Coupled with my love for travel is the keenness to try out local cuisines and flavours. I truly believe that no matter how fine a cook or how perfect a recipe, a dish tastes best in its own backyard. Everytime, I visited my sister in Mumbai, I would inquire of her what local delicacies had she tried out. Turns out that apart from asking her Maharashtrian maid to make sagodana khichdi (dry dish made out of tapioca and peanuts), she hadn’t experimented much. I wondered what her local supermarkets had in store by way of Maharashtrian flavours.
So I set out for some grocery shopping on this trip and explored the superstore (Haiko in Powai) with gusto. And I was not disappointed. I was browsing for some fresh home-made coconut chutney when I chanced upon this interesting looking pack. On closer inspection, it seemed the perfect kit to rustle up fresh nariyal chutney. It had chunks of coconut, bits of garlic, some green chillies, curry leaves and loads of yellow channa or gram. Seeing a Maharashtrian lady pick up the same, I enquired if she could shed some light on this preparation. “Nothing to it”, she informed me. “Just grind it all together with a little water and salt. Add some tadka and you are done. ”
Sounded easy peasy.
I bounded home and amidst much scepticism from my sister, I set out to grind it all into that perfect chutney………
I opened to pack to realise the coconut was smelling a bit rancid. Oh – o!!! Quickly I washed it and soaked it in a bit of water and then explored the rest of the kit to discover that it contained quite a lot of things :
3 tiny bits of Garlic
1/2″ pc of ginger
6-8 pcs of peanuts
1/2 tsp of cumin seeds
1 cup of coconut chunks
1/2 cup of channa
3 green chillies
8-10 fresh curry leaves
Since my sister is wary of chillies, I decided to use in only 1 green chilli. I put it all (except the curry leaves) in a hand grinder and started grinding it.
I stopped a couple of times to add little water, till it was all one wholesome mix. (add water in very small quantities as the coconut is quite fresh and leaves water of its own too.)
I then mixed in some salt (to taste) and about 5-6 tsp of fresh curd to this mix till it started resembling a chutney.
Next, I heated some oil, added rai/mustard seeds and let them splutter a bit before adding in the curry leaves. When the curry leaves turned transparent, I took this off the heat. I, then, added this to the chutney and mixed it some more.
It was so perfect and heavenly, that we polished it all off without even stopping to take one final pic!!!! And yes, the other 2 chilli would have greatly enhanced the taste of the chutney.
Impressed by the proportions of the ingredient and the end result, I plan to carry a couple of packets back to Delhi as a perfect accompaniment for an afternoon brunch of home-made idli sambhar.