Verkadalai/Peanut Chutney

When it comes to chutneys, this is my absolute favorite. Even though this was prepared regularly at my house, every time I make this now, it takes me back to one of my fond childhood memories, where my mom would prepare this on the day of Varamahalakshmi Vratham festival. On that day, our lunch was more like breakfast where we would prepare idli, vada, masala sambar and specifically this chutney, along with other sweets and snacks. The consistency of this chutney is thick and coarse like a pesto (In Tamilnadu a thick chutney is called “getti chutney”), and not runny like other typical chutneys. I recall my mom and aunt preparing this with a grinding stone which actually gives better control over the consistency and texture than what you can get with an electric mixer or processor. But nevertheless, it is worth trying and hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients:

Urad dal/ Split black gram – 2 tbsp
Asafoetida/ Hing – a pinch
Dry red chillies – 1 or 2 (depending on size)
Raw peanuts – 1 cup
Green chillies – 2
Coconut pieces – 2/3 cup
Roasted chana dal/ Pottukadalai – 1/2 cup
Coriander leaves, chopped – 3 tbsp
Curry leaves – 4 to 5
Tamarind – small piece (approx 1 tsp)
Sugar – 1 tsp
Salt – to taste
Oil – 1 tbsp

Method:

  • Heat oil in a pan and add urad dal, hing and dry red chillies
  • Add peanuts and saute for a minute,
  • Add coconut and roasted chana dal and saute for couple more minutes
  • Add coriander leaves, curry leaves and tamarind
  • Saute until the peanuts and chana dal are just about golden brown in color
  • Remove from heat. Let it cool for about 5 minutes. Add salt and sugar
  • Transfer the ingredients to a mixer jar. Grind a couple of times without water until everything is powdered
  • Add water in very small quantities and grind until everything blends well into a semi-coarse paste
  • Serve with idli or dosa

Coconut Chutney

Coconut Chutney is a staple south Indian recipe. Every household has its own version and it is crucial to a breakfast of dosai, idli or uthappam. As a child I remember spreading this chutney on a slice of bread, toasting it on a tava and then eating it with sugar. That hit of spice and sweet is yummy! Or you can stick to its more traditional use 🙂

My version is fairly simple and straight-forward. You can very easily leave out the coriander leaves, tamarind and roasted gram dal and you will still be left with a delicious chutney. 

Ingredients:

To Grind

Coconut – 1/2
Green chillies – 3
Ginger – 1 tsp, chopped
Roasted Gram dal – 2 tsp
Coriander leaves – 1/3 cup, chopped
Tamarind – 1 cm piece
Salt to taste

To Temper

Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Urad dal – 1 tsp
Dry red chillies – 2
Curry leaves – 4
Oil

Method:

  • Grind all the ingredients mentioned under ‘To Grind’
  • Add enough water till you get a thick chutney consistency or more if you prefer it to be watery
  • Transfer to a clean container 
  • In a kadai, heat oil and add mustard seeds
  • Once they crackle, add cumin seeds, ural dal, dry red chillies and curry leaves
  • Add to the chutney and mix
  • Serve with dosai or idly

Pudina/Mint Chutney

One of the best uses of pudina or mint leaves is to turn them into a delicious chutney and it also happens to be my favorite mint dish. Mint as a medicinal herb should be included in our diet whenever possible and can be used for various purposes such as in biryanis for its flavor, in beverages for its sweet aroma or in side dished like the one below.

IMG_4648

Ingredients:

Oil – 3 tsp
Dry red chillies – 2
Urad dal – 1 tbsp
Fried gram/ Pottukadalai – 1/4 cup
Peanuts – 1/4 cup
Pudina/ mint leaves – 2 cups
Tamarind – quarter size piece
Jaggery or sugar – 1/4 tsp
Coconut, grated – 3/4 cup
Salt – to taste

Method:

  • Heat oil in a pan
  • Add urad dal and red chillies
  • Add the fried gram and peanuts and saute well
  • When the dal and peanuts start changing color, add the mint leaves and saute until the mint wilts
  • Add coconut, jaggery and tamarind, mix well and turn off heat
  • Let it cool. Add salt and grind first without water so that all ingredients are powdered
  • Add water and grind into a smooth paste
  • Serve with dosa or idli

Tomato Chutney

This is yet another recipe I learnt from my sister and is one my favorites! The garlic, curry leaves and coriander are all my additions to the original recipe. You can use these ingredients if you happen to have them at home. The chutney tastes good even without them. When I first made this chutney many years ago, I mistook it to be an onion chutney and always added more onion and less tomato. While that still tasted good to me, I realised only much later that I was doing it all wrong!

Tomato chutney

Ingredients:

Tomatoes     – 2 large-sized, chopped
Onion           – 1 medium-sized, chopped
Dry red chilli – 2
Garlic – 1 clove (optional)
Curry leaves (optional)
Coriander leaves (optional)
Salt to taste
Oil
Water

Method:

  • Heat oil in a wok and add the dry red chilli. Once it changes colour, add the garlic clove and fry for about 30 seconds. Add the curry leaves.
  • Add the chopped onion and fry till they just about start turning brown.
  • Add chopped tomatoes and fry till it turns soft and begins turning brown. Switch off the stove and allow to cool.
  • Transfer this to a mixie. Add coriander leaves and salt to taste. Grind using a little water till desired consistency is reached.
  • Serve with dosai, idli or even chapathi.

Spinach and Kale Chutney

This is a dish my sister made very often when we lived in Bangalore. She got the recipe from a cousin of ours who used to make this using mint leaves (pudina). My sister, however, always made this using spinach. While it’s very easy to prepare, it’s also a great way to eat your greens. You can use a mix of greens as well. I used store-bought baby spinach and baby kale mix which comes pre-washed. You can use only spinach leaves as well.

Spinach and kale chutney

Ingredients:

Spinach and kale leaves – 3 cups
Cumin seeds – 1 tbsp
Tamarind – 1 inch piece
Green chillies – 2
Ginger – 1 inch piece
Grated coconut – 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Water
Oil

Method:

  • Wash and clean spinach and kale leaves to remove impurities
  • Heat a wok with about a tablespoon of oil. Add cumin seeds. Once they turn colour, add green chillies and ginger. Fry these for about 30 seconds and then add the tamarind
  • Add the spinach and kale leaves. Fry till the leaves welt. This should take a minute or so. Take off the heat immediately
  • Once this cools down completely, transfer it to a mixer. Add coconut and salt and grind with about 3/4 cup of water till you get a smooth, chutney consistency
  • Serve with hot rice and a dollop of ghee! Vathal (rice crisps) or papad go well with this dish