Tuesday, October 17, 2006
One more chutney (Vankaya-dosakaya)
A friend’s mother made this once, and I’ve been sold on it ever since. Mine is not a patch on hers. Anyhow, I think the best thing about these chutneys is the tempering –the brown, crunchy bits of black gram, the cumin and the mustard lend texture to the otherwise soft mix. But again, it’s not as if the chutney doesn’t have texture in its softness – if it hasn’t been whizzed to paste, you can feel the vegetables too. In any case, my friend’s mom’s preparation was a glorious amalgam of purple and yellow, tempering in thick, golden sesame oil pooling in the depressions made by the spoon. I know, I know, oil is not politically correct, but I’m wondering if we should make an exception for pachchadis.
Here’s what you need:
Dosakaya/Round yellow cucumber – 1 (but not a full one if it’s big), sliced rather fine but thick enough to hold its shape Brinjal/Eggplant – ½ a kilo of the long, purple variety, but you can probably use the bigger ones as well – cut into small pieces
Green chilli – 8-10 or more, chopped
Onion – 2 small, chopped
Oil – Ahem! Well, enough to fry the eggplant well, chillies and tempering one after the other
Tempering – Mustard seed, cumin, black gram as much as you like (but not in fistfuls, no), a few curry leaves
Tamarind – marble-sized
Garlic – 7-8 cloves
Fry the eggplant in hot oil till soft, remove and set aside. In the same oil, fry the green chillies. Set aside. Now put in the black gram. As it turns golden, put in the cumin and the mustard seeds, let them pop. Add the curry leaves. Turn off the heat. Cool everything if your mixer’s the kind which should not be used with hot ingredients. Transfer eggplant, chillies and tempering into the mixer jar, add tamarind, garlic and rock salt and use the lowest speed to blend. Do this in very short bursts otherwise you may still end up with paste. Now spoon this into a bowl, mix in the cucumber and the onion. You can add more tempering if you want. Serve with rice and ghee.