Friday, June 22, 2007

Aromatic Dhania

I love the smell of coriander. To me there's nothing that spells freshness quite as much as the scent of this herb. I view it as such a thing of beauty that I hate throwing away even one leaf. I love garnishing dals or vegetables with dhania, dhania chutney with samosas or on a sandwich, in a raita. I even have a great recipe for dhania soup with garlic (another vegetable I love), a portuguese recipe, I believe, which is incredibly sensual with the two intermingled aromas and a dash of good quality olive oil. To me, a perfect lunch in the summer is cucumber salad with lemon juice as dressing, garnished with dhania, and salt and pepper to taste. Easy on the eye, on the nose and on the palate.

I was reading up about coriander for this post and I found that apparently while Latin Americans, Asians and Africans love the taste, some europeans find it soapy and 'like wet bedbugs', because of some genetic predisposition. My heart bleeds for them!

There are 2 variants of dhania chutney that I like. The first one, I call it Rustic chutney, because it is a relatively coarse method. I think the second version is a Gujarati recipe by origin. Both are yummy.

Rustic chutney:

1-2 bunches dhania - stalks and leaves cut up, only discard the roots

3-5 cloves garlic - crushed

2-3 Green chillies, chopped fine

1 cm ginger

Little bit of water - 1/2 cup?

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt to taste

Put everything together in a mortar and pestle, except for the salt and lemon juice and water and pound away - a good stress reliever - until the texture is coarse but the pieces are fine. If you prefer, you could do this in a mixie of food processor but be careful not to grind too fine.

Add the lemon juice and salt and mix well.

Add the water if you want to thin it out a bit.

Tastes great with anything - rotis, bread, crackers, namkeen, rice, yoghurt, uttapam, miniblinis, vadas.....

Gujju chutney

1-2 bunches coriander

Tamarind the size of a lemon, soaked in 1/2 cup hot water

1 tsp sugar

2-3 green chillies

salt to taste

Blitz the coriander and green chillies together with a tiny amount of water until minced fine. be careful with the water quantity - I've gotten it wrong a couple of times and the whole thing becomes runny and tasteless.

Squeeze the tamarind into the hot water it's been soaking in till you get the juice out. Strain the juice out and add it to the coriander. Discard the tamarind pulp.

Now add the sugar and salt and a little more water till you've got the chutney to the right consistency.

Again, tastes great with almost anything!

No comments: