Hari Chutney, mint-coriander dip
Summers are here, not news anymore…I know. But the season, no matter how sultry, hot and irritating it can get; brings with it some of my favourite fruits and vegetables. While in the fruit department, mangoes are an absolute favourite in our household, when it comes to greens we enjoy a couple in addition to spinach; mint & coriander! 🙂
The combination of these two herbs with the right amount of sweet, savoury and tangy flavours makes for a refreshing dip that is a summer staple for us. I do make it off and on during the winters, but in the summers chilled mint chutney works wonders; it can be a lip smacking base for sandwiches or a dip with snacks and fresh veggies or just a condiment with your meals. A chutney is basically a condiment. In India there are many kinds of chutneys, some that are blends of raw ingredients and other that are cooked.
The best part about the hari chutney is that it requires half an hour’s work for a product that will easily last from a week to 10 days in your fridge unless you lick the container clean before that! You will need to get mint and coriander in advance, of course. I’ve recently started using more coriander in comparison to mint, since mint darkens faster. So, if you add equal parts mint and coriander it may turn a dark, blackish-green after a day or two. Worry not, the taste remains unchanged, just give it a good mix.
Prep time:15 to 20 minutes, to grind 10 minutes
2 bunches of fresh coriander (cilantro), about 500 gms
1 bunch of fresh mint, about 250 gms
1/2 red onion, or 1 depending on the size
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 by 1/2 inch piece of ginger
2-3 small green chillies
Salt and pepper to taste
A pinch of red chilly powder
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp anardana powder (dried pomegranate seeds). You can also use tamarind paste to increase the tanginess of the chutney.
Juice of 1/2 a lime
First, remove the lower, thicker corianders stalks. I keep the soft branches whole with the leaves and then wash them thrice in a water bath. After each wash remove the leaves and drain in a colander. By the third bath there should be no dust left at the botton of the bowl. For the mint, follow the same steps except remove the leaves from the stalks. Stalks of the mint plant are often stiff and can lend a bitter taste to the pulp.
Chop the onion and tomato into large chunks. Peel garlic cloves and ginger. Wash the chillies but leave them whole.
Next, pile everything into a blender. I put in the leaves at the botton and the rest of the ingredients on the top. Finishing off with the seasonings and lime juice. Sometimes single jar blenders need a liquidy consistency to get the job done. Add water little at a time until the blending begins.
Finally, tranfer the belnd into a bowl and store in the refrigerator. It tastes best when served chilled with snacks like samosas, paneer tikka, kebabs, pappad, assorted breads or as a salad dip. In our place chutney needs replenishing every week! Hope you enjoy it too with your evening snacks. Do write back with your suggestions and experiences.