Spicy, green mint chutney is a popular staple on the Indian table, particularly in summer.
If you follow this blog, you know I love condiments I can have on hand to make great meals in minutes. This powerful little condiment, Classic Mint Chutney from Spices and Seasons: Simple, Sustainable Indian Flavors was the perfect partner this week since we’re having super-hot temperatures here in Northern California. Fog is the AC for most of us here, so when it’s in the 90’s, cooking in the kitchen ranks pretty low on the list of things I most want to do. Only slightly above jogging in the heat wearing a coat.
I was invited by Hippocrene Books, a well-known publisher of international cookbooks, to participate in a Blog-off to celebrate the new release of Spices and Seasons, by Rinku Bhattacharya. As it happens, Rinku is a friend and fellow blogger, at the Cooking in Westchester blog, who I met in one of Molly O’Neill’s fabulous writing classes for bloggers. So when I saw that we would be celebrating her latest book, I immediately hopped on board. One of the things I like most about blogging is how it connects so many of us who would never cross paths with one another. Rinku is one of those friends for me.
Gardening is a family affair in Rinku’s household. Their backyard garden has been a way to have fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables on hand, and to teach her two young children about eating healthy and sustainably. And that garden, along with farmers markets, is front and center in her new book. Rinku’s first book, The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles, was the winner of the 2013 Gourmand Cookbook Award for “Best Indian Cuisine Cookbook” in the US, and I have no doubt this new book will be award-winning as well.
Over the next couple of weeks, a group of us bloggers will cook from the book and share a couple recipes with you. This week we’re all making Classic Green Mint Chutney. Next week we select anything we want from the book to showcase. Then at the end of the month, we’ll all be hosting giveaways on our blogs for our readers to win a copy of the book! So come along for the ride and a chance to win a copy of this wonderful book!
And now THE FOOD !!
This is a spicy chutney that’s ready in minutes. If you want a little less spice, seed the Serrano chiles before adding them to the blender or food processor. Rinku also suggests adding a little yogurt, which is the path I took. In this dish, I tossed the chutney with whole grain Basmati rice for an Indian take on the Mexican classic arroz verde, and topped it with a salad of tomatoes and nectarines, perfect fare for a hot evening. Tonight I plan to stir the chutney into chickpeas with a cucumber raita on the side and some flatbreads for dipping into more chutney.
Go check out Hippocrene’s site for links to the other bloggers and see how they used this chutney for more ideas!
Serves: Chutney recipe makes 2 cups; Rice/salad dinner serves 4
- 1 bunch cilantro leaves (about 3 cups of leaves; tender stems can also be used in this recipe)
- 2 bunches mint leaves (about 11⁄2 cups)
- 2 green Serrano chilies
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1 teaspoon black salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons oil (such as mustard or canola)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup basmati rice, or other medium-grain rice
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 1 nectarine, sliced
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
- ⅓ cup olive oil or avocado oil
- Place the cilantro, mint, green Serrano chilies, cumin powder, salt, black salt, sugar, oil, and lime juice in the bowl of a blender, or food processor fitted with a metal blade.
- Grind mixture until smooth. This chutney will keep for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator, but the color will darken due to the lime.
- Bring the broth to a boil in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Add the rice and salt, and lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes or until tender. Cool to room temperature.
- Stir in as much Classic Green Mint Chutney you want. I stirred in about 3 tablespoons, which was perfect for us.
- Toss the tomatoes, nectarine slices and cilantro together in a medium bowl. To a separate small bowl or the bowl of a mortar and pestle, add the garlic and ⅛ teaspoon of salt. Mash until the garlic breaks down and liquifies. Stir in the vinegar and oil vigorously until emulsified.
- Place the Mint Chutney Rice on a plate and top with the salad.
This chutney can be mellowed by adding 11⁄2 tablespoons of yogurt or coconut milk as a vegan option. If adding yogurt you can skip the lime juice.
Another variation is to add some blanched peanuts or almonds.