Friday, July 16, 2010

Green Chutney (again) and More

2 recipes in this post...

Why o why did I make more soup?  It is so hot outside (and, accordingly, inside).  I guess the complicatedness of this recipe enticed me with a promise of really interesting flavors.  And, it's very good, though (I can't believe I'm saying this for once) I think I used too much lime juice: I was making a 1/4 (!!) recipe and may have fudged some of the measurements.  I also did a few unorthodox substitutions: instead of black mustard seeds, I used ground mustard seed; instead of black kalonji onion seeds, I used cumin seeds; instead of curry leaves, I used a few bay leaves; and I just omitted the asafetida in the sambar powder mix.  Someday soon I need to haul myself back up the road to India Sweets & Spices in Atwater Village, which is one of the most fun grocery stores I have been to in my life, and get a few more spices.

You WILL need the biggest pot you have.  And even that might not be big enough.


1 1/2 c green lentils
4 c water
2 TB vegan butter
1 TB oil
1/2 TB coriander seeds
2 tsp black mustard seeds
1 TB black kalonji onion seeds
3 cloves garlic, minced
10 fresh curry leaves
3 chopped potatoes, leave the skins on
1 chopped onion
1 diced carrot
2 cans of chopped tomatoes
1 TB molasses
10 c of water
juice of 4 limes
1 c cashews ground fine
Sambar Powder:
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp fenugeek, ground
salt and red pepper flakes to taste
2 c frozen peas
2 c frozen green beans  

1. Boil the lentils in the 3 cups of water with a hefty pinch of salt until they are completely soft and tender and falling apart
2. While the lentils are cooking, in a HUGE soup pot on medium high heat saute the vegan butter, oil, coriander seed, mustard seed, kalonji onion seed, garlic, and curry leaves for about 5 minutes. Cover the pot with a lid to keep the mustard seeds from popping out!
3. Add the chopped potatoes and onion, and stir around to get coated with the spice/butter mixture. Cook for another 5 minutes.
4. Add the carrot, a very large pinch of salt and pepper, cook for another 5 minutes
5. Add the tomatoes, molasses, and 10 cups water, bring up to heat till almost boiling, and add the lime juice, ground up cashews, and sambar powder. Simmer for 20 minutes
6. Add the peas and green beans and simmer for another 20 minutes
7. Add the completely cooked and soft green lentils and cook for another 10 minutes. Enjoy!  Makes 16 (?) servings.


Last year, I blogged about an unusual green chutney recipe from Vegan Fire and Spice that contains green tomatoes and fruit.  But what I haven't blogged about yet is my quest to find the perfect cilantro/coriander chutney recipe.  I'm talking about the soupy emerald green paste you get at Indian restaurants.  I always end up eating the stuff like ice cream; it's one of my favorite tastes in the whole world.  And all the recipes I find seem so simple.  So why can I never get it?  I've made several recipes like the one in The Asian Vegan Kitchen, which contain cilantro, mint, spices, chilies, and ginger.  Today I tried a new one that omits mint and contains lemon juice and shredded coconut.  Alas...though good, it was too lemony (I used the juice of 2 whole lemons), and not green enough.  I wonder if simply using more cilantro would fix things--"1 bunch" is a little vague (I actually used 2 "bunches" and it apparently still wasn't enough).  I should have measured how much I was using for reference.  Oh, and again, I used ground mustard instead of mustard seed, which I know is something I should avoid, but ever since I made these Gingerbread Cookies I've had SO MUCH ground mustard , and it goes in very few things.

Cilantro Chutney 
(from No Recipes)

1/2 tsp cumin seed
1/2 tsp mustard seed
2 bunches of coriander, large stems removed
1/4 small onion roughly chopped
1/4 c unsweetened grated coconut
1/2" piece of ginger roughly chopped
2 serrano chilies
1-2 lemons juiced
salt to taste


Put the cumin seed and mustard seed in a small heavy bottomed pan and roast over heat until the spices are fragrant, but be careful not to burn them.  Put the spices in a spice grinder and pulverize.
In a small food processor, grind everything together, including the spices.  Add some water if the chutney is too thick, then adjust salt to taste.
Stored in an airtight container in the fridge your green chutney should last at least 1 week.  You can also freeze it in small portions--1/4 c tupperwares are the best!  Makes about 3/4 c.

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