I first had this Chutney at the Food Cart Fest a couple years back. I had it again this past weekend, while doing a cultural food tour in Surrey. Almost everything we ate, including deep-fried Pakoras and Samosas, came with this incredibly fresh sauce, which did a great job of cutting through the richness of the deep-frying.
It’s very similar to a chimichurri sauce–a combo of fresh, green herbs, acid, sweet and spice.
This would be an amazing condiment with any kind of grilled meat–especially lamb, but you can pretty much pair it with anything, as it packs quite the flavour punch.
I love how herbaceous it is–the freshness of the mint and the cilantro, along with a hit of acid in the form of lemon, balanced with the sweet tamarind, and finally, followed up with the spicy kick of the chilies.
It’s also really easy to make–no cooking required. Just blitz everything together in your blender until it looks like pesto, and voila!
Cilantro Mint Chutney
1 bunch fresh mint leaves
1 bunch fresh cilantro, tough stems cut off
1 green chili pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 cloves garlic
1-2 tbsps lemon or lime juice (or a mix)
1 tbsp tamarind paste
1/4 cup water
Wash the herbs and remove the bigger, tougher stems.
Pack the herbs, garlic, salt and cumin into your blender and pulse to finely chop the herbs.
Add the lemon juice and tamarind, and blend well.
With the motor running, begin to add the water, pouring it into the top of the blender. Add water until it becomes a pesto-like consistency. You may not teen all the water, or you may need a little more to get it to the right consistency. Taste the finished chutney, and adjust for seasonings–add a little more chili if you like it hotter, more tamarind if you like it sweeter, etc.
Last weekend was Diwali. Now, I am neither South Asian, nor am I Hindu. But I live in an incredibly multi-cultural city, and I am a sucker for a “good triumphing over evil” story.
Diwali is a Hindu festival that takes place in the fall. The word “Diwali” means row of lamps, and small oil lamps are the symbol of Diwali. Lighting the lamps symbolizes the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, and, like many holidays, food is an important part of the celebration.
It’s probably no coincidence that this holiday takes place in the fall. It’s now November, and it’s getting colder. Root vegetables are very much in season right now, and I love the warming spices, like cloves, cinnamon, curry and ginger.
This is vegan comfort food. It’s a warming stew which you can make with pretty much whatever you have on hand, and the joy of this is that I can pretty much make it at the drop of a hat, as the ingredients are ones that my pantry is never without. In case you have an unexpected dinner guest…
I serve this with basmati rice (and I add a little coconut milk or some whole cumin seeds to the water) and crispy papadums. You could finish the meal with my Vegan Chai Creme Brûlées.
Vegan Root Vegetable Curry
1 onion, minced
1 thumb of ginger, peeled and minced
4-5 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1-2 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp tumeric
1-2 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp hot pepper flakes (optional)
root vegetables: carrots, yams, squash, peeled and cubed
1 can chickpeas
1 large can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
1 can coconut milk
2 tbsp apricot chutney
1-2 cups water or vegetarian stock
handful of spinach, chopped
salt to taste
cilantro to garnish
In a large stew pot or dutch oven, heat some oil over medium heat. Add the onions and fry about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the ginger and garlic, stir, and sauté for another couple of minutes.
Now add the spices, mix well, and sauté for another few minutes, to get them to release their oils and fragrances.
Next add the vegetables and the can of tomatoes, the chickpeas, the chutney, and one cup of the stock or water. Stir well. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and you are able to pierce them with a fork. Add the coconut milk and stir well, and cook for 10 minutes more. Add the spinach and cilantro, and taste to adjust seasonings.