Food Memories: Pudina Chutney (Mint Chutney)

Food is all about memories. It transports you to a different time and place. Different foods take me back to different places and people around the world and today when travel is difficult, I travel back in time with food. Memories of food are not about the food alone, but the people you shared it with. A lot of times I may forget the place or restaurant, but when I think of the dish, flashbacks of the people, the place we sat, the ambience; all comes back.

When I see mint, I remember chutney sandwiches. My parents made it quite often when I was a kid. My mom and dad both worked in Physical Education. My mom was as a PE lecturer in a college and dad worked in the university and retired as the dean. My dad on top of having a full time job at the university, would help my mom coach in the morning (before work) and evenings and often helped her in the kitchen. They both were passionate about their work. As a kid, I was taken to all the tournaments after school and sat on the sidelines while they coached.

Every year, they accompanied students to the Kanteerava Stadium for the annual athletic competition which was for two days, I think. I as usual accompanied them. I remember being really young, maybe kindergarten. I remember a picture (which I cannot find) in a white frock, where I was standing next to the winners on the podium as I was the holding the tray with medals. They would wake up early and make the mint chutney for the sandwiches. My mom would spread it on white bread. I recently asked her about it and she said they would buy 2 loaves of bread for this and most of the times my dad would make the chutney. I remember them making a huge batch for students for their lunch. Her secret was a pinch of jaggery (brown sugar) while grinding the chutney. I recently got the recipe from her.

Last summer I planted two varieties of mint in the garden on the side of the house. I knew they would grow wild but did not mind it. This year they are growing really well, not taken over but still quite a lot of mint. I am using them in salads, tea, mojito, chutneys, pulao, as marinades and giving away to anyone who wants them.

Here I have two mint chutneys, one with coriander and the other with onion. Coconut in both is optional; but coconut gives it a creamy consistency. If you plan to store the chutney for a longer time (in the fridge, of course), leave out the coconut. They go well in a sandwich, just as or with thinly sliced tomatoes and cucumbers. It also goes well with idlis and dosas or a side for samosas.

Mint Chutney (Great as a spread for sandwiches)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 2-3 green chillies (depending on spice level)
  • 5-6 shallots
  • 3 tbsp fried gram lentils
  • 1/4 tsp tamarind paste
  • 1/4 cup grated coconut (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp jaggery or brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • To temper (optional)
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 5-6 curry leaves (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida powder

Directions

  • Wash and rinse mint. Peel shallots
  • Grind all ingredients other than the ingredients for tempering to a fine paste. Transfer to a bowl and set aside
  • Take 1 tsp oil. Add mustard, asafoetida and curry leaves. When mustard seeds splutter, pour over chutney and serve. (optional)
  • Serve with idli, dosa or a spread for sandwiches. Spread on tomato slices or cucumber slices for a keto friendly option
  • This chutney can be used in bhel or as a side with samosas

Coriander Mint Chutney

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coriander leaves/ cilantro
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 2-3 green chillies (depending on spice level)
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 3 tbsp fried gram lentils
  • 1/4 tsp tamarind paste
  • 1/4 cup grated coconut (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup water
  • To temper:
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 5-6 curry leaves (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida powder

Directions

  • Wash and rinse cilantro and mint
  • Grind all ingredients other than the ingredients for tempering to a fine paste. Transfer to a bowl and set aside
  • Take 1 tsp oil. Add mustard, asafoetida and curry leaves. When mustard seeds splutter, pour over chutney and serve
  • Serve with idli, dosa or a spread for sandwiches or even as a dip

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