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Showing posts with label chutneys. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chutneys. Show all posts

April 29, 2018

Onion Relish for Sakinalu

I love chatting up my ammamma (maternal grandmother) on the phone. You know why? Because she tells the best stories. Stories about her childhood, about her hometown in Telangana (state in southern India), and her favorite dishes. 

She made the long journey from India to US and is currently staying with my family. I'm so happy because I can go visit her whenever I want to and listen to more of her stories. She always has something new to tell me. 

My favorite part of the conversations are always about food. She knows how much I enjoy cooking and trying new dishes and snacks. A popular Telangana snack is sakinalu.  

Sakinalu served with onion relish
Sakinalu is circular in shape (as shown above) and is crispy and crunchy. It is made with rice flour, some spices, sesame seeds, carom seeds, salt and is fried in oil. 

My ammamma used to get this snack especially made for us whenever we visited her in India. Her relatives made kilos of this snack, packaged it in gallon sized ziplock bags and distributed to all the family. It's best when eaten within a month's time otherwise it will go stale. 

Sakinalu can be enjoyed on its own or with onion relish or chutney (shown below).

The main ingredient or highlight of this relish is the onion, hence the name. It's best to use sweet onions but if those are not available, you can also make with regular onions as well. Check out the recipe for the relish below: 

1 large (about 4" wide) white or sweet onion, finely chopped
1/4 tsp chili powder (adjust to taste)
1/4 tsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt (adjust to taste)
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1-1/2 Tbsp dry coconut powder, grated

Heat oil in a medium saucepan on low and add chili powder. Stir for 15 seconds and then add onions, brown sugar and salt. Continue to cook on low heat stirring frequently for 10 to 15 minutes or until the onion is well cooked and water is evaporated and the chutney comes together without sticking to the pan. Next add the coconut powder and mix well. Cook for an additional minute and remove from the stove. 

The spicy and sweet flavors in this relish pair well with the Sakinalu. Sometimes, I wonder...which do I love more? Sakinalu or the relish...especially since I put a teaspoon of the relish on each of the piece of the snack. At this rate, I usually run out...but I can always make more because now I have recipe. 

Whenever I eat this snack, I think of my ammamma and all of her stories...looking forward to seeing her again soon...

How do you enjoy sakinalu? What chutney do you eat it with? Drop us a comment. 

March 18, 2012

Tangy Tomato Chutney

Who says you can't play with your food and eat it too? These idlis really know how to "chill" out and soak in the flavor! Can't wait to pop 'em in my mouth!

One of my favorite South Indian dishes is Idlis. They are savory steamed cakes made with husked black gram and rice. You'll never find idlis without the accompaniment of the chutney powder and/or sambhar. However lately, I've been craving for something different; that's not traditional and doesn't require a lot of preparation. We experimented with a few ingredients and came up with another option. It's called Tangy Tomato Chutney and it's also a great dipping sauce for vadas, dosas, garelu (mini lentil patties) and even paratha

Chutney Ingredients:
  • 1½ lbs Firm Red Tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 to 4 Green Chilies, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp Mustard Seeds
  • ½ tsp Whole Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tsp Brown Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Peanut Butter
  • ½ tsp Turmeric
  • ½ tsp Salt, adjust for your taste
  • 1 tbsp Vegetable oil, for seasoning

Heat oil in a saucepan and add mustard and cumin seeds. When they splutter, add green chilies and mix well for a minute. Add chopped tomatoes, salt, brown sugar and mix well. Cook them under closed lid for 5 to 6 minutes and let the mixture cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Then blend the cooked vegetables along with peanut butter under pulse mode to making sure all ingredients are mixed well. Once it reaches a smooth consistency, transfer the sauce into a serving dish and enjoy with your favorite dish. 

September 5, 2011

Ginger & Coriander Relish

The most popular relish in the United States is made with pickled cucumbers and it's commonly used on hot dogs or burgers. In Indian cooking, relishes or chutneys can be eaten with just about anything. There's one in particular that we prepare on Ganesh Chavithi that goes great with steamed rice and lentil dumplings and that is Ginger and Coriander relish. Along with the dumplings, this chutney goes great with moong dosa, namkeen (savory) pongal, and sooji (semolina) upma.

The main ingredients of course are ginger and coriander. The only prep work involved in this recipe is chopping up the coriander and soaking the tamarind.

