Sunday, November 09, 2008

Chutneys, and more chutneys

Dear foodies,

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:
  • 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 taste
  • Peanuts, Tamarind, coriander leaves (optional)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Method:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
Check my remixed version here!
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.

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 ?

22 thoughts:

Soma said...

Chutney with rind?? real innovative. I remember my grandma would throw nothing & use up peels of any veg creating something soo good with them. Next time my watermelon greens are not going in the trash:-D.

I do a lot of roasted red pepper, poblano peppers, tomato... mango green.. can't think of anything else. not very creative huh?

Kalai said...

Yummy chutneys, Priya!! I've heard of cooking with watermelon rind, but never tried making chutney with it. Sounds great!!

I've used ridgegourd and/or its peels, eggplants, red bell peppers, chayote, tomatoes, onions, garlic, carrots for chutneys. I also adore chutney in its various avatars! :)

Vaishali said...

The chutneys look beautiful, Priya. I love that unusual watermelon one, and would love to try it.

Nirmala said...

Amma makes a curry with the watermelon rind. It tastes very nice. This chutney is must try. Waiting for the season to comein. We used to make chutneys out of all keerai (greens). Have blogged about a couple of them too.

Anonymous said...

Saute chopped cabbage leaves and make chutney just like kobbari pachchadi to serve with rice.....yummy.

anudivya said...

Nice array of chutneys... who wouldn't like to have a bowl of that!

Ramya said...

Watermelon chutney... Tats cool. Would like to invite you for a coffee at My blog
Pls join me :)

indosungod said...

I have a bunch of green tomatoes sitting around after the frost set in and the plant died, short of adding them to sambhar I have not done much with them. Will try the chutney next.

rads said...

arey wah! Rind chutney! This is innovative and adaptation to the core.

Goody :)

Priya said...



Soma, the rind is mostly water, and does not have much of its own taste, so it works well with the chutney spices, similar to how a chayote squash is.

Poblano peppers sounds good, I'm yet to try cooking with the different peppers we get here.

Kalai, do try it out next time, Nirmala also mentioned a curry with them. The next watermelon is going to get used up pretty well :) I have to try the carrots soon, and garlic too!

Vaishali, the rind is such a nice base for the crunchy dals and chillies, give it a try when you bring in a melon next.

Nirmala, I'm going to try the curry next time, must be similar to a chow chow poriyal I think. But I find that the melon remains crunchy cos of its high water content even when cooked, unlike chow-chow which softens. Will chk the keerai recipes, never tried them in a chutney.

Priya said...



Anon, I've never tried using cabbage in a chutney, will surely give it a try soon,it will also save me from having to chop it uniformly for a curry :))

Anu, yes, chutneys are simple, versatile and soo easy to make, now who can resist such a combo!

Ramya, coffee? sure, anytime :D

ISG, you must try a chutney with them, they are my fav! I was so thrilled to see a few green tomatoes in the store when my mom was here. We immediately bought a bunch of them to make this chutney. Add peanuts to the basic tadka for them.

Rads, thank you thank you :">

Divya Vikram said...

Nice versatile recipe.Lovely pics.

Mike de Chicago said...

Hello Priya.

I have a very naive question. I'm not Indian, and I love Indian food, and I try to cook it. I shy away from recipes that call for "green peppers," since I don't know what kind of peppers they mean. The first time I tried such a recipe--let's say it called for two green peppers--I put in the two largest jalapenos I could find at the market. Having tasted it, I don't think this is what they had in mind.

Anyhow, please let me know. It's OK with me if you chortle at my cluelessness (I mean, I sometimes chortle at my own cluelessness), but if you could help me out on this I'd appreciate it.

Thanks,
Mike

veggie belly said...

watermelon?! how clever! ive never come across this before, this recipe is absolutely unique!

Deepa said...

I found your site accidentally while searching for a quiz query. I found it very impressive and I added it to my fav list so that I can get back to your site whenever I feel like it. It's very impressive and innovative. I'll surely try to make that watermelon chutney of yours...
Keep up the good work.
Cheers!

Ramya said...

i don't qualify to even comment here (that's how bad my cooking is)..but one of friends made zucchini thogayal once and i loved it and i have been making it ever since.. you ever tried it??:)

Priya said...


Mike, sorry for the really delayed response. In my recipe here, I used red bell peppers, but I cannot be sure of what the other recipes meant.
In India, its red/green chillies for jalapenos (etc..) and capsicum for bell peppers. We don't really use the term 'peppers' to describe any of these, and it's a usage I picked up after I came to the US. So there could be a mix up of names and its highly subjective, cannot tell you what was meant without looking at the recipe first :)

Sala, let me know if you try it :)

Deepa, thank you soo much for dropping by and for the compliment :) I am glad you liked the site and I hope you drop by often :)

Ramya, Welcome! Never tried zucchini thogayal, how do you make it ? And none of the 'bad cook' comments here, I have heard good things about your cooking :)

pelicano said...

You know, I bet there be many nutrients in them there rinds! I've pickled them already (vinegar, lots of sugar, a few spices- a southern US thing), and actually I once heard of a watermelon peel chatni, but never heard of one like this, and honestly I've always liked this crispy pale part...but this is cooked, eh? Hmmm. Might be good. ;-) I wonder if a raw salsa/fresh chatni could also be made?

Ramya said...

Pls check out YAAT post at my blog!
I have something for you...

Sunshinemom said...

Absolutely lovely collection of chutneys!!

Ramya said...

lol!:) never trust a liar:) shall send you my recipe!:)

Sia said...

i finished last batch of water melon rinds in making dosas. but gonna make fresh batch of chutney next time i bring them. lovely, lovely pics priya :)

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