Chutneys are one of my most favorite condiments in a meal and also one of the things I rarely seem to make! They can be spicy, tangy, nutty and just the perfect accompaniment to a multitude of dishes. From adorning your breakfast plates, to being part of a rice meal, chutneys are a delight to have enhancing the entire experience and sometimes spicing up an otherwise bland dish as well (idli or rice for instance). There is always a chutney/pachadi/thogayal served as part of a festive full course meal and it has its spot reserved on the banana leaf. They are also the answer to that lone vegetable sitting on your counter which will no be enough for a curry, but as a chutney, its just right.
I am at a loss over here though, since I only see cauliflowers, capsicum, cabbage, carrots, broccoli, beans at the stores and these are not typical chutney'able veggies, not in my mind. Ripe tomatoes are a favorite, but it takes a lot of time for it to cook down to a chutney. So you are forced to get creative and innovative with the veggies you find here - Like this one that uses the light green portions of a watermelon,
Ingredients:The ingredients listed between the two lines can be considered a standard set and just by substituting the melon peel for a another veggie you can create a new chutney.
- 3 cups - roughly cubed light green portion of watermelon, with the hard green exterior and red pulp carefully separated~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
- 1 tsp - Mustard seeds
- 1 tsp - Cumin seeds
- 1 Tbsp - Chana dal
- 1 Tbsp - Urad dal
- 3 nos - Dried red chillies
- 2 nos - Green chilies
- 1 Tbsp - Oil
- a pinch of asafoetida
- Salt to tastePeanuts, Tamarind, coriander leaves (optional)
Check my remixed version here!
- Heat oil in a cast iron pan, pop the mustard and cumin seeds, add the dals next and roast. As they start turning orange add the chillies and toast. Remove from heat when the dals turn a deep orange, add asafoetida and empty them to a plate, allowing them to cool.
- To the same pan add the cubed melon skin and roast for 5-7 mins until it looses part of its moisture and starts to brown a little. Turn off the heat and cool to room temperature.
- Pulse all the ingredients together in the blender, the melon peel will still have some water left in it so decide as you go on the amount of water needed to get the consistency you desire in the chutney. I prefer it slightly on the coarser side.
Roast diced red bell peppers instead, until they char a little, skip the green chillies and add a couple of pieces of tamarind to make a mildly spicy, sweet and tangy chutney that will impress your taste-buds.
Using red tomatoes for a chutney is usual, but saute some chopped raw green tomatoes, add a few roasted peanuts, coriander leaves and you have yet another tantalizing chutney. Add some cubed onions while sauteing the tomatoes for a variation.
Chow chow or banglore vankaya, ridge gourd ( and its peels), roasted eggplant are other sought after chutney vegetables that come to my mind. Here are other chutneys I've made. Help me add to this list, how do you make your chutney ? Any veggies that you give an interesting spin too ?