Category Archives: chutney

Sweet and Sour Ginger Chutney

Raw ginger has a very pungent flavor. It needs to be tempered with tamarind juice and jaggery (or brown sugar) to make it palatable.

This is my first attempt to make this chutney. Contrary to the Sweet and Sour Ginger Pickle, I posted a few weeks ago, this one is easy, short lived and goes well with vada. It is a very typical Andhra dish that is served during events such as weddings, funerals and other events. It is very often served with plain vada. Not to say  it can’t be served with other vada types.
vada

Ingredients:

2-4 in of ginger stalk, peeled and chopped
1/2-2/3 cup tamarind sauce
3-4 tbsp brown sugar or 1-2 cubes jaggary

Tempering:

1 tbsp oil
1 tsp urad dal
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1-2 dry red chillies
dash of tumeric
dash of asaphoetida
a few curry leaves

I previously provided a recipe for the Sweet and Sour Ginger Pickle that can last months and years. Contrary to that, this is a short lived recipe, that is quick to make and lasts up to a week.

Add the chopped ginger to a blender, along with tamarind juice and jaggery and blend till smooth. Adjust tamarind juice and sugar to personal preference. Transfer to a bowl. Season with salt.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan. Add turmeric, asaphoetida, urad dal, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and dry red chilli. Fry till lightly golden. Add some curry leaves and leave for another minute.

Transfer to the bowl containing the ginger paste. Mix well. Adjust tamarind juice, sweetness, and salt.

Serve with some fresh vada!

Note: You can make a roasted sesame chutney, by replacing the ginger with roasted sesame which is another traditional chutney that is served at events.

Spicy Kale and Pea Uttapam

It is March. St Paddy’s Day. Believe it or not, a snow day in the Mid-Atlantic!

w1I had ample free time, and some left over Idli batter to play with, and green was in my mind ūüôā

w4Ingredients
2-3 tbsp Idli batter
1/4 white or yellow onion chopped fine
a handful of frozen green peas rinsed
a handful of organic Tuscan kale chopped fine
1 green jalapeno chopped fine
a few sprigs of green cilantro chopped fine
4-6 cherry tomatoes sliced (optional)…. I love a colorful palate ūüôā

Mix all ingredients. Add water as needed to lighten the batter.

w2Place a flat  non-stick pan on the stove on medium heat. Add 1 tbsp oil to grease the pan. Add the mixed batter and spread evenly with a spoon. Add additional oil as needed. Cover with a plate and cook until the side is lightly browned.

w3Flip and cook the other side until lightly golden, adding oil as needed,

w5Serve warm with chutney. Can be eaten stand alone or serve with a chutney such as peanut, coconut or mango. Or sweet ginger pickle my favorite!

w4Use any Idli batter: With brown rice or with the usual idli rava. Since I first made brown rice Idli batter, I rarely make any other. It’s healthy and good for you. Try it!

See Also:
Uttappam
Brown Rice with Cabbage Uttappam
Brown Rice Brussels Sprouts Uttappam
Brown Rice and Whole Black Gram Uttappam

Green Mango and Coconut Chutney

It has been a dreary Saturday with rain on and off and grey skies. Times such as those, it is comforting to stay indoors, tucked away with good books to read, a warm cup of tea or coffee and endearing comfort food.

South Indian chutneys are made following a very similar recipe. The same recipe works great with mango only, coconut only or a combination of the two. Any coconut chutney is best with fresh coconut kernel. But breaking a coconut shell and extracting the kernel can be a cumbersome process. The next best, is to use frozen coconut.

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Ingredients:
1 green mango
1 cup grated or chopped coconut
1 cube jaggary or 1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp urad dal
8-10 dry red chillies
a few curry leaves
1 jalapeno (optional)
some cilantro
touch of turmeric
touch of asafoetida
salt to taste

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Heat the oil in a pan. Add turmeric and asafoetida. Add cumin and mustard seeds, toor dal and red chillies and fry till lightly brown. Add curry leaves and fry for a few more seconds. Set aside.

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Peel the mango and chop into pieces. If using fresh coconut, cut and extract the coconut and chop into pieces. Add mango, coconut, jalapeno, cilantro, jaggary (or sugar) and red chillies and process in a food processor with a little water until blended into a smooth mixture.

