Peanut/Groundnut chutney – Versatile chutney

I am going to rave about peanut chutney the way people rave about peanut butter. Really, peanut chutney is such a brilliant, peanuttty chutney, it smacks of peanuts. Peanut lovers will love it. I served the peanut chutney with hot, crisp dosais.  Peanut chutney is also a great accompaniment to idli, upma or adai. With a tasty chutney I can down idli/dosai even though we had the same idli/dosai for yesterday’s dinner and possibly yesterday’s breakfast as well. You know the idli/dosai legacy of my family. I love chutneys, not so much sambar. My sister prefers sambar over chutneys. I think these are two fundamentally different people – the chutney lovers and Sambar preferers. Like the sweet lovers and sweet non-lovers. I cannot bring myself to call anyone a sweet hater, so I am calling them a sweet non-lover. I am a sweet loving maniac (I ate one Cadbury bar a day every day during my pregnancy) with a family history of diabetes and a family of irresponsible diabetics and I just don’t understand sweet non-lovers.     I can imagine this peanut chutney making a really good spread for spicy sandwiches instead of the usual green chutney. I think this peanut chutney will be a delightful change but you’d have to pair it appropriately – maybe peanut chutney flavoured spicy chicken sandwich or peanut chutney seasoned fresh cut veggie sandwich. Preparation time: 10 minsCooking time: 7 minsServes: 4 Ingredients Peanuts/Groundnuts – 3/4 cupCoconut – half a medium coconut gratedDry red chillies (long ones) – 4-5Salt to tasteOil – 1 tbsp Tempering Mustard seeds – 1 tspSplit black gram dal/ulatham paruppu – 1 tspCurry leaves – 1 stemOil – 1 tsp Method 1.      Dry roast the peanuts in a kadai/skillet for 5-8 minutes on a low flame till they colour. Be careful not to burn them. Remove from kadai. When they’re warm enough to handle, rub the peanuts between your palms to remove the brown skin. It should fall off easily now that they’re roasted. 2.      Add 1 tbsp oil to the same kadai, drop in the dry red chillies and fry for a few seconds. Then add the grated coconut and the peanuts and fry for 2-3 minutes till the peanuts are slightly browned. 3.      Transfer the roasted peanut mixture to a mixer grinder, add salt and water and grind to a smooth chutney consistency. 4.      Add 1 tsp oil to the...

Kathirikkai Chops – Brinjal/Eggplant pepper masala

Brinjal is on many people’s hate list and there are some who love it. I am in between (always in between – naduvule konjam kaaname pone pakkam). I like it. Brinjal is one vegetable that elegantly carries off traditional Indian curries as well as baked continental fare. It is a very versatile vegetable and there are a dozen ways to cook it. They can be stuffed, baked into casseroles, deep fried like bajjis, shallow fried, stir-fried, pureed into pestos, grilled or roasted. What I am posting today is a simple fried version seasoned by a hot pepper-coconut masala. This Kathirikkai chops is a dry, spicy side dish that goes well with steamed rice or roti. There are lots of brinjals out there – small green ones, small purple ones, the big purple ones and the streaked purple ones are most commonly available. I used the small purple ones. You could try the dish with other varieties of brinjals as well. You never know, with this Kathirikkai chops, the brinjal hater in your family may actually start liking it (or may start hating me). My husband hated yogurt, lassi and other yogurt based dishes and would never touch them until once when he went to the US. He happened to try flavoured yogurt and he realized that he really liked it (as if it’s not available in Nilgiris. He knew but never dared to try it). He has been transformed ever since and enjoys lassi and our very own Nilgiris’ flavoured yogurt also. I dare you to try brinjal. If you don’t like it.. try again later.  Preparation time: 10 minsCooking time: 15 minsServes: 4 Ingredients Eggplant/Brinjal/Aubergine – 1/4 kilo chopped lengthwiseOnion – 1 choppedCurry leaves – 1 stemMustard seeds – ½ tspTurmeric powder – 1/2 tspOil – 1 tbsp + 1 tbspSalt to taste Masala Paste Coconut – 3 tbsp gratedBlack peppercorns – 1-1/2 tspCumin – 1 tsp Method 1.      Heat 1 tbsp oil in a kadai and when hot add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start crackling, add onions and curry leaves and sauté till the onions are translucent. 2.      Drop in the chopped brinjal/eggplant and turmeric powder and let fry for a minute. Cover and cook on low for 5 minutes. 3.      Meanwhile grind together grated coconut, black peppercorns, cumin and water in a mixer to a smooth paste. 4.      Add the ground paste to the brinjal...
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