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Tag Archives: chutneys/dips/podi/preserves

Fiery Tomato Chutney Recipe

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Friends….. I make them quite easily…. And mostly… they stay for life…. Collected and cherished like life’s most precious experiences…..some of my closest friends are the ones I made in school….. later, in college, in the hostel and each of the firms I worked for I met some of the most wonderful people I know….. sometimes I don’t talk to them for years and months, yet they remain closest to your heart….counted as those I can call upon in my hour of need…..sometimes I talk to them and spend so much time together, that I cant make out if I picked up their habits and mannerisms or vice versa……some I love working with because they are just so damn good at their work…and there’s so much to learn…. Some I share common interests with… with some I just cant explain how or why the relationship sticks…..some with whom I shared good times and moved on…. Some I rediscover after a period of time…. Short or long…. Some I cant relate to anymore….. some I wish I still had in my life….. Sometimes friendships humble you…..Each one has taught me something…. Knowingly or otherwise….. I know I will always be grateful for this…. For what they add to my life….


A few weeks ago, a friend of mine, who shall be called B, spent the weekend with me….Someone who’s trying to find her spot under the Sun…. To be the best she can…. To better herself and all that she aspires for each day….I’ve seen her change…. Over the 6 yrs now that we’ve known each other…. Sometimes I didn’t quite understand what she was trying to do, and where she was trying to go….because in her pursuit of whatever it is she is chasing, she needed time to tame her own demons….

It’s a difficult thing to know that you may be a casualty along the way….we take ourselves far too seriously to recognize this….and sometimes in anger and sometimes to poke at her I would shoot barbs…. I came to realize, that if I put a premium on myself, I would lose her friendship…..that i should recognise what was on offer, and take it or leave it….. that not all relationships can be the same…. that not all people are the same…. and this is why we pursue them the way we do…atleast for me…. She’s one of the most giving people I have seen….. she gives of herself freely that sometimes you wonder what’s left for her…. One moment this hardnosed woman of the world, and all at once a child….if I have to put it down to one word, ENDEARING it will have to be ….


Why am I writing all this?? Because I have a story to tell…. This blog isnt all about food….if you know me, you know everything comes with a story…. Some more elaborate than the other…. A couple of years earlier, at B’s home, we had this amazing tomato chutney her mother made…. hot as hell, we lapped it up as much as we reached out for the tissues to blow our noses…. It was pretty awesome…. The heat in the chutney is as much a part of it as its awesome flavour…..having tasted it once, B didn’t hear the end of it…. I hounded her for the recipe…. Two years later, her hubby landed up bearing a box full of it…. her mom was in town, and after all this time, she remembered and got her to make some for us…. It was 5 days of bliss….. idlies, dosais, rice, roti and sandwiches…. All were slathered by this drool inducing chutney….

The weekend she spent with us, she made it for me …. Surviving all the questions I threw at her…. The end product was as before…. Again it didn’t survive a photosession….. I tried my hand at it this weekend….its never easy trying to remake something that’s near perfect…. Again I was blown away with the results….

How do you explain tangy fiery marriage? A flavour so unique, that you keep dipping your finger into it and licking at it while transferring it to a storage box? That even though it spits fire on your tongue, you cant have enough of it?? I realized, this was so much like B….. No matter that you weren’t able to compartmentalize it correctly, you loved it anyway!! Thanks sweety!! I know for sure, that no matter where life takes us, there will always be things that remind me of you.

this is my entry to Suganya’s Vegan Ventures

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Beerakaya Tholu Pachadi – Ridge Gourd Peel Chutney Recipe

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Give me a traditional south indian thali meal, and I will surely overdose on steaming hot rice with ghee and pachadi or/and chutney podi…..this is a given. I once took a visiting friend and my mother to a famous typical Andhra style restaurant in hyderabad, amma sat open mouthed as I heaped rice with ghee and gongura pachadi onto my banana leaf, not once or twice, but three times…..i obviously had a tough time reconciling with how much I ate for the next few weeks!! But my mother always recalls that incident whenever we swap stories of excesses….she’s never going to let me forget!!

A short walk away from my last work place, there was a modest Mess that served up terrific Andhra style meals…..we’d look forward to our monthly visits there and dread the amount of food we’d collectively eat….again for me, the pachadi would decide how miserable I felt for the rest of the day. We obviously quickly learnt to indulge in this on a day when our group had a relatively lesser workload, because it was humanly impossible not to feel like a beached whale once we were done eating.

Though chutneys and pachadis or a vegetable based relish of some kind is a must at most indian traditional meals, I haven’t been very inquisitive with them. Somewhere stuck in my head is the feeling that these are extremely difficult to make items. You need to be able to get the right blend of all the spices and delicately balance all the flavours. While I take my baby steps in pachadi making, this feeling is reinforced…that you need to balance everything…although I am now somewhat beginning to discover that they aren’t very difficult if you learn to use your tastebuds as a guide!!