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Remove from food processor. Add salt and mix well. Add the fried cumin, mustard and urad dal and mix well. Garnish with some chopped cilantro and serve with some warm rice or roti or dosa.

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Eggplant Chutney South Indian Style

This was a constant in my home. You can stick a well greased eggplant on a gas burning stove. I have done this before. Of course my mother loved to roast the eggplant stove top. She even gave me a mesh frame to roast the eggplant. But with six highly sensitive smoke alarms, all hard-wired and interconnected, waiting to set-off any moment, I am less inclined to roast the eggplant stove top. Even a little smoke can set off my smoke alarms. Instead, I prefer to use my oven very, very carefully, with doors and windows open, and with exhaust running high.

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Ingredients:
1 large eggplant or 2 small japanese eggplant
some tamarind juice

Seasoning
1 tsp channa dal
1 tsp ural dal
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1-2 dry red chilli
1 jalapeno
some tamarind juice
a few curry leaves
some chopped cilantro
salt to taste
sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Wash eggplant, dry and lightly grease with some olive oil. Bake in the over for about 45 minutes. Periodically rotate the eggplant to enable even roasting.

Cool the roasted eggplant. Peel and extract the pulp. Mash with a spatula.

Meanwhile heat 1 tbsp oil in  a pan. Add turmeric, asafoetida, channa dal, urad dal, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and dry red chillies. Fry for a minute or two till golden. Add curry leaves and sliced jalapeno and fry for another minute. Add to the roasted eggplant pulp.

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Add 1-2 tbsp thick tamarind juice. Add salt to taste and chopped cilantro and mix well. Can add some sugar (optional). Serve with some warm rice. Enjoy!

Healthy Instant Whole Wheat Dosa

Continuing my healthy dosa series this is another variation that is faster than the Brown Rice Buttermilk Pancake Dosa I posted a while ago. Typically these are made with white flour (or maida).

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Ingredients:
1 cup brown rice flour (usually white rice flour is used)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (usually white all purpose flour or maida is used)
3/4 cup yogurt
salt to taste
some water
some chopped onion (optional)
some chopped (cilantro)
some chopped jalapeno (optional)

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Mix the  brown rice flour, whole wheat flour, salt, yogurt and water. The consistency should be sufficient to make a dosa or crepe. Set aside for 30 minutes.

When ready to make the dosa, heat a flat pan. Grease lightly with oil or cooking spray.

Spread out 2-3 tbsp of dosa batter into a thin crepe. Sprinkle some onion, cilantro and jalapeno. Add 1-2 tsp oil and cook till lightly golden. Flip and cook with some oil as needed.

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Serve hot stand-alone or with some pickle (coconut, tomato or ginger)

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Healthy Rava Dosa with Brown Rice Flour

Continuing in my dosa series next up is Rava Dosa. The crisp and crunchy dosa variety is another very popular south Indian breakfast item. Traditionally it is made with Sooji (Cream of wheat), rice flour and maida (all purpose flour). In this healthier version, I have recreated the rava dosa, using brown rice flour and whole wheat flour.

If you are waking up on a Sunday morning and wondering what easy, fast and delicious breakfast you can make then look no further. Provided of course you have the ingredients at hand. With 30 minutes preparation time and as little as  three ingredients this is one healthy breakfast to jumpstart a slow Sunday.

Ingredients:
1 cup Sooji (cream of wheat)
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 medium onion chopped
1-2 jalapenos chopped fine (optional)
some coriander chopped

Mix all three flour ingredients in a large bowl in approximately 2 cups of water. Use water as needed to make batter that is smooth flowing. Add salt and mix well. Set aside for 30 minutes.

When ready to make the rava dosas, heat a flat pan on medium flame. Grease well with a little oil. Mix in cilantro, onions and jalapeno into the batter. When the pan is sufficiently hot, pour batter onto the pan from a few inches above. Don’t use a spatula or spoon to even out the batter. Don’t worry about the shape of this one. This dosa is usually full of holes and comes out crispy and crunchy.The more holes the more crispy and crunchier the dosa. ¬†Add 1-2 tsp oil around the edges and cook until golden brown. Flip and cook other side adding oil as needed until cooked.

