Sheilja's Cilantro/Mint Chutney (Pudina)

>> Friday, June 21, 2013

Sheilja's Cilantro/Mint Chutney

This is that fresh and light chutney, sometimes called pudina, that they serve in many Indian restaurants. It can be made right before serving and used as as a dip (we love it with Indian naan, samosas and pakoras) or drizzled over meats before cooking. This also makes an excellent marinade for lamb, chicken, or fish.

We made it only slightly hot because I am a bit of a wimp when it comes to very spicy foods. The chiles used in this recipe are the tiny green spice torpedoes that are smaller than a pinky finger; add more if you like more heat. Be sure to use gloves when you chop them up.

I recently learned that chutney is a word that can be used for all kinds of sauces and condiments. Some are smooth and liquid like this one, some are dry or chunky or preserved. It's similar to all those salsas in Latin American cuisine. Now we have a whole new genre of sauces yet to try!

Yesterday, Sheilja and I went to Devon Avenue on the north side of Chicago, where there is a large population of people from all over India. We checked out the stunningly beautiful saris and jewelry; one shopkeeper invited me to try on a wedding sari, but I was too focused on lunch. The jewelry is 24-carat gold and is a form of insurance or financial security for some Indian women. I didn't see any price tags on the jewelry, so you know what that means! The dresses were between $400 and $1500.

After lunch at a vegetarian Punjabi restaurant, we went shopping at a couple of Indian, Pakistani, and Middle Eastern grocery stores. Sheilja helped me find some yellow lentils (mung daal), fresh flat-bread chappatis, mango pulp for smoothies, and tandoori paste. There are some delicious meals in our future.


3 Cups chopped fresh mint (we used spearmint but peppermint is best)
3 cups chopped fresh cilantro 
2 small Green Chiles, finely chopped 
2 tsp Garam Masala
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tsp Salt (or to taste)
1/3 cup fresh lemon Juice
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp olive oil


Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth.

Makes 2 cups.

Sheilja says, "After the chutney is done, I add 2-4 Tablespoons of plain yogurt to a small amount in a separate bowl.  This gives it the light green color to it and makes it milder for the kids to be able to eat it."


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