When Life Gives You . . .

Yesterday I found myself with a huge bunch of fresh mint and no idea what to do with it. My mom suggested chutney. DUH! Why didn’t I think of that?!? I have been eating Indian food my whole life. I didn’t really like it for a long time and remember sitting in the car with my brother, eating our burgers, while our parents ate Indian buffets. Sometimes the restaurant owners would let us bring our “outside food” inside. The restaurants usually had pink or yellow walls. The soothing sounds of flutes and sitars along with the pungent aroma of spices and basmati rice always filled the air. The food never really interested me, though.

Nowadays, it’s a whole different story. I could live off of Indian food. Most of it is already plant-based, or if it isn’t, just substitute tofu, garbanzos, or lentils for the meat. I never really ventured into Indian cooking because my mom makes the best Indian food, so I would always just ask her to make whatever I wanted. When my mom mentioned making chutney, I set out on a mission. I did not want her help at all. I wanted to create something all my own. This is the end result. I am beyond pleased, and it is so simple to make.

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I used about two handfuls of cilantro and one handful of mint, stems and all. Wash it super well, like, sort through it and pull out the brown leaves. Trust me, they are in there. I rinsed it, let it drain, rinsed again, drained again. While that’s happening, quarter half an onion, one clove of garlic, and 1/4 inch piece of ginger. I quarter everything so it blends better. You don’t want a giant hunk of ginger sticking in-between someone’s teeth! I also cut one green onion into large pieces.

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Use a food processor or blender. A food processor will be much faster. Pack the herbs into the blender, then add everything you just chopped up. Throw in 1/8 teaspoon of ground coriander, 1/4 teaspoon of cumin, salt and pepper to taste, 1 tablespoon each of lemon and lime juice, and as much jalapeno as you can tolerate. I used half an inch of jalapeno, quartered. Add 2 tablespoons of water and blend. If it’s too thick, add more water, a teaspoon or two at a time. Once everything is blended, add 2 tablespoons of shredded coconut and blend it in. I added an extra tablespoon of coconut after blending to give it some texture. Taste it and adjust the acidity or heat by stirring in more lime, lemon, pepper, cumin, or whatever you think sounds good. Let the flavors marry for at least two hours in the refrigerator.

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Recipe:

  • 2 handfuls cilantro
  • 1 handful fresh mint
  • 1/2 medium onion, quartered
  • 1 clove garlic, quartered
  • 1/4 inch ginger, peeled and quartered
  • 1/2 inch jalapeno (adjust more or less to taste)
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin seeds
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • water
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut

Wash the herbs really well. Put everything except the coconut into a blender with enough water to combine. Add 2 tablespoons of coconut and more water if the chutney is too thick. Blend. Stir in the remaining coconut and refrigerate two hours before serving.


 

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