Is any cuisine complete without its sauces and dips. For what's this world without salsa and guacamole, or without ketchup and pesto. Indian cuisine has tens of these sauces (aka chutneys) and hundreds of recipes to go with them, passed down the generations. From this virtual rainbow of dips and sauces, I pick my top five:
1. Green Chutney : It always has coriander and/or mint. Something sour is a given, but the medium varies from dried pomegranate seeds (anardana) to raw mangoes and lemons.
2. Kebab Dip : This version of green chutney has coriander blended with yogurt to give a light green color and a subtly tangy flavor. It is usually served with kebabs, but i love it specially with dal makhani and naan. Or with only naan. Just bring it on...
3. Tamarind Chutney : Tamarind pulp cooked with raw sugar or dates. A must for chaats and bhel, the ubiquotous Bombay street food.
4. More than Ketchup : For our pakoras and samosas, ketchup is just not enough. So the ketchup makers have come up with the spicy Indian variations. My favorite is Tomato Pudina (with mint), but really - anything that's tomato, yet hot and spicy goes.
5. Podi : Simply speaking, it means powder. But the word almost always refers to a spicy red powder that's mixed with ghee to form a dip - a dip that makes your idlis come to life.
There are a lot more - the coconut chutney from South India, the spicy garlic paste that goes into Bombay's own Batata Vada. But while I can't recount the endless list, what I leave this post with is the recipe for my top favorite, the green chutney.
Two recipes, actually! The one featured above is made when raw mangoes are in season. Grind together 1/2 cup coriander leaves, 1/2 cup mint leaves, 1 small raw mango - peeled and sliced, 1 green chilli, salt and 1/2 tsp roasted cumin seeds until everything's turned into a deliciously smooth paste.
This is a very versatile chutney and can be served with rice & dal or with curries. But I like it best on a buttered toast for breakfast. Or in a vegetable sandwich. Since mango is the main ingredient here, this goes to Arundati who is hosting this month's Weekend Breakfast Blogging with the theme Mango Madness
Now for the second recipe. This is my mother's staple and can be made throughout the year. You need 1 cup mint leaves, 1 finely chopped onion, 1 green chilli, a tbsp of anardana and salt. Grind everything together until well blended. This one will have a coarser texture, but is just as delicious!