Kashmiri culture and
ways of preparing the food lends to its exquisite and unique taste. An art form
which is then accented by how the food is served….in copper dishes, with
flavorful white rice, rich yoghurt and tart chutneys.
In the series of
Kashmiri chutneys, this one is a little unusual and delightful. Made with
boiled bottle gourd (Lauki), yoghurt and a dash of honey, it brings a slight
sweetness to the table of spicy food.
In my version I have omitted the honey and the raisins but do add them if you prefer the sweetness. I also made a vegan version by using coconut milk instead. Either way it will come out just superb.
These are images of Bottle Gourd growing and being sold in the floating vegetable gardens on the Dal Lake in Kashmir. A visit to the pre-dawn vegetable market on the lake is a memory that does not leave your soul.
It was a surreal summer filled with travels, sorrows, beauty, love and new perspectives. When I got back to my veggie garden after weeks of being away the tomatoes ( among other vegetables) were screaming to be picked turned into something divine.
My first instinct was to get all of them out to friends and family ( which I did for some), but….the rest went in preparations like this amazing tomato chutney.
The tomatoes were halved and roasted whole in a 375 degree oven for about 30 mins to bring out the flavor.
The chilies are whole and dried and are a staple in the pantry. The oil is a mustard oil which brings out a beautiful flavor.
This chutney will last a while in the fridge, my teenager has been using it to smear her morning bagels. I have used it on top of my grilled chicken for a workday lunch and topped my sandwiches.
You can adjust the heat and seasoning to your taste but my recommendation would be to keep the heat elevated 🙂 😉
Hot spice mixes and sauce are just the thing for me…a jar of a hot spice mix is a start to many a delectable dishes. My spice closet ( yes closet!) overflows with amazing varieties from all over the world. I try and make a concoctions over the weekend that can be used in meat or vegetarian dishes or jus as a spice dip.
My first time using Jamaican dried hibiscus flowers in a dry mix. Just amazing!!!
So with my Indian roots this mix had to be spicy so some good old fashioned dry red chilies did the trick.
I had dried tomatoes from my harvest last year and was grateful to use them in this dish. They were dried and frozen at the end of the season
Make sure you roast all the ingredients slowly on a low flame and not burn them. This will be perfect sprinkled over anything or add some hot water and glugs of olive oil to make a paste.
2 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp Cumin seeds
2-3 whole star anise
10 whole dried red chilies
3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
7-8 dried hibiscus flowers
1 ½ tablespoon paprika
A handful of dried tomatoes
1tsp dried Lemon peel
Pink salt to taste
On a heavy bottomed on medium heat add red chilies, coriander, cumin seeds, whole star anise, garlic cloves and hibiscus until you start to smell the aromas. Use a wooden spoon to move them around to toast evenly.
Take off the heat and let the spices cool.
Add the rest of the ingredients and start blending in a spice grinder.
Serve sprinkled over anything (try breakfast boiled eggs ;)) or make a dip with olive oil and a couple of tablespoons of hot water.
Fermented foods are probiotic powerhouses boosting the good bacteria in your gut and helping with overall health and immunity
“Achar” is a form of fermented food in the Indian subcontinent and essentially is a pickling process. It is one of the oldest methods of food preservation, sustaining communities through changing climate and seasons where the life of the crop could be extended by preserving it.
Kashmir with it’s cold winters is very conducive to pickling a variety of vegetables such as Kohlrabi, carrots, radish, peppers etc. There is no vinegar in these pickles. Mustard oil is the main carrier in which fermenting agents like mustard and carom seeds are added. This will last a long while on your shelves.
The basic recipe was for Monji Achar ( Kohlrabi pickle) from which I strayed a bit and added the crunchy turnips and carrots. The Kohlrabi leaves I had already cooked in another dish, otherwise I would have chopped and added them.
The key would be to dry out the cut vegetables in the sun for a day or so just to reduce the moisture. I am in the dead of winter here in Virginia so sunshine is scarce. I left it out for another day….48 hours.
This is a traditional Onion Chutney that accompanies many a feasts and dinners in Kashmir. The process is a quick pickling process which is very simple bringing out the tart and savory flavors.
The recipe call for dry mint but fresh would be fine if you are out of stock. I dry my mint in summer and fall and it lasts me at least 6 months. Dry mint does have a unique taste that it imparts to many Kashmiri dishes.
I serve it as a side to rice and savory dishes but you will find that it was be used in many other ways such and sandwiches kebabs.
Although it has been incessantly raining, spring is kind of here lurking behind the clouds and walls of rain! I harvested my spring garlic greens stalks to allow the bulbs to grow strong and firm in a couple of months. The smell was intense and heady but much milder that garlic bulbs and I wanted to put them in just about everything.
Ended up making this garlicky cilantro chutney, added some greens to my raw banana kebabs/cutlets and then made a black lentil garlic soup. The rest were chopped up and added to daily omelets and sprinkled on curry dishes.
This chutney is sparkling with fresh coriander/cilantro, fresh mint and garlic greens. It stores in the fridge really well and can be used in many ways including dipping sauce for cutlets as a salsa for chips, as a sandwich spread as so on. Add some nuts and parmesan and it will become your favorite pesto.
The recipe is pretty simple and you can adjust the seasoning to taste.
In the series of Kashmiri chutneys, this one is a little unusual and delightful. Made with boiled bottle gourd (Lauki), yoghurt and a dash of honey, it brings a slight sweetness to the table of spicy food.
One small gourd or pumpkin – peeled and chopped
About 8-10 cloves of garlic
1 cup of organic greek yoghurt ( or regular yoghurt hung for a few hours in muslin)
2 tbsp organic honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black cumin
a few strands of saffron crushed
1 tbsp of yellow raisins
chopped cilantro and mint leaves for garnish
Boil the gourd and garlic until tender. Drain the water and remove the garlic when cool. You can leave a couple of pieces of garlic in there. Put it in a sieve or muslin and squeeze the water out.
Add this to the yoghurt and mix the other ingredients.
Serve as a side topped with black cumin and cilantro/mint leaves.