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.