This is a traditional Onion Chutney that accompanies many a feasts and dinners in Kashmir. Kashmiri food, the whole playbook of amazing dishes often overshadows the humble accompaniments that elevate the flavors of the meal. The side kick here is truly kick ass, simply made with sliced onions that are marinated in vinegar, dried mint and red chili powder. The process is a quick pickling process which is very simple bringing out the tart, spicy and savory flavors.
The recipes 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 as sandwiches, kebabs and burgers.
Gand Chetin Kashmiri Onion Chutney
A pickled spicy onion chutney
2 cups of organic red onions sliced thin
3 green chilies sliced thin
1/2 cup of green coriander/cilantro chopped
1/2 tsp black cumin ( different form regular
1/2 tsp dry mint
1 tsp red chili powder
1/2 cup of organic vinegar ( i used rice
sea salt to taste
Salt the onions and keep aside for an hour or
so and then wash and drain. You will need to squeeze the water out.
Mix all the other ingredients ( you will not
need additional salt) and cool in the refrigerator before serving as a
Spicy tangy flavors seem to make everything better for me….the sense of the spice, the heat and the sour is a dance on the taste buds.
In a quest to make gluten free tostadas I have experimented with flours quite a bit which have resulted in as many fails as successes. A combination of coconut flour with some almond flour added in seems to hold it’s own for me. I have seen people add xanthan gum so the dough becomes pliable but I did not have any so went without.
There are layers of flavors in this recipe.
With the dough in place, I started with grated beets and carrots and marinated them with lemon juice and salt for 5 mins.
The steak is grass fed organic and turns out just amazing
The Cilantro sauce is a staple in my kitchen and I have used it as a marinade and topping. You can find the recipe below and another version here.
Now to the fermented red cabbage….just delicious and so good for you. This add the right amount of tanginess and crunch.
This dish is topped with fresh watercress and a sprinkle of goat cheese.
Fermented foods are just beautiful not only for the taste buds but also for your gut. Ancients culture have propagated fermented foods for preservation and taste through the centuries. The souring action if microbes that produced fermentation have been critical in our diets throughout the globe. Similar foods can be found in every culture, just called something different.
Indian “Achar” or “Kanji” are great examples and so is the fabulous “Kimchi” from Korea.
My personal story takes me back to the late 1970’s where as a young girl spending lazy winters vacation in Lucknow, India I would watch my grandfather ferment and pickle various vegetables in earthenware and produce the probiotic liquid called “Kanji” in India. It was delicious, tart and healthy and the joy of helping my grandfather while he worked on these beautiful foods is a memory that is permanent ink in my soul.
True to foods that nourish your soul and help you remember your history, in this series I am sharing different fermented food s I am experimenting with.
This fermented beet pickle and tonic fascinates and mesmerizes with its deep violet color and tangy taste. There many health benefits of both the beets and these are just amplified through fermenting.
“Kanji” is usually a pungent combination of water, mustard seeds, beetroot and carrots and is full of digestion-boosting friendly bacteria and enzymes. I have only used beets here so the color is quite intense. Beets are high is sugar but the fermentation breaks the sugars down and makes this drink a healthy tonic. Very similar to Kvass which is an eastern European fermented beverage commonly made with rye bread.
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.