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Category Archives: chutneys/dips/podi/preserves

Celebrating Summer ~ Cooked Green Mango Chutney

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In my resolve to do something constructive with the summer spell, here’s a fabulous chutney made with raw mangoes. Usually in season now and flooding the markets everywhere, raw mangoes are pickled, cooked and used in many dishes. This chutney i first had at amma’s best friend aunty V’s place and i loved it. I asked her for the recipe, and in typical style of home cooks of their generation….she said, a little of this…a little of that… some grated mango….a few red chillies and she found it quite amusing when i kept insisting that she gives me correct quantities…. she obviously ended it with saying… make it and taste it at every stage, then you will know what is missing and how to alter it!! yes it worked….cos i recreated it purely based on the taste i remembered…. It makes a lovely combination with plain mudda pappu (boiled and salted tur dal with a simple tadka). Also with dosa, idlies and even as a bread spread.

Cooked Green Mango Chutney (Serves 4)

1 cup green mango, washed and peeled and cut into small pieces

1/2 cup thickly sliced red onion

1/2 teaspoon methi seeds (fenugreek)

1 teaspoon Jeera seeds (cumin)

salt to taste

2 tablespoons gingely oil

for the tadka

2-3 dry red chillies

1/2 teaspoon each mustard and cumin seeds

1 teaspoon urad dal

a pinch of asafetida


in a frying pan, heat 1 teaspoon of gingely oil add the methi and jeera and saute for 10-12 seconds till the methi is just turning brown. make sure it doesnt burn. Add the mango and saute for 3-4 minutes till it is cooked. Cool and pulse slightly in a blender. ensure it doesnt become a paste. heat the remaining oil in the same pan, add all the ingredients for tadka,  saute till the mustard seeds splutter and the red chillies begin to change colour. Add the onions and fry adding the salt till soft and well cooked. Add the ground mango and cook for about 3-4 minutes stirring all the while till everything is well incorporated. turn off the heat and cool before storing in a dry container. Keeps in the fridge for a week.

Really Hot Red Chilly Pickle ~ Korra Karam Recipe

This is the one K refers to as b@m burning pickle…and as Sig said to me on the photo blog “Bum burning ones are the best kinda food, on the way in that is” . I couldn’t agree more. And while i have had chutney’s hotter than this one, this is the real deal. The one in which you actually grind ripe red chillies with other spices and hope to God you dont touch your nose or eyes or worse, any other delicate part of your anatomy before you wash your hands 3 times with soap!! and unlike Padma’s Tomato pickle, where the red was not from the chilly but from the tomatoes, this one is red and fiery from the chillies allright!!

Around the beginning of summer, Hyderabad is full of fiery red, plump chillies that are sold in heaps and for as long as i can remember, Amma has been making this pickle at this time. When i spotted them in the store a week ago, i gingerly bought a moderate 200 gms to try my hand at them. i must say, they patiently sat in the fridge till i mustered the courage to actually make it!! and now here it is, all hot and sexy on the blog! try it, you wont be disappointed. the best way to eat this pickle is with plain dal and ghee over a little mountain of steaming hot rice. And of course it helps if you have a sound proof loo for the morning after!! (ok…i was kidding!)

Red Chilly Pickle

(makes about 250 gms)

200 grams rip red hot chillies, take of the stem, wash and dry them overnight between layers of absorbent cloth/ paper

when dry, with a dry knife, chop them into 1 inch pieces

50 gms of peeled garlic

50 gms of cleaned tamarind, you can wash the tamarind, remove seeds, string etc and dry overnight between layers of a clean kitchen cloth

salt to taste

To season

4 tablespoons of gingely oil / sesame oil / nuvvula nunne

1/4 teaspoon powdered hing/ asafetida/ inguvva

1/2 teaspoon jeera/ cumin seeds/ jilakarra

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds/ aavalu/ rai

1/2 teaspoon methi seeds/ fenugreek/ menthulu

In a thick bottomed pan or kadai, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and add the peeled garlic and saute till just changing colour. Add the chopped chillies and tamarind and fry for about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave it to cool. When cool, transfer to a blender jar, add the salt and coarsely grind it till it forms a rough paste. it should not have any large bits of chilli, but everything should be of a similar coarseness. Handle with care from this point on. and for god sakes, however great it may smell, dont stick your nose too close to the jar to smell it.