Beerakaya  tholu pachadi is made by using the peels of the ridge gourd. Said to be rich in iron content, it’s a good way of using a part of the vegetable that would otherwise get binned. We eat ridge gourd quite a lot when its available (I wonder why I haven’t posted about it here yet!!) and each time I peeled the skin off I wondered when I would get down to grinding it to a chutney….while chatting with Srivalli one day she sent me a link to the one she had on her blog and a few days later, I made my version of it. while I try my best to follow a recipe, I cant but help make modifications. Sometimes because I don’t have the same ingredients, but more likely because I cant recall the exact recipe (I try and write them down in my big black book!!)and then resort to improvise .

This pachadi is great with steaming hot rice with ghee (clarified butter), dosas, idlies and even as a sandwich spread. The flavours are subtle and makes it very difficult to stop licking it off your fingers!!

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Sesame & Groundnut Chutney Powder Recipe

I am increasingly getting addicted to podis…in the last 4 months I have never made the same podi twice. I simply cannot stick to the same proportions even if I manage the same ingredients….and this in a way is a good thing…..considering the convenience of having a podi on hand to spice up idlies, dosas, buttered toast or steaming hot rice…….….

I am not a “little by little” person…I am more of a “clean sweep” kind of gal…so when I decide I am going to stand over the kitchen stove to dry roast and powder something, I do it so it lasts atleast 6 weeks…..this works for me cos I can’t see myself repeating the same activity too soon … stand and dry roast I will…..but my way….. Most podis will stay fresh for atleast a month…..initially I got half yearly supplies from my MIL and it stayed fresh and fine for several months……anything oily will turn stale…so refrigerate any podi which contains dry coconut, sesame seeds, groundnuts etc if storing for more than 3-4 weeks……

A few months ago I received a lovely package with some fabulous sesame chutney powder from Nandita…we polished it off in record time but I saved the little container it came in for the sticker that had the ingredients printed on it. It was in Marathi, which is similar to hindi I was able to make out what they were (more or less) and I tried to make something similar.

This is my entry to Roma’s Long Live the Shelf event….. hop over to see some time and nerve savers!!

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Jamming Around ~ Peache and Plum Jams with Star Anise Recipe

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so this is part three of the posts on jams that have made their way into my kitchen……….all within a span of a few weeks…but have taken me a long time to post…..

Aunty E who you all read about here was operated upon for at cataract and I went to see her…she is doing well and recovering and the doctor was delighted that she cooperated so well…..she lives quite far from where I do, and so it was quite a trek…but so worth it!!

On my way back home, I picked up some peaches and cherries…I had no idea what I would do with them….because most fruit is eaten as it is at my place, and very little is done with the fruit….we demolished the whole box of cherries in a couple of days and k didn’t quite know how to handle the peaches……amma used to poach them in a sugar syrup mildly spiced with cinnamon and cloves and I pondered over that….but we as kids had it with fresh cream or custard… that is an indulgence I cannot afford……also, it was obvious that the peaches made a long and arduous journey to actually get to me, so while some of them were seriously in need of some life support, a few others were still a bit unripe….and so I decided to make an easy jam / preserve of the peaches……..

I’d read a column/ book by Karen Anand book some time ago where she advises that cut fruit sprinkled with sugar and left overnight in the fridge gave better flavour to the jam / preserve…..since I had a lot on my hands the day I skinned and chopped the peaches, this suited me just fine…..only I left it in the fridge for two days amidst bouts of panic that they would perish!! I added 1 cup of chopped plums to the 4 cups of peaches and made this entirely in the microwave….though it took longer than the time it was supposed to take, it was totally fuss free and the only aberration was that some of the syrup fell onto the plate inside the microwave oven, which had to be washed clean…….the jam is pretty awesome……even if i say so myself!! With the small chunks of fruit still intact….the colour is glorious and I am so happy to be eating a non commercial variety of jam…… btw, k and I aren’t really hot on jam…so I have no idea what I am going to do with a bottle full of this stuff…..maybe try some as a dessert topping or in baking etc……

this is my entry to sunitha’s Think spice event which turns one….no guessing that Star Anise is my absolutely favourite spice!!

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Plum Jam Recipe

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Jam for me is a trip down memory lane……my mother’s annual plum jam was a much awaited event….she’d spend a total of three days each year…sourcing the best plums, washing and drying them, sorting, slicing and finally cooking them to the ribbon stage….. bottling it up and then presenting a bottle to anyone who evinced interest….

at least that’s how I think it started…..because for as long as I remember, there was always a pretty long recipients list…….I am not a very jam friendly person…..and as a totally confused kid, thought it was way better to eat store bought jam…..I couldn’t understand why amma couldn’t make hers as smooth or sweet as what kissan made…..neither could I understand why she insisted on keeping some of it pulpy…..I remember mostly reacting to amma’s jam with a “yuck”…….funny….. because now I can give an arm and a leg for it……life has a way of reminding you how silly you were…..but mostly I am grateful for it!! I still am not big on jams…..I prefer it with pancakes, on desserts or simply mixed into some yogurt to satiate the sweet tooth…..

This was a labour of love that my mother indulged in once a year…..and regardless of how much people praised her and the result, and asked her to go commercial, she would say that all she wanted to do was make her signature plum jam once a year for her kids and she was satisfied…..for the last few years, due to various reasons the jam wasn’t being made, and tho I am not huge on jams and preserves, I was missing amma’s jam….so this year I decided to make some of it for myself….and between several panic stricken phone calls and extreme “I am missing you mommy”, I managed to make the jam….

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