I did not quite expect the sort of controversy that my english speaking tamils post has stirred. I did expect the obvious question from the one-uppers who asked me why my blog is not in Tamil. It’s the easiest, most childish retort to almost anything – “Yeah, so. As if you do it”? Well the answer is that my blog just happens to be in English. I also happen to read Hindu Newspaper, write my office e-mails in English.. I speak in Tamil and I am never embarrassed to speak in Tamil. To say that we shouldn’t forget our mother-tongue, that we need to speak our mother-tongue more often, do I need to do Tamil M.A, speak like Vairamuthu and start a Tamizhar katchi? I am not going to (not that I can), I am not even contesting the local elections, why would I?
I am tired from that speech and I’d love a nice snack. A plate of papdi chaat would sure hit the spot. I hope I am not a tamil-traitor for enjoying a north-indian snack. I made these chaat chutnies a couple of weeks back so that I have them ready when the chaat-wish strikes me.
That is very uncharacteristic of me. I rarely execute ahead of time. But I did and forgot since then to use them except once when I made the Aloo Tikki Chole. That is very much me. These chaat-chutnies are indispensable chaat chutnies. Once you make them ahead and have them ready in the fridge, chaat-making will be a breeze. The sweet chutney especially keeps for weeks together and I love the perky sweet-tart note it adds to chaats. The green chutney doesn’t keep as long. Maybe a week maximum.
Keep the chutnies refrigerated at all times. If too thick, dilute them with water to your desired consistency before using the chutnies. These chutnies would be the basic building blocks for most chaats. So if you’re planning a party, you can quite easily make these ahead of time and create a chaat platter -– pani puri, papdi chaat, aloo tikkichole…
Cooking time: 15 mins (sweet tamarind chutney)
Sweet Sour Tamarind Date Chutney – Ingredients
Tamarind – 2 lemon sized balls
1. In a kadai/wok, heat about 1 cup of water. Add the tamarind and squish with a ladle. Let it come to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove let cool slightly.
2. Grind together the cooked tamarind and dates to a fine puree. Strain to remove strands.
3. Return this dates, tamarind mixture back to the kadai and keep heat low.
4. Dissolve jaggery in about ½ cup water and strain to remove impurities. Pour the strained jaggery mixture into the tamarind-date mixture. Add cumin powder and salt. Mix well and simmer on low for about 5-10 minutes till it is your desired consistency. Switch off. Let cool completely. Then transfer to a perfectly dry container and store refrigerated till ready to use. This chutney keeps well for even weeks together refrigerated.
Green chutney – Ingredients
Mint leaves / Pudina – 1 cup
Lemon juice – from 1 lemon
1. Rinse coriander and mint leaves well. Chop green chillies roughly.
2. Grind together coriander leaves, mint leaves and green chillies to a fine puree. Add lemon juice, salt and sugar and water if necessary. Mix well. Pour into a perfectly dry container with a tight lid and store refrigerated till ready to use. This chutney is best used within a week.