- 4" piece of Ginger, peeled and grated
⅓ bunch (1 ½ cups chopped) of fresh Coriander/Cilantro
¼ cup of Chutney powder
- 2 tbsp of Brown Sugar/Jaggery
- Size of a lemon of Tamarind or (1 tbsp if using concentrate)
- 1 tsp of Salt (to be adjusted per taste)

Remove any seeds and soak the tamarind in ½ cup of warm water for 15 minutes (if using concentrate, then skip this step). Next blend all the ingredients together on high speed to a smooth paste. If needed, add additional water to make a paste. Lastly, sample the chutney to check for salt and desired sweetness. Adjust as needed.

I think I'll go have some dumplings with the chutney...see you later!

February 28, 2011

The "Other" Dosa Chutney

Masala Dosa at Chennai Garden, NYC
What a lovely sight, indeed! Above is a great example of a dosa. It is a kind of crepe which is most commonly made from fermented rice and urad dal batter. Usually, most South Indian restaurants serve dosas with sambar, fiery chutney powder, and coconut chutney.  In my experience, the sambar is usually too spicy and so is the chutney powder. The coconut chutney is okay if it's properly made and sometimes, it's too watery which ruins the taste of the dosa. And that is why I have to speak out. I know of another chutney that deserves to take center stage and push the coconut one aside. It's creamy, a little tangy and sweet and oh so flavorful. I used to think this chutney recipe was a well kept secret but my mom only told me recently that variations of it are served in restaurants in Southern India. I guess it's not a secret anymore.
Yummy Peanut Chutney!
Feast your eyes on the one and only chutney that should be accompanied with the rice and urad dal dosa. 

1 cup of Peanuts
2 Dry Red chillies (or 1 tsp crushed red chilies)
1" ball of Dry Tamarind or 1 tbsp of Tamarind Concentrate
1 tbsp of Jaggery or Brown sugar
½ Salt tsp or as needed
1 tsp of Vegetable oil

1) Fry peanuts and chillies in oil on medium heat to low heat until peanuts give out the roasted aroma. It should take about 6-7 minutes.

2)  If using tamarind, use sufficient water to cover it and microwave it for 15-20 seconds. Allow it to soak for 5 minutes; this will loosen it up so you can squeeze the juice out.

3) Blend peanuts and chillies to a fine powder. Then add salt and brown sugar. Squeeze the juice out of soaked tamarind and add the juice to the mixture. Next, add water to make the mixture wet and blend it to a smooth paste. Taste the chutney to adjust salt or brown sugar as needed and remove from the blender.

Quick Tips 
- You can also season the chutney with mustard seeds, jeera and curry leaves. It gives it that extra kick. 

I know you're dying to make dosas now, just so you can dip the dosa into this creamy and "nutty" chutney. Check out India on a Griddle: A Savory Dosa Recipe Worth the Effort

September 27, 2010

Sweet And Sour Toast

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and he mentioned having an Okra smoothie for breakfast. He said it was delicious and very healthy. I took his word for it and made sure not to ask for the recipe. He's a bit of a health nut, so he is always on the lookout for nutritious meals. I'm not saying I'm into unhealthy stuff but I cross the line at green gooey shakes.  My usual day starts with toasted wheat bread and a glass of orange juice.

So on one of  my daily breakfast sit downs, it hit me. My breakfast meal is already healthy but it lacks pizazz. Then my mom told me that she also eats toast in the morning but tops off it off with some chutney.  She said that she was sick of eating it with peanut butter or jelly everyday. That's an interesting idea, I thought.  

And so I present to you my new breakfast item:  Toast with Chinese Okra Chutney

Chinese Okra
- 3 Chinese okra/ Tori / Squash, approx. 8-10” long
- 1 tbsp of Tamarind pulp, (use the bottled brand)
- 1 tbsp of Peanut butter
- 2 tbsp of Idli podi*
- 1 tsp Salt, or as needed
- Half tbsp of Brown sugar
- 2 Green chilies

Peel the squash and cut them into 1-inch cubes. Then cut the chilies into two pieces. Saute the squash along with green chilies in a sauce pan along with salt and turmeric until soft. Set aside to cool. In a blender or food processor blend the squash mix along with all other ingredients listed.  Adjust the salt and sweetness as desired. It tastes great as a spread on toasted bread slices because it has the sweet and sour flavors blended together in one. And you can serve it with hot rice/ rotis or use it as a chutney or relish with any appetizers.

