Summer time means less cooking and more liquid intake. I am constantly looking for the recipes which can be made quickly, are light on stomach and yet can be considered a part of the healthy diet. Dishes that can be eaten at room temperature and are not required to be heated up for the meals. And when I think of such items, the very first thought that comes in my mind is of a chutney. For they really enhance the whole meal experience manifold and don’t take much of work to get ready either.
What is chutney?
It can be described as a spicy condiment (similar to relish or spreads) of Indian origin, made of fruits or vegetables with spices, herbs and sugar. It is usually eaten fresh as it is with Indian breads or curries. A chutney can be in the powdered form or like a relish or even like a spread. There really are almost thousands of recipes for the same, depending on the region and state you have lived in.
This recipe for today is for a chutney that brings in all the childhood memories rushing, whenever I make it. My Naani (grandma) used to make it a lot, along with her speciality- paper thin Alu Parathas. Coming back from the school at noon, all sweaty, tired and very hungry.. having this combo was the one of the best lunch we used to have. Completed by a glass of buttermilk. Mmm.. heaven on earth! I can never reproduce the flavours again, with such warmth and love.
This is a quick recipe, without any much hassle. And is very nutritious too. I used to have it like a side dish rather than an accomplishment. Having bowlfuls just for one meal. And the best part is, it can be eaten hot or cold both ways. So that means less work and more taste 🙂
Apart from being an excellent source of Vitamin C, tomatoes are rich in other antioxidants as well. Oxidants are essential to fight against various diseases like Cancer, skin ailments etc. These are also high in minerals like Folic acid and potassium which are specially required in adequate quantities for women. Being high in fibre, they contributes in keeping problems like Diabetes and constipation under control.
Apart from being good for your heart, skin and stomach; tomatoes are a versatile fruit/vegetable and can be used in various forms of cuisines and courses. I use it almost every day in whatever curry/side I make. Having it on its own as a meal Is rare though.
This chutney has a sweet ‘n sour taste. The tanginess from the tomatoes is balanced perfectly by the jaggery and sugar mix. Juicy tomatoes mixed with jaggery (palm sugar) and mildly sweet spices like fennel. I prepare it using the 5 spice mix known as Panchphoran (what is panchphoran?), but you may obviously skip one or two spices if not handy.
What you need?
- 1 tsp Panchphoran (5 spice mix)
- 1 tbsp Mustard oil
- 7-8 large tomatoes, chopped roughly
- ¾ cup jaggery, broken, crushed or grated
- A small piece of ginger, grated
- 2 tbsp sugar (optional)
- 1 bay leaf
- 2-3 whole dried red chilies
- 1 tsp salt
- 1-1 ½ cup water
How to make?
Heat the oil and throw in all the seeds and the broken red chillies, let the seeds sizzle and red chilies to turn light brown. Take care not to burn them , so keep the gas flame low.
Add the grated ginger, and sauté for a bit. Add in the chopped tomatoes and mix well. Add salt and let it cook for about 3-4 minutes on medium flame.
Add water and cook covered further for 8-10 minutes . The tomatoes should get mushy towards the end and the well-blended with the water.
Add the crushed jaggery and sugar now and cook for another couple of minutes to make a syrupy chutney. Turn off and serve when gets at room temperature.
Accomplishments: Stuffed Parathas with/without raita OR with any sabzi, curry, rice, roti etc. This also can be used as a great relish spread on sandwiches.
The colour of the chutney will darken a bit towards the end after the addition of jaggery.
Do not add jaggery and sugar in the starting, only do after the tomatoes are cooked through properly. If added before than that, they would take longer time to get cooked.
This one is a no onion garlic recipe since this is how Naani used to prepare it. But when I make it for myself, I tend to add a lot of onion into it. Almost half the quantity as tomatoes. The flavour is different and you may take your pick
There is this other chutney which I love spreading on my sandwiches and Parathas: