Friday, June 12, 2009

"Fresh and Fancy-Free" Mint Chutney!

As promised, here's the recipe for mint chutney, a fetching bright green condiment that just yells out, "Eat me! I'm fresh and fancy-free!"

It does. Really! Make it and see! And no wonder. This is the chutney that accompanies those special afternoon snacks: the samosas, the pakoras, anything deep-fried basically! And when you're in the mood to eat some of those piping hot babies, you have no choice but to feel happy. Fancy-free even.

I grew up eating a version that included fresh coconut -- we ladled spoonfuls over hot, fluffy sannas, a steamed
rice-flour cake that's popular in the south of India. MAN, those are good! One of these days, I'm going to have to try to make them.

Hmmm... (cue wheels in my head spinning and Bren wondering why I'm having to buy MORE kitchen equipment in a kitchen the size of an elf's closet).

Here in the States, I'll often find a small plastic thimble of mint chutney alongside a warm samosa, leaching grease into the paper bag from the local Indian shoppe. You probably do too, right? That version doesn't have any coconut in it though. And I like it just as much. I suggested that this mint chutney would go well with the Sweet (Potato) Cakes I made on the last episode of Aarti Paarti. I think it would go equally well with pot stickers, grilled chicken... oh and especially well with some citrus-y grilled beef. Oooh that sounds gooooood! Kinda like an Indian chimichurri sauce, right?

Actually, it occured to me that this isn't necessarily a chutney... it's more of a pesto. But closer to the chimichurri than the pesto. WHY is this called a chutney I wonder? Hmmmm.

Anyway, I added a little extra flavour to this version: a black mustard seed-infused oil, just to round out all the herby and citrusy high notes of mint, cilantro, green chili and lime juice. It makes a lovely accompaniment to the ready-made samosas I got from Trader Joes, and it comes together in literally seconds. Enjoy!

"Fresh and Fancy-Free" Mint Chutney
Mint-cilantro-lime saucey-thing with mustard-seed infused oil

You'll need this stuff:

1 cup mint leaves
1/2 cup cilantro leaves and soft stems
1 tbsp fresh ginger, chopped
Juice of 1/2 lime (more, if you like it limey!)
Enough water to make a sauce, about 1/4 cup
Salt and pepper

1 tbsp vegetable oil/olive oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds

1) In a food processor, whiz together mint, cilantro, ginger, lime juice and water until it all comes together as a sauce. There'll probably still be little bits of leaf in there, but I like how those taste, so no worries. Pour chutney into a bowl.

2) In a small pan, over medium heat, warm oil until it shimmers. Add mustard seeds -- they should sizzle. Immediately cover with lid, until they stop spluttering. Make sure they don't burn! If they do, start over. No big deal. I do it all the time! Immediately add the seeds and oil to the chutney. It will sizzle so stand back. Once you've poured all the oil in, you can even spoon a little chutney into the pan (cue sizzling again!) so that you pick up all that lovely oil. Serve! Get fresh!




shinfain said...

that picture of the finished product is soooo gorgeous.

ba, you are getting better and better... i love watching you grow and use thing that grow and then we plucked them to make deliciousness.

cjucoder said...

This really looks fabulous. Seeing this, I may change my mind about what to make first from the Aarti recipe pile here :) I was thinking either the Quinoa Pilaf or the Indian Fried Rice. But, I've really been on a sauce-thing lately. Just recently made chimichurri for the first time (NUM!), a roasted poblano tomatillo sauce (double NUM!) and Romesco (triple NUM). So yeah, your suggestion of this one with the sweet potato cakes...hmmmm. Could I use brown mustard seeds instead of black? How much difference is there? Thanks Aarti!

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