Monday, October 04, 2010

Raw shallot coconut chutney

I love getting my hands on the “chinna vengayam” (Tamil for “little onions”), also known as sambar onions. I guess they’re a variety of shallots common in India - pungent, purple and perfect for sambar, especially arachuvitta sambar(hence the description “sambar onions”). While I can and do get SOME Indian vegetables from an online Indian grocery site and expect them to be in reasonably good condition, I’ve been wary of buying these little purple fellas – mainly because the site itself warns buyers that “due to bad weather and other unfavourable conditions, the quality of these onions is not good” – or words to that effect. If the sellers themselves describe the onions as “not good”, I figure they’re practically rotting from the inside out (the onions, not the sellers), as onions do.

So a trip to London with Pete is always made the more exciting because I know that I’ll get the chance to visit a Sri Lankan shop and gloat over all the authentic South Indian produce – podalangai (snake gourd), palakottai (jackfruit seeds), chenai kizhangu (elephant yam) and so on. I don’t always buy these vegetables; hell, I may not even like some of them, but I certainly like the fact that, if I suddenly developed a craving for any or all of them, I could indulge myself. The fact that the vegetables are all available is what I find thrilling.

Anyway, I never come away from the Sri Lankan shops without buying about a kilo of the chinna vengayam. As I’ve said in other posts, they’re not fun to peel, being fiddly little things that leave your fingers and nails smelly for a while. But they’re worth the time and effort, because of their flavour and taste. Plus, once they’re peeled, they can be placed in a Ziploc bag in the vegetable compartment of the fridge… and they stay good for at least a month, ready for use. Sambar made with these little shallots is SO special!

They’re also, as I discovered, absolutely lovely in coconut chutney. This is possibly the simplest chutney ever, because it involves no cooking. And if you don’t want to do the tadka or seasoning, it’s simpler still. With these shallots, a little goes a long way so I only needed a few for the chutney… but the delicate flavour and aroma they added was awesome. Yum.

Recipe for:
Raw-shallot coconut chutney

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Ingredients:

1/4 cup grated fresh or frozen coconut
3-4 green chillies (or to taste)
3 or 4 small shallots
1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp urad dal
4-5 fresh or frozen curry leaves
a pinch asafoetida powder
salt to taste

Method:

1. Grind the coconut, shallots and chillies together with a little hot water, till smooth.

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Remove to a serving bowl.

2. Heat the oil in a small pan and add the asafoetida powder, mustard seeds, urad dal and curry leaves. Cover the pan and let the mustard seeds pop, then uncover and stir. When the dal is pale golden brown, turn off the heat.

3. Pour over the ground coconut mixture,

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add salt to taste and stir till well mixed.

Serve with dosas, idlis, upma, chapaties etc.


RECIPE: RAW SHALLOT COCONUT CHUTNEY

Ingredients:
1/4 cup grated fresh or frozen coconut

3-4 green chillies (or to taste)
3 or 4 small shallots
1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp urad dal
4-5 fresh or frozen curry leaves
a pinch asafoetida powder
salt to taste

Method:
1. Grind the coconut, shallots and chillies together with a little hot water, till smooth. Remove to a serving bowl.
2. Heat the oil in a small pan and add the asafoetida powder, mustard seeds, urad dal and curry leaves. Cover the pan and let the mustard seeds pop, then uncover and stir. When the dal is pale golden brown, turn off the heat.
3. Pour over the ground coconut mixture, add salt to taste and stir till well mixed.
Serve with dosas, idlis, upma, chapaties etc.

4 comments:

Hari Chandana said...

Simple and delicious chutney Shyamala.. awesome snaps :)

Blessed Rain said...

that sounds amazing!

Medifast Coupons said...

A great chutney recipe. If I made lots how long do you think it would keep in the cupboard or would it have to go in the fridge.

subbudu said...

Ahh!! you may know already, but there is a trick to peeling shallots.
It has made my life better and my wife was impressed with me the first two times I did it.

http://startcooking.com/blog/202/How-to-Peel-Pearl-Onions