In the same pan that was used to fry the garlic and chilly, add the rest of the oil and heat it. Add all the ingredients for the seasoning except the asafetida/ hing and fry till the mustard splutters, add the asafetida now and immediately add the coarsely ground chilly paste. fry it in the seasoning for about 2-3 minutes, stirring well till everything is incorporated. turn off the heat and leave to cool. When completely cooled down, transfer to a glass, ceramic or plastic vessel / jar with a lid and store refrigerated. This pickle is supposed to stay well if insane amounts of oil are added. i’d rather skip the oil and pop the bottle into the fridge!!

Enjoy with dosa, idli or steaming hot rice & ghee.

Padma’s Tomato Pickle

Let’s get some things out of the way. Don’t be afraid of the colour of this pickle. The colour is the result of cooking the tomatoes for about an hour and not chilly! there are hotter ones on this blog!

I don’t know if this is a pickle or a chutney.  And I am not going to research…. what i do know is that this is a very tasty and flavourful pickle/ chutney with any meal. At office, we have a lady cook. She makes this and we love it so much that we are always asking her to make bottles of it to take back home….a few days ago, my online vegetable vendor listed desi tomatoes at Rs. 4 per kg and i had to buy 3kgs out of sheer delight of finding them so cheap. A big lot of plump, ripe juicy tomatoes made their way home that day and i knew i wanted to try my hand at Padma’s chutney. This is a very simple one to do, you just need to chop up a few ingredients and then cook and cook and cook for about an hour till it reaches a jam like consistency. This chutney needs very little supervision and so you can get on with whatever you are doing as long as you pop in every 20 minutes to give it a stir and cook it on the lowest heat possible so it doesnt splutter and spit all over the cook top!

its yummy with idli, dosa, besan rotis or aloo parathas, but my favourite is mixed into steaming hot rice with a dollop of ghee!!

Padma’s Tomato Pickle (makes about 500 gms of pickle)

about 8 cups or 1.5 kgs of ripe, juicy and red tomatoes, the indian variety is best. Make sure they are not too tart

1 cup of thick tamarind extract (wash and soak a tennis ball sized piece of tamarind in warm water for 30 mins, squeeze to extract the pulp and strain to remove debris)

1/2 cup of peeled garlic pods

3 -4 tablespoons of red chilli powder (adjust according to your spice quotient)

3-4 teaspoons of sugar

salt to taste

6 tablespoons of gingely/ sesame oil

for the seasoning:

1 teaspoon each of mustard/ rai/aavalu and jeera/ zeera/ jilakarra

1/2 teaspoon of fenugreek/ methi/ menthulu/

a pinch of hing/ asafetida/ inguva

15-18 curry leaves

3-4 dried red chillies, broken into halves

In a heavy bottomed pan/ kadai or crock pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil and add the peeled garlic to it. Saute on the lowest heat till they are beginning to turn golden brown. Now add the chopped tomatoes and  tamarind extract and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring a couple of times, till the liquid is beginning to dry up and the tomatoes are cooked. Add the red chilly powder, salt and sugar and cook for another 20-30 minutes on low heat. It will thicken at the edges and reduce considerably, with a wooden spoon, stir a few times. the pickle should look thick and like a jam with just enough moisture to stir. Add about 3 tablespoons of the remainder of the sesame oil and cook another 3-4 minutes. In another pan, heat the rest of the oil, add the fenugreek/ methi seeds and saute till just turning brown, ensure you dont burn them, add the cumin/ jeera and mustard/ rai to it, add the curry leaves and red chillies, saute till everything turns toasty. Take off the heat, add the hing/ asafetida and add immediately to the cooking pickle. Stir well till it is well incorporated. Take off the heat and allow to cool.

Once it is fully cooled, transfer to clean and dry containers, either ceramic or plastic and store in the fridge. If stored in the fridge, this lasts about 2 weeks. ensure that a dried spoon is used and do not leave the spoon inside the container.

this is a very tasty accompaniment with a nice balance of flavours. and the colour is from the tomatoes and not the chilly. 🙂

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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