This is so good, you will want to eat the hot rava dosa straight out of the pan!

It can be eaten as is or you can serve it hot with chutney (see Tomato, coconut or peanut) and sambhar on the side.

Super easy tomato chutney

Chutneys are very popular in India and you can make one with almost any vegetable. Tomatoes are so refreshingly tasty that you can add them to any recipe and not mess it up. See my Variation on Red Pepper Chutney. This version of the tomato chutney is not only  easy and fun to make but tasty as well.

Ingredients:
3-4 medium tomatoes
1 jalapeno
some cilantro
1-2 tsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
touch of turmeric
pinch of asafoetida
salt to taste

Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan. Add turmeric and asafoetida. Add chopped tomatoes and cook on medium until all the moisture evaporates. Tomatoes should be pretty mushy. Remove from flame and cool.

Meanwhile heat 1 tsp oil and fry the cumin, mustard and fenugreek seeds till lightly brown.

There are multiple alternatives to this chutney at this point:

  1. You can add salt and some red chilli powder to the cooked tomatoes and mix well and add the seasoning, garnish with some chopped cilantro and be done.
  2. For a smooth chutney you can blend the tomato with the jalapeno and cilantro, add salt and seasoning and be done.

Done either way tomato chutney is delicious and can be enjoyed with rice, roti, dosa and any number of ways!

Brown Rice Buttermilk Pancakes (Challa Attulu)

Dosas are an extremely popular south Indian fare. Varieties abound: made from scratch to instant. Each distinctive, filled with different blend of flavors, spices, nutritional value and taste.

The most common is the plain dosa made from a batter of white rice and urad dal (split de-husked black gram).You can check out a healthier alternative to it made with brown rice instead here.

Utilizing a mix of some rarely used grains such as ragi and other healthy ingredients such as oats, soya and rice flour , all soaked in yogurt produces  some delicious Ragi dosas.

Uttapam is a kind of thicker dosa made from idli batter. A healthier version of this can be made with idli batter made from  brown rice and urad dal. See my brown rice Uttapam recipe here.

Following my exploration with brown rice, here is the 4th dosa variety in the series.

Ingredients:
2 cups brown rice
1 cup pressed rice (poha)
1-2 tsp mustard seeds
1-2 cups buttermilk
salt to taste

Soak all ingredients in buttermilk for 6-8 hours. Blend in a grinder until smooth batter forms of the consistency sufficient to make dosas. Not as thick as idli but similar to making pancakes. Add salt to taste and mix well. Cover and set aside for 10-12 hours.

To make the dosa, heat a flat pan or griddle on medium flame. Add some oil to grease the pan. Add 2-3 tbsp of batter. Do not spread with spoon, but lightly tilt pan to evenly layout the batter in a circle. Add more oil as necessary and cook until it is golden.

Once one side is cooked, flip with a laddle and cook the other side. Add oil as necessary. It might be little sticky when you flip but don’t worry about it. Usually once it is fully golden it should be easy to flip it.

Serve hot with chutney. You can use peanut or coconut chutney. But my favorite is this south Indian gem. Since no south Indian home is devoid of mango pickle (magayi). This is a fairyly easy and quick way to make a chutney for dosas.

Chutney Ingredients:
1 cup Magayi
1-2 jalapenos
some cilantro
1 cup yogurt (use more if necessary)
1/2 chopped onion (optional)

Blend magayi with cilantro and jalapeno. Transfer to a bowl. Add yogurt and onion and mix well before serving with dosa. Enjoy with a cup of hot tea or coffee.

Tasty! Next time I think I will use brown pressed rice if I can find it.

Don’t throw that skin away

There are some vegetables out there that are refreshing, tasty and exude flavors both inside and outside. You peel and chop them, toss them in your cooking and the final product smells and tastes delicious. The vegetable stands out among the rest of the ingredients. You bite into it and you feel the warmth of it.

