Daily Archives: September 28, 2008

One of Atto’s – Tangy Coriander & Mint Chutney

Atto – my husband’s bua – is one of the best cooks I know.

What makes her food more special though, is the care and affection with which she feeds people.

I have been saying to her for years that she ought to write a cookbook. In the meanwhile, here is her recipe for just the most delicious green chutney (with a couple of minor variations of my own; like I don’t recall if Atto used onion when I saw her make it, but my mom does in her coriander chutney; so I use it too)

Coriander and Mint Chutney

A big bunch of coriander; another of mint (I tend to use less of the mint and more of the coriander)

One medium sized onion

1 green chilly, stalk removed

salt to taste

2 tbsp of thick tamarind juice (use more or less, as you like)

3 tbsp of a thick solution of jaggery dissolved in water (again, you could use more or less)

Wash the herbs thoroughly, then chop roughly after removing the hard stalks (I always retain the softer stems, and don’t bother about using only the leaves; it seems a waste to let the stems go since they have so much flavor too).

Peel and chop the onion in to 6-10 large-ish parts.

Blend together all the ingredients, using as little water as possible. This will therefore take time, since you will have to stop every once in a while to keep the machine of the food processor from overheating, and to stir the contents of the bowl/jar in which you are making the chutney. But it is worth spending the time rather than using too much water, since that would result in a watery chutney.

Also, you could add the tamarind and jaggery pastes gradually, so that you can control the amount you will use of each, depending on the balance of sweet and sour tastes that appeals to you.

I just love this chutney; I find the use of tamarind instead of lime juice quite a great touch.

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Filed under Dips,Chutneys,Sauces,Spreads

Dhaniya (Coriander)

Whether it is the fresh leaves, the aroma of the seeds as I roast them before grinding a fresh lot of the powder,or the older quantity sitting in a bottle on the spice shelf in our kitchen; Indira loves to sniff at coriander in any of it’s forms. It is quite an amusing sight to see her grab the bottle of coriander powder from my hand, after I have finished adding some to a curry or subzi that is cooking right then, and take a long, appreciative sniff at the contents. And she absolutely loves the trip to the vegetable shop from where I buy fresh coriander and mint, since she knows the fragrance will fill the air in the car on the way back !

So I figured this is the spice I should begin this section with.

here is what I have found out (sources below):

Apparently the plant is of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern origin; the Romans used it for treating digestive problems;it was even mentioned in the old testament.

The leaves are variously referred to as coriander leaves, cilantro ,dhania , Chinese parsley or Mexican parsley.

There is a host of fascinating stuff here about the history of the use of this spice; I am only listing some of the medicinal benefits mentioned.

Thanks to its to its exceptional phytonutrient content, it seems that coriander can help control blood sugar, cholesterol and free radical production; it is a very good source of dietary fiber, minerals such as iron and magnesium, and a very powerful antibacterial compound. It isĀ  effective against colic and indigestion in both adults and children, and apparently coriander oil can help ease joint pain due to it’s anti-inflammatory properties.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coriander

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=70

http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/120126251/abstract

http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/112437530/abstract

http://usa.loccitane.com/FO/Services/GlossaryDetail.aspx?id=33

http://www.theepicentre.com/Spices/coriander.html

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Filed under Exploring the Spice Shelf