Sunday, April 1, 2012

Carrot Chutney

I grew up thinking that a chutney has to have coconut in it. Though nammamma made many different chutneys, invariably they all had coconut in it to some extent. It was a coconut chutney where coconut was the prime ingredient or a heerekayi sippe (ridge gourd peel) chutney which had a generous amount of coconut in it, you get the point :-). Coconut not only acted as taste enhancer in these recipes but also provided bulk or volume when you were feeding many people at every meal.

Switch to post marriage scenario, at my in-laws' we got coconuts home on special days like festivals, pooja, after offering it as prasadam, amma makes a sweet with grated coconut and jaggery and the coconut will be gone. I was newly married and working and amma very sweetly would cook for all of us, pack my lunch dabba every single day and my cooking was limited to weekends. I used to wistfully look at the coconut and think of all the other yummy possibilities with it :-). After a little bit, amma realized my fondness for coconut and she would keep aside the coconut for me to use when I got to the kitchen. I introduced my new family to the pleasures of coconut eating while I learnt the concept of making delicious chutneys and pachadis from amma.

Coming back to chutneys, I was opened up to a whole new world by amma. She makes such awesome chutneys with least expected ingredients all the way from vegetables to vegetable peels and nuts and greens and pickles made into chutneys. I learnt a plethora of chutneys from her and started challenging myself to make non-coconut chutneys. I constantly look for variations in chutneys to make meals interesting. You can try my chutney experiments with grapefruit here. Carrot chutney combines the sweetness of lightly cooked carrots with a hint of ginger and tamarind makes it a delicious accompaniment for rice, idli or dosa. It is very easy and quick to put together and makes a week day dinner colorful, healthy and tasty.
What do you need to make Carrot chutney? 
4 firm, fresh good size carrots - washed, peeled and grated to fill 2 cups
2 green chilies, cut into two pieces each
1 dry red chili
1 inch piece of ginger - washed, peeled and grated
1 inch piece of tamarind
1 Tsp salt (adjust to taste)
1 Tsp chana dal
6-8 methi/fenugreek seeds
2-3 sticks of cilantro (I use the stem also)
1 Tsp of cooking oil

For Vaggarane/seasoning:
1 Tsp cooking oil
1 pinch of asafoetida powder
1 dry red chili broken into 2 (optional)
1/2 Tsp mustard seeds
2-3 curry leaves (I didn't have it today)

How do you make Carrot Chutney?
  • In a wide pan, heat a Tsp of oil.
  • Add the chanadal and methi seeds and let it fry for a minute until you get the roasted aroma of methi seeds and the dal turns pink.
  • Add grated ginger, chilies and tamarind and mix it in the hot pan.
  • Add grated carrot, cilantro, salt and let it cook covered for 5 minutes with one in-between stir. 
  • When you see the carrots become soft, switch off and let it cool completely. 
  • Once the mixture has cooled, take it to the blender/mixer and grind with a couple of spoons of water as needed to turn your blender. Grind it to a smooth paste.
  • Prepare vaggarane - heat oil, add mustard and let it splutter, add asafoetida and curry leaves and switch off. 
  • Pour the vaggarane on top of the chutney and give it a mix, serve it with hot rice or dosa or idli. 
Tips: 
  • Let the carrot mixture cool completely before you grind it for best taste. 
  • Use as little water while grinding as needed just to keep the blender running smoothly.
  • Be conservative with chilies in this recipe as carrots do not take the spice very kindly.
  • Adding red chilies to seasoning is Amma's trick and is added for a purpose - if you like it spicy, you can break the fried crisp chili into the chutney while eating to make it hot.  

1 comment:

Padhu said...

Chutney with carrot sounds yummy!