Monday, August 25, 2008

Instant Chutneys

A "chutney" is something of a semi-spicy, semi-tangy Indian dip.

When I was a kid, growing up in Bangalore and Pondicherry (in the States of Karnataka and in the vicinity of Tamil Nadu respectively), a chutney was basically made with fresh grated coconut.

Simple Coconut Chutney

Blend one cup of freshly grated coconut until properly pulverised.
Heat a wee bit of oil (about one teaspoon) and add to it a quarter teaspoon of black mustard seeds. When these have fully spluttered, add one dried red chili, a quarter teaspoon each of channa dal and split white urad dal. Go easy with the fire so that nothing burns. Lastly, add a few curry leaves.
Pour it on the ground coconut and add salt to taste.

There are many variations on this.

When, at the raw age of 20, I met the love of my life, who is from Kerala, he introduced me to chutneys made with shallots.

Uli Chutney

Some 4-5 shallots
Half a tomato
1 dried red chilli
About one teaspoon of coconut oil.

Heat most of the oil and saute, one by one, the chili, shallots and tomato.
Blend them well in a grinder and add salt to taste. Drizzle some coconut oil just before serving.

And this is what we have been whipping up over the more than twenty odd years that we've been man and wife.

Somewhere along the way the Love of my Life once told me of a friend who claimed that a chutney could be made with almost any left over.

And so it came about that, today, I opened the fridge and beheld a plate of leftover bits of spaghetti in some Prego sauce. It was laced with some stir fried zucchini, onions, green bell peppers, etc.

Chutney with Leftovers

1 cup leftover veggies (Do try anything else that takes your fancy)
1 or 2 dried red chillies
A teaspoon of coconut oil

Saute the chillies in a bit of oil until brown but not burnt.
Blitz with the left overs and drizzle with coconut oil before serving.

Serve with "idlis", "dosas", any type of Indian bread, rice, any type of bread, tortillas, enchiladas or anything else which comes to mind!

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