Thursday, February 10, 2011

Kairi (Raw Mango) and Jaggery Chutney

My Mother makes this AMAZING chutney. Have I said that before?? Well, then this is another AMAZING chutney she makes.  This is a must in every summer, when raw mangoes hit the Indian streets and  it is the season to make pickles  and panha
I bet almost every household has a version of Kairi Chutney and this is my Mom's version, with it's roots in Bijapur and my  paternal Grandmother who may have passed it on to her.
The definition of chutney (A pungent relish made of fruits, spices, and herbs) was probably drawn from this type of recipe. 
Taste, texture you name it, this has it. Raw mango is mouth puckeringly tart and the jaggery balances the sour to seduce your taste buds and make you crave more.

You dip idlis, dosa and wada morsels in it, not content mix it with rice ( plain or with yogurt rice) and you still long for more and slather it on a slice of bread and gobble it up. 
This is one chutney that  may not find it's way in the fridge or if it does not for more than 24 hours ( summer heat makes the coconut smell rancid, so it is safer to keep any leftover chutney in the fridge  after a meal)
My Mom made this very frequently when I visited India last year. I am planning on using frozen raw mango slices to re-create the magic. 

Has anyone used frozen raw mango? Is it as good ( well, as good as frozen can get) or should I say, as tart as fresh raw mango? Do share any tips you may have.

1 Raw Mango / Kairi  (Peeled and cut into small pieces)
1/2 tsp Fenugreek /  Methi seeds
1/2  Coconut scraped / shredded fresh coconut
2 Tbsp. Urid  Dal
1 ½ cup Byadgi Red dry chilies (these are not so hot and  lend color, if using any other variety of dry red chilies, use about 4 and add a teaspoon of 'kashmiri' red chili powder)
Few Curry leaves
1/2 tsp. Asafetida/ Hing
Jaggery ( the amount of jaggery depends on how tart the raw mango is, the quantity must make the chutney sweet-n-sour)

Put 1 teaspoon oil in a pan
Add fenugreek seeds / methi and when the seeds are golden brown, remove and keep them aside to cool down. 
Add  some more oil and roast Urid dal , when it becomes golden brown, remove and keep it aside to cool down. 
Roast Curry leaves in the same oil. 
Roast lightly Red dry chillies in same oil (add 1/2 tsp if needed). Keep it aside to cool down.
Take  the shredded coconut, add  Salt, Asafetida/hing,  Jaggrey, raw mango  and  all  the above  roasted items and blend to a  paste in the blender using water as and if needed ( use a Tbsp.  and add as required)
Serve as an accompaniment to idlis, dosa, wada. 

And now we move on to Sambar. This has to be the BEST sambar ever. I have experimented with loads of sambar recipes and different masalas- the bunch, but trust me this, is the REAL deal! 
A few weeks ago I was on a searching spree for a sambar that reminded me of the Udipi restaurants in Mumbai. 
I had sworn off sambar for months now and the urge to down a bowl full of spicy-tangy goodness was overwhelming. My search was rewarded ( and how) when I landed in Padma's kitchen. 

I was lucky that I had all the required ingredients in the fridge and set to work immediately. 
Here is her recipe with my modifications.

Source: Adapted from Pachakam

Cuisine: South Indian, Karnataka

Prep time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins
Makes: 5-6 people ( in my case 2 )


1 cup Red gram dal/toovar dal/

2 cups mixed vegetables of your choice (Drumsticks/Eggplant/Yellow pumpkin, etc diced or cubed)- (I always have frozen drumsticks on hand, very convenient)
6-8 whole shallots/madras sambhar onions, peeled
1 plum tomato, cut into large chunks ( I used Roma and other times 2 canned whole peeled tomatoes - I puree the tomato)
3-4 green chillies, cut lengthwise-slit
2 tsps tamarind pulp (I used the readymade one here)
1 sprig of curry leaves (optional)
2 tsps of cilantro/coriander chopped¼ tsp turmeric powder/haldi
1 tbsp jaggery, grated
salt as per taste
for tempering /tadaka:
½ tsp mustard seeds

2-3 dry red chillies

¼ tsp asafetida

2 tsps cooking oil

Dry roast and grind to fine paste:
2 tsps of black gram dal/urad dal

2 tsps of cumin seeds/jeera
3 tsps of coriander seeds
½ tsp of fenugreek seeds/methi
4 dry red chillies
¾ cup fresh or frozen (thawed) grated coconut (I used frozen shredded coconut and reduced the quantity to 1/2 cup- personal preference) 
water as required to make smooth paste


Cook the dal with a pinch of turmeric and a tsp of oil in a cooker upto 3-4 whistles, mash it and while its still hot/warm and keep as side.
Meanwhile heat oil in a deep heavy bottom pan to make the sambhar
Add asafetida followed by shallots/madras sambhar onions, green chillies and half of the curry leaves off the sprig, and sauté until the onions become transparent and start to leave the juices.
Add the vegetables of your choice, tomato pieces and turmeric powder, if not adding any vegetables then add more shallots/madras sambhar onions.
Cook covered until the vegetables are cooked with enough water to cover the veggies, take care to retain their shape/texture.
Once thoroughly cooked add the tamarind pulp and cook covered until the raw smell of the tamarind goes off, approx 5 mins.
Add the ground paste, jaggery and salt to taste. Sambhar should not be too thick nor too watery, so add more water if necessary. You will notice that your kitchen is filled with nice aroma of this sambhar.
Once the mixture comes to a boil add the cooked dal, mix well and check for salt.
When the sambhar just begins to boil, switch off the stove. Make sure you don’t boil the sambhar after adding the dal coz the dal will lose its soft texture.

For tempering/ tadka:
Heat a tsp of oil in a small kadai, add the mustard seeds, when it starts to splutter add the dry red chillies, curry leaves and asafetida. fry for a min and pour over the sambhar.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with idlis, dosas, or plain rice.

The first time I made this sambar, I followed the recipe as it is and ended up with 2.5 liters of sambar. I was honestly taken aback! 2.5 liters, how many days would that last us? What if I have bungled up the recipe? what  am I to do if it does not taste as good as it should?

Well, I had no reason to worry, none at all! At the end of the meal, and I kid you not, I was washing the empty sauce pan. Yes, we had finished ALL of the 2.5 liters, every last drop! 
M voted this as the BEST sambar ever and it is an absolute favorite. I burped this update on Facebook and many of my friends wanted the recipe and have had the same results as I did after I forwarded the link on Padma's blog to them. Thank You Padma, for this wonderful recipe.

I served this  Sambar with 'Button Idlis'. these are the regular Idlis, just using a small  tiny molds. The idlis are the size of a quarter and strictly one bite. Perfect for a 2.5 year old, who is currently fascinated by all things small ( like this tiny jeep which zoomed into the picture taking area with a giggly "uh-oh")

And finally, Tahemeem has very generously shared a lovely award with me.Thank you so much! There are however, a few rules and  I apologize that I cannot fulfill the remaining 2 rules  in this post. I will   carry them forward to my next post and  complete  what I am leaving unfinished here. Please bear with me. 
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