Showing posts with label Chutneys. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chutneys. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Harissa Paste


Harissa is a hot Tunisian chilli pepper paste used in dips, marinades, soups etc just like any other hot chilli sauce. It is a spicy red hot roasted pepper paste which brings depth of flavour to the dish. It has many variations and it can be made to suit your own taste. It is mostly made with a blend of 2 or more different types of hot peppers (like serrano peppers, Baklouti peppers, hot chilli peppers) garlic and your own blend of aromatic spices. The chillies are soaked in hot water till they soften and are ground to a paste with garlic, whole spices, lemon juice and olive oil. You can also use chipotle, poblano, ancho chillies or any other moderately hot peppers if you don't like it very hot. So you can actually customize it to your own taste.

Harissa paste pre packed in bottles is also sold locally in middle eastern stores here. Tunisia is the biggest exporter of Harissa paste. It is also referred to as the National Condiment of Tunisia. When you travel to middle eastern countries the local grocery stores there sell fresh harissa paste.

Here's the recipe:


1 Cup Red Hot Chilli Peppers
1/2 Cup Kashmiri Chilli Pepper or Chipotle Peppers
6 Garlic Cloves
11/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
Juice of Lemon
4 tbs Extra Virgin Olive oil


1. Dry roast the peppers on medium heat quickly. Be sure to put the exhaust on as the fumes can make you choke. It is better to cover your face with a handkerchief or face towel when you do this. Remove from stove. Soak them in hot water for 1 hour until softened.

2. Toast the cumin seeds on medium heat until they turn lightly brown and aromatic .  Remove and keep aside. Roast the garlic cloves in a few drops of oil, give a quick stir till you see a little discolouration. Remove and cool completely.

3. Pulse the cumin seeds in a grinder till they are coarsely ground. Drain the water from the chillies and add to the grinder along with garlic cloves, lemon juice, salt and olive oil and grind to a fine paste.

4. Store in a clean dry bottle and store it in the fridge. Keeps well for a month.


Kashmiri red chillies are mildly hot so if you want less heat then you can use 1/2 cup hot chillies with 1/2 cup kashmiri chillies. I like to substitute kashmir chillies with chipotle or poblano for their smoky flavour. You can customize according to your taste and heat level.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Layered Idly Sandwich

When ever we eat Idli we dip a piece of it in a chutney and then try another bite with a different one - it is always one chutney at a time. And if you dip the same piece in all the chutneys it becomes messy. So I thought why not build an idli layer by layer like a cake and fill each layer with a different chutney, like icing. I had been toying with this idea so much to the extent of checking with manufacturers if they could make a square idli mould for me. That seemed like a lengthy process for which I had no time. But I had to satisfy my craving to taste the idli and my favourite chutneys together - all in one bite. There was a shortcut which was tempting enough. I used the round steel plates from my Dhokla maker (I could have used a cake pan too) to steam my idli rounds and voila made my idli sandwich with different chutney layers. I had chutney powder (mologai podi), coconut and mint chutney which I used for each layer. It tasted just yummy as I had expected. Plus it looked so beautiful!

Here's the recipe:

Idli batter
Mint chutney 
Coconut Chutney
Chutney Powder (Mologai Podi)
Clarified butter 
Round cake dish or Dhokla Maker plates
Parchment Paper

1. Grease the cake pan/plate and line it with parchment paper cut in a circle, the same size as the base.  Pour in the Idli batter to your desired thickness. I keep it 1/2 " thick.

2. Place the cake pan in a steamer and steam for exactly 10 minutes. Remove and keep aside to cool.

3. When cooled, pass a knife around the sides of the pan/plate then overturn the plate carefully after topping it with another plate to unmould the idli cake. 

4. Cut the idli round into 4 quarters. Take one quarter and spread coconut chutney on it, then top it with another and spread with mint chutney, then alternate again with coconut chutney.  I had made only 2 chutneys this time so I had to repeat the layer. But you could use another different chutney instead. Then for the topmost layer I sprinkled with MTR's chutney powder and a few droplets of melted ghee (clarified butter) and brushed it evenly to coat. You could use as many layers as you want with different chutneys of your choice.  Enjoy!


1. You can get ready made refrigerated idli batter from indian stores. The other option is to make your own. I will be soon posting a recipe for making traditional recipes.

2. The chutney powder is available in indian stores as well, but MTR is a good brand.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Roasted red bell pepper and peanut chutney.

Red Bell Pepper - 1
Peanuts - 1/2 cup
Dried red chillies - 3 - 4 long
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Vegetable oil - 1 tsp
Garlic clove - 1 large
Curry leaves - 6-8
Tamarind (seedless) - a marble sized round

For tempering:
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Dried red chillies - 1 or two small ones
Curry leaves - 4-5
Urad dal - 1/4 tsp
Vegetable oil - 1 tsp
Asafoetida - a pinch ( optional)

1. Roast the red bell pepper on a pan in the oven.
2. Heat a tsp of oil in a sauce pan. Roast the peanuts, cumin seeds and dry red chillies together. Then add the diced onions, stirfry for sometime before adding the tomatoes and curry leaves. 
3. Grind everything together coarsely with the tamarind. 
4. Peel the roasted pepper, remove and discard the seeds inside and lastly add it  to the ground ingredients and pulse 2 or 3 times till  it is well blended.  
4. Remove the chutney in a serving bowl.
5. Now for tempering, heat a tsp of  vegetable oil, add mustard seeds and when they splutter add dried red chillies, urad dal, curry leaves and lastly asafoetida. 
6. Quickly pour this on top of the ground chutney in the serving bowl. Enjoy with idli, dosa, vada or any finger snacks.  

