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.