Saturday, February 14, 2015

Cilantro chutney - Forgive me for making your Valentine's day green :-)

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! May your life be filled with love of every possible flavor and color. May you always share love with the World!

As I walked around my favorite market on Friday, it was bustling with people trying to get ready for the Valentine's day. The weather was a balmy 62F, sun shine spread all around like a warm blanket, colors of spring all over in fruits and vegetables and there was a general geity in the air. One of the flower vendors even had a poster board that said, "All you last minute Romeos, stop here, we have the perfect gift for your valentine" :-)". I simply walked around soaking in the fresh air, breathing in the warmth, picking up a fresh fruit or 2 as they caught my eyes. No valentine specific purchase was made.
I am not Grinch and definitely not here to prick the enthusiasm of Valentine's day celebration. Each to his/her own and I respect all individual expressions. But as they ask in my all time favorite Sound Of Music movie, "How do you hold the Moonbean in your hand?", I ask, "how do you contain the celebration of love for one day of the year?". It is an emotion that we are fortunate to have every minute of every day of our lives and I want to keep it that way.

When I see a typical Valentine's celebration where,

Roses rule the day
sweets are made with lots of love
Chocolates - cannot do without 'em
Pink puts it all together :-)

I just step back a little and think about all the other beautiful shapes love takes in life and feel thankful to be loved in so many different ways by so many different people - as a daughter to 2 sets of parents, a wife and friend to a man I adore, a loving mom (annoying at times) to a doting daughter, sister (sometimes bossy, sometimes totally dependent) to my siblings, cousins, nieces, nephews and friends I have made in all these years. I feel blessed. Happy Valentine's day to all of you.

Chutneys are my first love, pachadis are his. When we fell in love many years ago, it was just a matter of time before the chutneys and pachadis started to fuse together. I learnt to make varieties of pachadis as he learnt to enjoy the deliciousness of chutneys. We have reached a stage in life now where we use those to terms interchangeably. The years of togetherness has also brought the spark of recognition that 'love' is not single dimensioned as it gets marketed on Valentine's day but is infact multi-faceted, colorful and always grows in abundance as you share it.

Feb celebrations take on a different tone at home since this particular week is full of personal celebrations too. Sister kicks off the celebrations with her birthday on the 9th, followed by a sis-in-law & niece who share their special days ont he 13th, it is the wedding anniversary of parents-in-law on the 14th and BH rounds it up by turning a year older on the 17th. So calling, emailing, facebooking starts earlier in the week as we share the joy. My inlaws reached here from India this evening :-), they were supposed to be here yesterday in time to celebrate their wedding day with us but courtesy of delayed start and missed connections, they arrived a day later :-(. They seem to be doing ok, though tired. Just finished dinner and everyone has already hit the bed. Looking forward to having them here for the next few months.

Since the Valentine's day/wedding anniversary celebrations didn't work out the way we had planned, I ended up making a regular weekend brunch earlier today. Our weekends typically start off with a heavy brunch, late for a breakfast but early for lunch and is one of those 'look forward' to times of the week when all 3 of us sit together to enjoy the meal. Week days are so rushed, we don't get to sit down together in physical proximity until evening. So, I try to make an event of weekend brunches where each of us have something we love to eat :-). Fortunately, tastes are not very far apart and I really don't have to cook a spread to please the family. Since there was the anticipation of all the goodies coming in from India later this evening, I made the lunch simple but added a spicy twist that BH & I love. DD had her sweet potato fries and tender, grilled Asparagus. All in all it was a great lunch with family.

Here is my green love from Valentine's day lunch we had earlier today. I make this every time I get fresh, flavorful cilantro which is quite often :-). You can make this in a large quantity and store it in fridge for a week, somehow it never lasts that long in my home :-). Hope you all like it as much as we do.
What do you need to make Cilantro chutney?
2 bunches of fresh cilantro leaves - should make 3 loosely packed cups when picked and cleaned
1 Tbsp urad dal
3 Tbsp oil
1 Tsp chana dal
5-6 dry red chilies
1 Tsp mustard
1/2 Tsp cumin
1/4 Tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 Tsp coriander seeds
key lime sized tamarind
1/2 Tsp crushed jaggery
1/2 Tsp salt (adjust to taste)
pinch of asafoetida
How do you make cilantro chutney?
  • Pick cilantro leaves and the tender stalks from the bunch. 
  • Wash them thoroughly under running water to rid of any dirt.
  • Let water drain off in a colander, chop them roughly
  • Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a pan. 
  • Add urad, chana dals, red chilies, cumin, fenugreek, coriander and mustard seeds. 
  • Roast on medium heat until dals turn bright pink.
  • Add asafoetida and take it out onto a plate
  • Put the pan back on the stove, add the remaining oil, and add the chopped cilantro - leaves and stalks
  • Fry for about 4-5 minutes until the leaves become a mush and stalks turn soft. 
  • Add salt, switch off and let it cool. 
  • Take the roasted dal & spices to the grinder and make it into a rough powder.
  • Add jaggery and grind once more. 
  • Now add the cilantro and pulse grind until they are all combined and cilantro is crushed well. 
  • Enjoy the spicy, tangy, sweetish chutney bursting with cilantro flavor. 
  • Our Valentine's day lunch was complete with hot rice mixed with cilantro chutney and a side of home made plantain chips, Yummy!!
  • I used my mortar & pestle to make the chutney :-), I don't need to add water at all in this. If you are grinding using a blender, pulse it so the ingredients come together and avoid adding water. 
  • This is a chutney used to mix with rice but you can enjoy it as a spread on a piece of toast or with idli/dosa or even just to lick it off of your finger. 
  • This is typically strong with all flavors competing with each other, adjust sweet, spice & tang to your taste. 


kitchen queen said...

yummy delicious chutney.

NamsVeni Pothas said...

wishing every one very happy vallininesday. the chetney is mouth watering

sashi said...

quick question, how do you clean the mortar and pestle to make sure its clean and leaves no after taste for the next preparation.

Nagashree said...

Sashi, once done, I put it in the sink and fill it with warm water. Leave it for 30 minutes and scrape off with a scrub. I don't use soap in the mortar since it tends to stick in the crevices. Keep it draining (ulta maadi) until it dries up on the insides. No smell follows you onto the next prep :-)