Before going to the grocery, I read over my recipes for chutneys and dipping sauces. I read that for vegetarian Indians, the yoghurt in raita is the main source of protein in the meal. This, of course, inspired some meat-counter panic and I ordered a roast fully twice as big as the butcher recommended. One thing that I love about my friends is that they don’t mind eating in the dark. It took two rounds of charcoal to cook last night’s leg of lamb to medium rare, which didn’t leave much daylight.
Here are my thoughts on the various chutneys and raitas whose prep carried me through a sad, mad afternoon:
Tomato Chutney – cilantro, chopped tomato, lemon juice, salt, some brown sugar, one bird’s eye pepper.
You know how every major religion has some flood/new beginnings story? I’m thinking that most major food traditions have a pico de gallo. Except the Brits, who just have HP sauce. This chutney was refreshing and covered up the complete lack of tomato flavor of Whole Foods’ sale tomatoes. FUWF.
Cucumber Raita* – English cukes (peeled and seeded), whole yoghurt, toasted whole cumin and mustard seeds, finely chopped sweet onion, grated fresh ginger and salt. This was topped with a packaged seasoning mix called Chaat Masala (Shan brand) which was recommended by my new best friend, the Indian grocer man on Spicewood Springs road. You can make Chaat Masala at home if you have dried ground mango, asafetida, and black salt. You could make your own dried ground mango if you don’t have any on hand. If you don’t have fresh mango to dry, you can grow your own – find seeds here.
Mint Raita – chopped fresh mint and yoghurt. That’s it! I used super thick greek yoghurt, and this was delicious.
Coriander Chutney* – one bunch of cilantro, 1/4 cup of dried coconut, some brown sugar, some lemon juice, onion, grated ginger, salt, and tiny hot green chillies all whizzed in the food processor for 60 seconds. This one is a treat – refreshing, interesting, and pretty. The coconut is still toothsome the next day so the texture is fun, too.
Tamarind Chutney* – tamarind, sugar, water, red chili powder, salt, garlic powder, ginger powder, carmel color, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, annatto. Mix together with a spoon, and decant from the jar labeled ‘Swad – best taste in town’. This was one of my favorites, and was so good out of a jar that I will not be attempting a home version.
* Denotes chutneys good enough to eat for breakfast with leftover naan.