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Pudina (Mint) Chutney Curry

This is one of my favorite curries that my mom used to make with plain boiled or palao rice. She would make it quite often but we never got tired of it and always enjoyed it very much. I know I can never make it as good as her but I have tried my best. Here's the recipe:

Fresh Mint: 1 cup
Fresh Cilantro - 1/2 a cup
Green chillies - 4 (medium size)
Garlic cloves - 4 (medium size)
Tamarind - small ball (the size of a small lime)
 Dried red chillies - 3 - 4 small
Mustard seeds   - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves - a few
Sliced onion - 1 large
Vegetable oil -  2tbs
Salt to taste

1. Rinse the mint and cilantro leaves, green chillies, garlic and tamarind, drain and put everything in the grinder and grind to a slightly coarse paste.
2. Heat the oil in a sauce pan. Add dried red chillies and  mustard seeds.  When they begin to crackle add the onion slices and curry leaves.
3. Stir fry the onions till they turn translucent. At this stage add the ground chutney to the fried onions etc in the sauce pan. Give it a stir, adjust the salt. Your mouth watering mint chutney curry is ready. Enjoy!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Eggplant Chutney or Bagare Baingan


10-12 Egg plants (medium size)
2 tsp Cumin seeds
1tsp Methi (fenugreek) seeds
1/4 cup Peanuts
1 tbs Sesame seeds
1 tbs Poppy seeds
4-6  Dried red chillies (long ones)
10 Fresh Curry leaves
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
1/2 cup Vegetable oil + more for deep frying (1 cup)
1 tbs Tamarind dried
4 Green chillies
1 Onion (medium size)
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp Brown sugar
1 tbs White Vinegar
1/2 tsp Roasted Cumin and fenugreek powder


1. Trim the crowns of the whole Indian egg plants. Rinse them in cold water, cut from the bottom into quarters just up to the crown so that the whole egg plants is intact at the crown and opens into quarters only from the bottom. Drain, towel dry and keep aside.

2. Heat vegetable oil in a dutch oven or thick bottomed pot and deep fry them till they are crisp and shiny on the outside and soft and lightly browned on the inside. They look so yummy, you would want to eat them right away. Drain and set aside.

3. Dry roast lightly the peanuts, sesame seeds, poppy seed, cumin seeds and methi seeds separately, let them cool down completely then pulse them together coarsely. To this dd 4 tbs of water or a little more and grind to a paste. Do not grind the roasted seeds when they are still hot as all the flavour will be lost because of the heat.

4. Heat 1/2 cup vegetable oil in a pot or wok. Add mustard seeds and when they crackle add the dried red chillies and curry leaves followed by the onion paste. Fry it a little on medium heat till the water evaporates, then add the garlic paste and the ground masala from step 3.

5. Fry the masala in the oil, adding a little (1-2 tbs) water if too dry. Now add the fried egg plant to the pot, sprinkle 1 tsp salt and mix well with the ground masala gently by turning over the egg plants slowly from the bottom of the pot one by one taking enough care not to break them. Toss in the whole green chillies after removing their stems. Leave the egg plants on simmer to cook and soften a bit while you prepare the tamarind juice. Take care not to let them turn mushy. 

6. Soak the tamarind in a little water then squeeze it with your fingers to extract the juice. Strain the juice into the pot over the egg plants. With your oven mitts or gloves hold the pot on the sides and slowly swirl to mix the tamarind juice with the egg plant masala.

7. Now add 1 tbs vinegar, then taste and adjust the salt till it reaches the bliss point. Then sprinkle a tsp of brown or cane sugar and let it simmer for a while till the oil comes on top.

8. As a finishing touch sprinkle a pinch of roasted cumin and fenugreek powder (for extra flavour), let it simmer for a couple of minutes and then turn off the heat. During the whole process of cooking enough care should be taken not break the egg plants, or let them stick to the bottom or turn mushy.

9. Serve warm as a side dish with Biryani or any other rice. Enjoy!!


* To make roasted cumin and fenugreek powder, roast 2 parts of zeera to 1 part of fenugreek seeds separately, cool completely and then grind to a coarse, but not very coarse powder to use in chutneys, sour curries etc. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Cranberry sun-dried tomato chutney

Fresh Cranberries - 1 pack
Sun-dried tomatoes - 1 cup
Thai red chillies (pricked) - 10
Green chillies (pricked) - 5 (optional)
Dried red chillies - 4 (optional)
Vegetable oil - 1 cup
Cumin seeds- 1 tblspn
Fenugreek seeds - 1/2 tblspn
Red chilly powder - 1 tblspn
Brown sugar - 1/2 cup
Juice of one big lemon
Garlic cloves peeled - 6-8
Crushed garlic cloves unpeeled - 2
Vinegar-1 cup
Mustard seeds - 1tspn
Kosher Salt - 1/2 - 1 tblspn or as required.


1. Wash and drain the cranberries and keep aside.
2. In a bowl mix together sun-dried tomatoes, peeled garlic cloves, thai red chillies and half the vinegar.
3. Dry roast separately the cumin and fenugreek seeds. When they cool down grind them and set aside.
4. Heat 1 cup of oil in a sauce pan. Add mustard seeds and when they crackle add the dried red chillies followed by the 2 crushed unpeeled garlic cloves and pricked green chillies (if left unpricked they burst when put in the hot oil). Then immediately add the cranberries, ground cumin-fenugreek powder and red chilly powder. The whole process has to be done very quickly and carefully without letting any of the ingredients burn.
5. Add to this, the sun-dried tomato mixture from the bowl  followed by the remaining 1/2 a cup vinegar, salt, brown sugar and lemon juice. Give it a good stir and remove from pan.
6. Let it cool down, then fill it in a glass/ceramic jar.

The cranberry sun-dried tomato chutney is now ready to enjoy.