While there are many such vegetables, the one I am talking about here is bottle gourd (aka long melon or oko squash). It is a versatile vegetable, one that has many uses in cooking. Boil, season and sprinkle some coconut or sesame powder or mustard powder. Cook in milk with some sugar and season. Toss in dal or cook in curd or green leafy vegetable or make sweet curry like stew with mixed vegetables and many more.

Growing up I watched my mother do this often. It’s interesting how it all comes back to you when you start to cook. Most of my South Indian cooking is based on what I watched my mother do. So patiently peeling this, chopping that and especially the laborious task of chopping and making pickles, plucking leaves from stalks of sorrel leaves and so much more. All that seemed so cumbersome and difficult then. But the end product always delicious. Cooking was a labor of love for my mother. But most of her recipes are etched in her brain. Now I cling to those ¬†memories of when I watched her cook, as I try to cook as close to the tastes and flavors I can remember.

Each time I cook bottle gourd I end up making three different dishes. I peel and chop the bottle gourd into 1-2in squares and toss them into samhbhar, sweet pulusu (curry like stew) or challa pulusu (yogurt based stew). I chop it into smaller pieces and cook with yellow gram (pesara pappu) or with coconut or sesame.¬†And those nice, green skin that I peel? Well don’t throw them out yet. ¬†I wash and dry them out in paper towels and make chutney with it. ¬†Here’s how I make mine based on the recollection I have of how my mother makes it:

Ingredients:
Peel of 1 bottle gourd
1 tsp tamarind paste
a little jaggery or sugar
salt to taste
1 jalapeno (optional)
cilantro

Seasoning:
4-6 red chili
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black gram (urad dal)
pinch of turmeric
pinch of asafoetida
1-2 tbsp olive oil

Heat one table spoon oil in a pan and fry the seasoning ingredients till lightly brown. Remove from pan and set aside.

In the same pan, add more oil. Add the peeled bottle gourd skin and salt and fry in medium low flame till cooked and turns slightly brownish. Remove from pan and transfer to a blender. Add the fried whole red chilli, tamarind and jaggery. Add jalapeno and cilantro and blend with a little water to a smooth paste.

Transfer from blender to a bowl and mix the rest of the seasoning ingredients. Stays upto a week or 10 days in the refrigerator. Can be used as side with Roti or eaten with rice.

Brown Rice Uttapam with Cabbage

When I visited my friend Anu in Chicago last time, she made this for breakfast. Seeing her toss cabbage into batter and make uttapams I was surprised. “Really, cabbage in uttapam?” I asked her. I wouldn’t have thought of doing that. But it was excellent! Especially with the simple, fast chutney she made. Roasted peanuts, garlic, whole red chilli and tamarind ground with some water. No seasoning. No need to turn on the stove. That too was tasty and excellent.

Cabbage is such a bland vegetable that I am always at a loss on how best to create something exciting with it. The one or two recipes I commonly use cabbage in long exhausted, these days I rarely buy cabbage when I go grocery shopping. So it was a pleasant change to find a refreshing new use for cabbage.

Continuing my resolve for healthy eating and fitness (see Spinach on my mind), I decided to make brown rice uttapam for brunch for the weekend. To see the recipe for making the batter see my posting on brown rice idli here. Uttapam is a traditional South Indian breakfast and different people use different batter and ingredients in different ratios. I have evolved my recipe based on what works for my palate. For the traditional recipe I use to make idli/uttapam batter check here.

To make batter from scratch requires planning and preparation. Rice and dal need to be soaked at least for 8 hrs before blending into almost smooth batter. Then another 8-12 hrs or longer for proper fermentation. But once that is done, you can use the batter to make different dishes. The batter can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Here is the chutney recipe I used. Since I was short on peanuts, I ended up using 1/2 cup peanuts with some coconut and roasted dal. You can never go wrong with these ingredients. It was scrumptious!

Chutney:
1 cup roasted peanuts
5-6 dry red chilli
2-3 garlic cloves
some tamarind paste or fresh
cliantro (optional)
1 green jalapeno (optional)
salt to taste

Toss all in a blender and add some water and blend to a smooth paste. Alternately you can also add coconut, roasted sesame seeds, cashews, and/or roasted dal. Any combination of these can also be used. Always adjust spices and salt for personal preference.