All these different chips here have their own unique taste and idiosyncracies – the yam never fails to smell fishy (literally), the sweet potato is excellent but probably doesn’t lend itself well to chipping I see it so rarely, the beetroot takes on a shine, the carrot shows some black in its grain, the okra goes out of shape and the bittergourd, stiffened by the flour it’s dipped in, holds it.
We don’t often pulverize these same veggies into chutney, but there’s no reason why we shouldn’t, as I’ve been discovering slowly. In India, it’s mostly the 'watery’ vegetables such as eggplant/brinjal, gourds and greens that are used for chutney – easy to mash and influence, unlike the starchier, sturdier vegetables which will mash but also stick to the pestle or won’t submit with such ease.
It’s not impossible, though, to chutney-fy them as I have been discovering. I first chanced on a carrot chutney, probably my aunt’s invention/innovation – a tangy, orange affair to which curds and besan lent body, and this beetroot chutney, a friend’s grandmother’s, both in the last three or four years. I’ve always failed with the carrot chutney but the beetroot was a success even when I made it for the first time just recently.
In my previous post, I recounted the story of the lost opportunity in beetroot chutney, but a few of you wanted the recipe, saying it was news to you too, ergo the post.
But before that, I need your opinion on something: I’ve been planning a one-off event for months now, but between wondering how it can be at least a little different from the others going around and finally deciding on one, I am not sure if it will appeal to you all.
It will be called Grindless Gravies and the idea is to come up with a thick gravy WITHOUT resorting to the mixer or grinder or even to heavy-duty grinding by hand, if anyone does that anymore (or grating something long enough to allow it to become pulpy enough to add bulk)– the idea is to find ourselves recipes for fulfilling gravies without the elbow grease. So tell me if this idea appeals to you and help me formulate the terms and conditions and make sure there are no escape clauses and I will announce it formally.
Finally, on to the chutney recipe:
Beets, chopped, boiled until just tender: 2 cups
A lime-sized lump of soaked tamarind
Green chillies: 6, chopped (or less)
Oil: 2 tsp + 1 tsp
Garlic: A few cloves, skinned, split
Mustard seeds: ¾ tsp
Urad dal/hulled, split black gram: 1 tsp
Curry leaves: A few
Cumin seed: ½ tsp
In one tsp of oil, fry the green chillies well. It just needs to wilt a bit so don’t worry if the oil’s absorbed all too quickly.
Temper the other two tsps of oil with the mustard, cumin, then the black gram (wait for it to brown slightly), garlic and the curry leaves.
To the beetroot, add salt, the green chillies, the tempering and the tamarind lump. Put this in a grinder and grind.
You can even do a second tempering with the same ingredients or some of them if you want more crunch in the chutney.
More chutneys here and here
Don’t forget to let me know about the event! You can even write to me at srablogATgmailDOTcom . I would appreciate any input: what to watch out for, what to add, what not to, what else I can do to make it interesting. Thanks!
Beetroot Chutney Tamarind Green Chillies Event