Saturday, June 16, 2012

Tomato-mint chutney - A spicy relish

Chutney's are like a beautiful piece of jewelry or a pretty dress, they are decorations, embellishments to enhance a meal. Growing up, my chutney experience was limited but married into a Telugu family where chutneys or pachadis as they are called is a norm at every meal, I have broadened my horizon with chutneys. A traditional Andhra home meal is not complete without a chutney/pachadi. Some day, I will blog about thalis at home when I can get to such a well prepared fare :-) but until then it will be in bits and pieces.

Chutneys are two types - one you mix with rice which is slightly dry and spicy and the other you use as a dip or side dish with dose, idli, roti etc which is slightly runny in consistency. We had a stone grinder at home in Mysore and it was my favorite kitchen work to make chutneys in it, the fringe benefit was that I could keep tasting the chutney as I ground the ingredients. But the tasting was only allowed with nammamma's permission and was completely taboo on certain days:-), so I had to be sneaky. The best part of the chutney grinding in a stone grinder was if the rice was ready, amma would give me a couple spoons of rice to put into the grinder, scrape the chutney off, mix it with rice and take it onto a plate to slowly enjoy the fresh, spicy chutney anna(rice), Ah... that is a visit to heaven right there.

Today's chutney is an evolved recipe and is mainly an accompaniment to dose or idli. We love mint flavor at home and I make the popular pudina/mint chutney very often with coconut. I wanted to try something without coconut and also recreate a tomato chutney I had had at a restaurant. Resulting chutney is delicious, spicy and goes well with a variety of dishes. This has now become a family favorite.

What do you need to make tomato-mint chutney? 
3 medium sized tomatoes (use fleshy variety of tomato) chopped roughly
1 cup packed picked mint leaves
1 Tblsp chopped onions
Small piece of tamarind or 1/2 Tsp tamarind paste (see notes)
1 Tsp chana dal/kadle bele
3-4 black pepper corns
2-3 green chilies - slit lengthwise
1/2 Tsp crushed jaggery/brown sugar
1 Tsp salt (adjust to taste)
1 Tsp cooking oil

How do you make tomato-mint chutney?
  • Heat oil in a pan, add chana dal, pepper corns and green chilies. Fry for a minute until chana dal roasts and turns light pink. 
  • Add chopped onions and fry for a minute until it turns pink.
  • Add the mint leaves and give it a stir.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and continue to fry until tomatoes turn mushy and the leaves wilt completely - additional 3-5 minutes depending on the heat. 
  • Switch off the stove, add salt, jaggery and let the mixture cool completely. 
  • Take everything to your grinder/mixer and blend it to a smooth mixture. You will not need any water for this as tomato blends well. This chutney does not have a bright red color as tomato mixes with green mint.
  • Enjoy the spicy chutney with a hint of sweetness and loaded with mint flavor. We had ours with the water melon rind dose. 
  • Wait for the mixture to cool completely, if you grind when hot or warm, the taste changes. 
  • Adjust the chilies and black pepper to your taste, I like it more peppery than the chili heat. I added a piece of dry red chilies also this time.
  • You do not need tamarind if the tomatoes are sour, so adjust accordingly. 
  • Whenever using green chilies in frying, make sure you have cut it open (a slit or a chop), else you will have them popping over the place.  


NamsVeni Pothas said...

wow!!! tasty and mouth watering. three cheers Sattva.

Priya said...

Can have two more idlis with this yummy chutney.

Gayathri NG said...

Delicious cutney, looks so flavorful!!

Kannada Cuisine said... chutneys

Paaka Shaale said...

I just loved the name of your blog. It's so authentic. Your recipes live up to that name. Keep the good food coming in. Happy to follow you as well :)

Akila said...

Nice combination of ingredients

hemalata said...

Delicious n flavorful chutney.