 1 big onion, finely chopped; 1 lb tomatoes, finely chopped; 1 bunch cilantro; chopped; salt to taste; oil; 2-3 curry leaves, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds

How to: Heat some oil. Add onions, cook for 4-5 minutes. Add the cilantro, stir, cook for another 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and salt, stir well, and cook till it forms a thick paste. If you want it spicy, add some red chili powder at this point. Add a little water and cook some more, letting it reduce again to chutney consistency.

You can either blend it in a food processor once it cools, or leave it chunky.

Final step: heat 1 tsp oil,add mustard seeds and curry leaves. When it sputters, add to the chutney and mix in.

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Cilantro (dhania) chutney that bites!

I thought I had already posted about this, but apparently I didn’t. We made this for a party, as dip, and it was good, though very spicy.

You need: 4 cups cilantro, (or two big bunches); 1 tbsp lemon juice; salt to taste; 2 cloves garlic, peeled; 1 habanero pepper (or how many ever of whichever chili peppers you like).

How to: coarsely chop the cilantro, pepper, and garlic, and throw everything (except the lemon juice) into a food processor. Blend well, adding a little water if necessary. Pour into a bowl add the lemon juice, and stir. It will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Coconut chutney

idli-chutney.jpg

As far as the idlis go, I was supremely lazy and used MTR’s most excellent instant idli mix. A few changes: I used buttermilk instead of water or yogurt, and added some ginger paste to the mix. I had to thin the batter down a bit with water, though, because the buttermilk left it too thick.

Coconut chutney

My mom’s recipe. Ma, if you’re reading this, you rock, and the chutney was incredibly tasty. And so, so simple.
You need: 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut; 2 green chilies (jalape├▒os, serrano, whatever you like – add1 if you don’t want it too spicy); salt to taste.

How to: If the coconut is the dessicated variety you get in the bulk foods section of Whole Foods-like stores, put it in a bowl, add 1/2 cup of water, and zap it for a minute. Mix well. If you’re using fresh, you’re less lazy than I am, congratulations ­čÖé

Chop the green chilies and throw in a food processor with the coconut and salt and some water, if necessary. Add the water a little bit at a time, and mix well before you add any more. Coconut chutney is deceptive, and you’ll suddenly have too much water if you’re not careful. Blend well.

Heat a little oil, and drop in some mustard seeds and some shredded curry leaves. Let them splutter and add it to the chutney. Mix well.

Refrigerate. It should keep for 2-3 days in the fridge.

Oh, and by the way, I used a microwaveable idli steamer, which I think you can get online, though I bought mine in a dinky but darling store in Sarojini Nagar in Delhi. I have, previously, used little microwaveable bowls and put them in a plate with a little water and zapped them for five minutes. This does work much better, though. The tomatoes and curry leaves I put into the steamer’s batter bowls before I poured the batter in. I’ve seen this in udipi-type places back home, thought I’d try it. Looks pretty. I might try other things next time, cashews, cilantro, maybe even be brave enough to try to make rava idli from scratch!

Mango-plum chutney

I made this much the same way I made strawberry sauce and blueberry chutney, with a few minor differences.

You need: 1 sweet mango; 3 ripe plums; 2 tbsp brown sugar, 1/2 a small white onion; 1 tsp ground cinnamon; 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

How to: put everything in a pan, add 1 cup water, mix well, and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. Let it cool, and pour it into a clean, dry glass jar. Refrigerate. It should stay good for about 3-4 days. You could also freeze it, I think. I’m trying that, so if it doesn’t work I’ll let you know.

I envision this as a dip, like the ones you get with egg rolls, or as a substitute for jam, or over ice-cream, or really, whatever you feel will be good. If you find a particularly good combination, do let me know.

September 3, 2007: I ate this this morning over toast, instead of jam. It’s really, really good, if I may say so myself. It was okay over toast, I still think it would work best as a dipping sauce. It was tangy and spicy, and I think better warm than cold, but that’s a matter of preference. Oh, and by the way, I left it in the freezer up until today, with no ill effects.

Ma’s onion-peanut chutney

My mum’s recipe. Bloody brilliant with dosas, but I can’t make those. Tastes good with toast, or by itself. Of course, you have to like onions.

You need: 1 cup onion; 1/3 cup roasted peanuts; 1-2 dried red chilies (I’d say 1 if you have a sensitive palate); 1-2 shredded curry leaves (kadipatta); salt to taste

How to: Sautee onions and chilies. Add kadipatta and let it cook a minute or so. Take off heat, let it cool a bit, then add peanuts and salt and grind. If needed, add a bit of water when grinding. It should have the consistency of paste or pudding.

Lasts about two days refrigerated.

Baked Brie with Blueberry Chutney

I explored this avenue when I wanted to eat cheese and a sweet chutney, and all I had was Brie and blueberries.

The Brie: cut off the top rind, place it on foil. pull the foil up around the wedge so the cheese doesn’t have too much place to run when it melts. Brush some butter on the top, sprinkle some pecans, walnuts, almonds, set it in a pan and put it in the oven at 350 F for ten minutes.

The chutney: Place one packet of frozen blueberries or the equivalent fresh (no idea how much that is in weight, check the bag), 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 1/4 cup finely chopped onion in a pan. Bring to a boil and let it simmer. Here’s the key: don’t add water. I did, and I had to wait for it to reduce. Very dull it was, too.

Plate the cheese and ladle some chutney on top.

In any case, here’s a link to a fancy recipe for blueberry chutney that looks promising.

An experiment for dinner

So I was wondering what to do about dinner. The Other Half seems to want tacos, which means I’m on my own and so I decided to experiment. The OH was baking bread (sourdough from scratch). He’s super good at it now. Anyway. What goes well with bread?
When I was a kid, every time my big sis and her friends had a party, chutney sandwiches were on the menu. I used to eat them as fast as they made them. While this did not make me very popular with my sister and her friends, it’s left me with a lasting, nostalgic love for chutney sandwiches.
So chutney sandwiches it was, along with the desire to experiment. I had avocados, peanuts, and cilantro as my non-mundane ingredients. So I:
1. Threw a handful of Planter’s dry roasted peanuts, some crushed red pepper, salt, a bunch of cilantro, and a little water into the food processor. And some lemon juice.
2. Mashed up an avocado and mixed it with the aforementioned blend.
I was a bit nervous, but it came out okay. I confess I prefer the old-fashioned dhania-pudina sandwiches (cilantro-mint), but it’s not too bad. Suggestions for tweaking it are welcome.
The bread has just left the oven and it looks fabulous. Bread, butter, and chutney. It’s all good.
In other news I am reading up about hydroponics. I have grand plans to try to grow hydroponic tomatoes. More on that later.