*If idli podi is not available the following powder can be used as a substitution. In tablespoon oil roast 2tbsp coriander seeds (dhania), 2 red chilies and 2 tbsp chana dal. Powder them to a coarse grain along with salt.

September 17, 2010

It's September - Time To Spice Up Condiments

If you have ever been to an Indian restaurant, one thing everyone can count on is the different kinds of chutneys (sauces) that are served with the food. The last time I went to this restaurant called Dosa Hut, the waiter brought over my Masala Dosa order with 3 chutneys. I tried all of them and in end stuck with the coconut one which wasn't too spicy.

In 2008, my family and I went back to my native country (India) for vacation and had the time of our lives. Since we haven't been back in a while, a lot has changed; especially the restaurants scene. A lot of new places popped up and enticed customers with their unique dishes. I couldn't believe my eyes when our relatives took us to this restaurant in Himayatnagar (suburb in Hyderabad) for lunch.  The restaurant's name is Chutney's. Hmm, I wonder what they are famous for? Below is a picture of the chutneys that were already placed on our table before we ordered our entrees. More chutneys accompanied our dishes so we had a loads to choose from. It was fun trying different chutneys or sauces with our dishes. I will definitely go back to this place when I visit again.

So in light of our trip to Chutney's, we've decided to dedicate the month of September to chutneys and raitas.  

In the US, most people know of  chutneys as sauces that are served with food like condiments (mustard sauce and ketchup). And for the most part, they are right. Tamarind and coriander chutneys are used like condiments on top of snacks like chaat, samosas, tikkis, and other such foods. However, in South Indian cooking, there are other types of chutneys that we prepare which are eaten with rice and/or naan. These chutneys are more like curries that are more hearty and flavorful. Below are a few that we whip up often for their nutritious value and taste:


Raitas (Yogurt based)

July 14, 2010

Green Mango Chutney

Before I begin this new post, I must apologize to our fans for being MIA for a couple of weeks. We've been busy cooking and perfecting some interesting dishes for you to try over this hot sultry summer. And of course a lot of these dishes are cooked with "green" ingredients to keep you healthy.

Now I know most of you know about the mango pickles that are found at the Indian stores by different brands such as Mother's, Priya, or Ruchika. They all make pickles with various ingredients such as garlic, gooseberry, and achar. The most common and popular ingredient is green mango because it tastes great raw but when mixed with other spices, it tastes even better. The chutney I would like to share with you is different; and by different I mean it's not pickled in oil and chili powder like the ones you find at the Indian stores.

If you are like me, you love dabbling with recipes that are somethin' to talk about. Try your luck with this one: Green Mango Chutney.


- Firm Green Mango....................... 1 medium size
- Fresh grated coconut.................... ½ cup
- Brown sugar / Jaggery.................. 1 tbsp
- Red chili powder.......................... 1 tsp
- Turmeric Powder......................... ½ tsp
- Salt.............................................. 1 tsp or as needed

Also, like most "karis" that we make, chutneys get their extra little kick from the seasoning or the Taalimpu that we add at the end. You may also recognize the word kari I just used because Alton Brown did an episode about it in one of his seasons. It means curry in English. I just thought I would throw in some of my Food Network knowledge for all you Hardcore Foodies.

Anyways, so get all your seasonings ingredients together too (hint: a Taalimpu or Chaunk box is very handy):

- Asafoetida powder...................... 1 pinch
- Mustard seeds............................. 1 tsp
- Cumin seeds................................ 1 tsp
- Curry leaves................................  5-6 leaves
- Vegetable Oil............................... 1 tbsp


1. Peel the mango and grate it all.

2. When using frozen grated coconut, remove the required amount and allow it to come to room temperature or microwave for few seconds.

3. In a blender add all the chutney ingredients and blend them to get uniform mixture (do not over blend to a fine paste). Try to get it to the consistency as illustrated in the picture below.

4. Taste it to adjust the salt and brown sugar to meet the desired taste. Note: if the mango is sweet, you could use ½ tsp of citric acid to bring in the sour taste.

5. Transfer the contents into a bowl.

6. Heat the oil for seasoning and when hot, add mustard and jeera and when they begin to crackle, add asafoetida and curry leaves. Mix well and add the seasoning to the chutney and mix well.

7. Serve the chutney with hot white rice. It is normally eaten by mixing the chutney into the rice with a splash of oil for added taste.