Secrets of our famous Green Chutney
Chutneys and pickles are an integral part of any Indian kitchen. These add just the right finishing touch to any dish you make: whether you’re talking about fried snacks or kebabs from the grill or a tandoor, all you need to take them to the next level are chutneys. They play the same role as relish and dip in Western food, and no household in India can survive without some form of chutney or pickle in their pantry.
My parents live in a different part of India to my sister and brother, but they are still the people responsible for making sure my siblings have enough stock at home. But since Covid imposed restrictions on travel in India, they haven’t been able to do this for the last four months. Eventually, desperation struck and my sister ran out.
This is the power chutneys and pickles have in Indian cuisine: it was an emergency. Even though my sister is very cautious about my parents’ health, even though she has a hard time asking for anything, after much hesitation she called my parents and asked if they could send some by courier. And, because it was an emergency, my dad masked up, put gloves on and got the supplies sent to my sister.
You might ask the difference between a chutney and a pickle. In terms of Indian cuisine, a chutney is made fresh: it doesn’t have a shelf life of more than a day. A pickle, on the other hand, can be stored for more than a year. I won’t talk about the wonder of pickles (and all the preserving techniques) now, because that would be a much longer post. Maybe another time.
The green chutney at our restaurant has been very popular with our customers right from the beginning. Almost every table would ask me for a recipe! Since we started sending our food vacuum packed we’ve tried to figure out a way to pack it and send it out with orders, but eventually we gave up. It really does need to be made and eaten as fresh as possible.
Instead, we’ve planned and designed our starters not to need any additional chutney on the side. But if you ever feel the need for one, or if you just want to know the secret of our famous green chutney, then read on. We decided it’s not fair to withhold the recipe from you all any more, so here goes:
1 1/2 cups fresh coriander, chopped
1/2 cup mint leaves
2 green chillies (or more if you fancy the heat)
1 tbsp diced ginger
2 tbsp lemon juice (add one extra if you love lemon as much as we do)
4 tbsp water
Salt (to taste)
A pinch of sugar (optional)
Blend all the ingredients together in your wet grinder / smoothie maker. That’s it.
But blend this only when you need it: that’s how you get the freshest taste. At the restaurant, during a five hour evening service, we make this twice to make sure it’s always at its freshest.
Tip 1- add 2 ice cubes while blending. This keeps the temperature down and helps stop the greens losing their colour.
Tip 2 - reverse the ratio of coriander to mint and you get a mint chutney. You can substitute ginger with garlic here.