|Chapati - Paratha - Naan|
Back some 15 or 20 years, few in the US seemed to know much about anything so exotic as Garam Masala, and while I had seen and tasted paratha and chapati, it was naan breads that seemed to take everyone's taste buds by storm. Nowadays, most groceries carry Garam Masala in little spice jars as a matter of course, and naan breads are available fresh or frozen. We've advanced far beyond Chicken Tikka. All those years ago, I lamented the lack of ingredients to make some of the recipes I wanted to try, and still, at that time, north Indian cuisine seemed to be all-encompassing. Little did I know!
It wasn't until about 10 years ago that my husband and I went to an Indian restaurant while on vacation, and as I perused the menu, saw some things I was unfamiliar with. Our server asked what kinds of things I liked to eat, and when I mentioned some that were particular favorites, he asked if I had never tried southern Indian cuisine. I asked what that meant - what is different? He laughed and said just about everything! I asked him to suggest something for my meal then, and he did, and it was delightful, though at this remove I cannot recall what it was. But that was the very first time I encountered an indication that all Indian food was not that northern Indian Mughlai style. It was still many years until I found enough of recipes and information to educate myself a bit more on southern Indian cooking.
Meanwhile, I have learned that southern Indians prefer lots of lentils and dal dishes, Idli and crepe-like dosas and appam, which are (still) on my list of things to try (instead of parathas, chapatis or naan). Lentils, dal or other soupy style dishes are most common, and are also breakfast fare. Many dishes are made in a very thin soup style, rather than the richer, thickened sauces of the north. Other oils are used for cooking, and mustard oil is common. Tamarind is a common souring ingredient, and curry leaves are often used in dishes.
Last year, I read Padma Lakshmi's book, "Love, Loss and What We Ate." I have
|My S.E. Indian Green Mango Chutney|
I somehow still had a half jar of that chutney left tucked in a back corner of my fridge, when I made an Indian meal for the three fishing buddies that came to stay at our place last week. One of the guys was most particularly taken with that chutney (his palate may be more Indian-aware, as he has Indian neighbors, and opportunities to sample!), and when the meal was done, he kept serving tiny portions more of that chutney and eating it with my naan bread. I finally told him to please just finish it off, as it was really time to start a new batch. He gladly complied! So now, with no chutney left, I felt it was time to look over the recipe and try it again.
|Mango Chutney British Style|
|Panch Phoron Spices|
When researching Kanchanomer Tok, I found almost no mention of this mixture coming from anywhere other than Bengal, and the spelling has so many variations it is hard to keep track. Kanchan Aamer Tok. Kancha Aam er Tok. Kancha Amer Tok. Kanchan Amer Tawk. You get the picture! But apparently, it is made in other areas than Bengal, since Padma is from Tamil Nadu. In looking at the recipe, I chose to do a couple of things differently.
|S.E. Indian Green Mango Chutney|
Since the mangoes I was using are far from the very green ones called for, I added in both lime zest and juice to add a sour note. I added in some ginger, though I saw it used in only one recipe I saw online. Some recipes I read used only brown mustard seeds, and some used Panch Phoron, as did Padma. Some added in more chili, some less. This time, since this chutney will not quite do for my husband's palate anyway, I added far more chili to the mixture. This is, of course, always optional. Some people used hing / asafetida, and others do not. Sugar is used, though usually jaggery. Brown sugar may be substituted. Though sugar is used, it is still not of the type of sweetness as of my former Mango Chutney. Some people add in a lot of water, making it a soupy mixture, and others use very little, if any. So, finally, here is what I did:
|S.E. Indian Green Mango Chutney|
S.E. Indian Green Mango Chutney
Makes about 2 - 2½ cups
1¾ pounds green mangoes
1-inch piece fresh ginger, cut in tiny julienne
1 lime, zest and juice
¼ teaspoon black salt (or regular salt)
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon hot pure chili powder, or cayenne
1 tablespoon mustard oil, or other cooking oil
1½ teaspoons Panch Phoron
1 dried red chili pepper, whole
½ teaspoon asafetida, optional
¾ cup jaggery, palm sugar, or brown sugar
Wash and peel the mangoes. Slice off the flesh and cut into long strips, or into small cubes, as desired. Place in a bowl along with the ginger, lime zest and lime juice. Sprinkle on the black salt, turmeric powder and hot chili powder (NOT the chili powder used for making chili con carne). Stir and set aside while preparing the remainder of the recipe.
|Fruit - Spices - Mixing|
Pour the mixture into a very clean glass jar and seal. Once cooled, store in the fridge. My first batch lasted perfectly for about a year, though this is probably not recommended.
My passion is teaching people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and passing along my love and joy of food, both simple or exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. I would love to hear from you, to help me continue my journey to explore diverse culinary experiences and hopefully to start you on a journey of your own. Join me also at A Harmony of Flavors on Facebook, and Pinterest and sign up for my Newsletter.