After my tryst with mint in the lovely risotto, I thought it was time I gave mint another chance. I do stock some mint in my freezer but rarely use it. Last Friday, I went grocery shopping and saw a nice fresh bunch of mint for $2. The first thing that came to my mind was the chutney my mom makes with fresh pudina. My father enjoys it mixed with plain rice, but that was too strong for me and I liked it the best as a spread in the sandwiches he makes. He made these lovely sandwiches, which had the pudina chutney spread on buttered milk bread (not toasted) and layered with cool cucumber and tomato slices. No sandwich can ever compete with the simplicity of this one.
Have you guys tried the Mediterranean veggie sandwich at Panera bread ? It tastes soo close to this sandwich and is my fav for the very same reason.
So as soon as I came home, I called my mom to ask for her recipe and made the pudina chutney. The chutney takes a little over 10 mins to make but I spent a good 15 mins washing the leaves itself. I got the mint at an organic store and there were tiny insects behind the bigger leaves...eeks, that totally scared me and I filled up the whole sink with water, let the leaves float in it for a while, and individually scrubbed each leaf! Thank God the bunch was not as big as the ones we got in Hyd :))
Ingredients:Thats it, you have a versatile dish in your hands now. Mix the chutney with hot plain rice along with a tiny dollop of ghee or drizzle of oil, spread it on your bread for a flavorful sandwich, add to a cup of thick yoghurt and use as a dip for chapathi's & dosa or even veggies/chips , use it in chat recipes like bhel puri, sev puri, pani puri...ohh, the list is endless.
- a bunch of pudina/mint - approx 2 loose cups
- 2 tsp - Oil
- 1 tsp - Urad dal
- 1 tsp - Channa dal
- 2 nos - dry, Red chillies (adjust to taste)
- tamarind, the size of a 25cent/50paise coin or ~1/2 tsp if using extract
- Salt to taste
- 1-2 Tbsp - water
- Wash the mint leaves and drain them on a kitchen towel. Heat a pan with oil, once hot add the dals. ( I use the broken urad dal, and so add it a little after the channa dal, else it burns)
- Once the dals turn a little golden, reduce the heat and add the tamarind and red chillies. Once the chillies change color, transfer all the ingredients to the grinder.
- To the same pan (with oil) add the mint leaves and saute for 2-3mins till they wilt. Transfer to the blender and grind to a coarse texture adding water as required. Don't overdo the water or the chutney will not hold together. (I have a tiny food processor, so I first used my spice grinder to coarsely powder the dals and then transfered them to the food processor with the pudina). Add salt to taste.
After publishing this post I saw the chutney in the fridge and made an instant bhel with what I had at home. I mixed murmura/puffed rice with chopped onions, diluted chutney, hot n sweet ketchup, a few dashes of tobasco and mango pickle masala. Topped with some Namkeen mix and a quick snack was ready. In an ideal situation I would've added diced tomatoes, cucumber and peanuts with lots of cilantro.
To me the slight tang from the tamarind and the crunchy dals were a perfect balance for the strong mint flavor. You can also use all cilantro/coriander leaves or a mix of cilantro & mint for this recipe. Do you have a another version of this chutney you love ?