Mint Chutney – Recipe from Spices & Seasons by Rinku Bhattacharya
I’ve always loved listening to the radio while driving – ever since my parents reluctantly allowed me to start driving at 17, simply because they didn’t think they could put off the inevitable any longer. Music had always been something I enjoyed a lot. A few years back, though, I decided there was nothing for me on today’s radio, so I stopped even bothering to turn it on. Then Adele hit the scene and made me excited about music again. She was fresh, exciting, and delightfully different from everything else.
She woke music up.
I often think about world cuisines along the same sort of lines. If we were to eat the same things over and over and over again, our culinary lives would become just as stale, uneventful, unexciting, and bland as music had become pre-Adele. Mixing things up for your family, as well as your own taste buds is a deliciously smart thing to do.
I home schooled our daughters all the way through school and when they were growing up, I’d incorporate whatever region we were studying into our family meals. Hmm, I guesss that’s why they were extra excited whenever we studied Italy. It wasn’t my lessons, it was my food!
I still love to incorporate as many “tastes of the world” into our meals as possible and Indian food has become a new obsession. When you try different cuisines, you discover a whole new world of flavors and tastes and when it comes to Indian food, it’s an uncommonly beautiful experience.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be telling you more about a new cookbook that’s making my quest for fresh and exciting recipes and meals as easy as it gets. The book is Spices & Seasons: Simple, Sustainable Indian Flavors by Rinku Bhattacharya. I’ll share a few recipes with you from the book and you’ll soon see that this is a cookbook you simply must get your hands on.
The first recipe is for something I had honestly never made before, Chutney. Don’t let the word Chutney intimidate you and, by all means, don’t let the word mint turn you away. If you’re anything like me, you only think of mint as something beautiful in your herb bed and pleasant in your tea. I’m so narrow minded when it comes to mint that I was tempted to leave the mint out of this recipe! Seriously, I thought, “Hmph. Mint goes in tea, I’ll just replace it with nice innocent parsley.”
In the end, good common sense won out and I left the recipe as it was intended to be prepared, and it knocked my socks off. The flavors are so intense, fresh, unique, and delicious. Trust me, you don’t want to replace the mint in this recipe – this is a perfect 10 recipe and I can’t wait to make it again.
I ate mine (of course) with Gluten Free Rice Crackers (Nabisco’s Gluten Free Rice Thins are won-der-ful) but I provided flat bread for everyone else. Everyone loved it and they, too, can’t wait for me to make it again!
Classic Green Mint Chutney
Green mint chutney is a classic, popular staple, omnipresent next to snacks, particularly in the summer months. This recipe is a very simple free-form variation of the classic recipe. There are other creative variations using tomatoes, green mangoes, and the works, so I encourage you to create and innovate to suit your fancy. Mint by itself in this recipe can have a bitter aftertaste, so it is tempered with cilantro. You can mix and match other herbs as desired. This chutney can be used as a condiment or sandwich spread, or can be added to sauces.
Prep Time: 10 minutes | Makes: 2 cups
1 bunch cilantro leaves (about 3 cups of leaves; tender stems can also be used in this recipe)
2 bunches mint leaves (about 11⁄2 cups)
2 green Serrano chilies
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 teaspoon black salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons oil (such as mustard or canola)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- Place the cilantro, mint, green Serrano chilies, cumin powder, salt, black salt, sugar, oil, and lime juice in the bowl of a blender.
- Grind mixture until smooth. This chutney will keep for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator, but the color will darken due to the lime.
It is important to ensure that the mint leaves used for this chutney are tender or they tend to add a bitter taste to this condiment.
This chutney can be mellowed by adding 11⁄2 tablespoons of yogurt or coconut milk as a vegan option. If adding yogurt you can skip the lime juice.
Another variation is to add some blanched peanuts or almonds.
Ideas for Serving the Chutney: Flatbread, grilled shrimp, crackers, toasted bread wedges…