Thursday, 18 March 2010
This dish is my mom's speciality and I love this very much. When I go to Madurai, my mom will be eagerly waiting for me with hot, hot idlies and kothamalli chutney. I could feel my mom's wondeful love for me in this dish . This is one of my comfort food and it carries with it so many nice memories. There will be farmers market near my home on thursdays. So me and my mom will go the market thursday evening. When my mom finds nice kothamalli leaves she will definitely buy it to make chutney. Going to farmers market is one of my most favourite pass time. I find many, many nice things to eat there from koiyakai to palapazham. When we come back we will sit together, watch TV and remove the hard, mature part of the kothamalli stem and clean it. The next morning before I get up hot idlies and kothamalli chutney will be waiting for me. Still when I call her she used to tell me that she saw nice kothamalli leaves in market and she was thinking of me. One more interesting happening which is related to this recipe is, this time when I went to India my periyamma (aunt) bought ground hibiscus leaves, with henna and many other things added to it.It is stored in some kind of oil for applying on hair. It looked exactly like this chutney. My mom left it in the table. I looked at it, immediately took a teaspoonful in my hand and licked it. Phew it tasted awful. My mom had a hearty laugh .
This chutney will be very tasty and goes very well with idly, dosai and even with rice. In english kothamalli is called as coriander/ chinese parsley/ cilantro. All parts of coriander plant is edible but leaves and dried seeds are more commonly used. Coriander roots are also more commonly used by chinese. Coriander roots have more intense flavour than the leaves. Coriander has many medicinal properties. It is rich in vitamin C. It aids in digestion. In Iran folk medicine coriander is used for the releif of anxiety and insomnia. Experiment in mice proved that it has anti-anxiety properties. It is also used as a diuretic. But some people are allergic to it(Courtesy:Wikipedia). This recipe is very simple eventhough you have to do an extensive pre-work like cleaning and seperating the fresh, tender leaves and stem.
Kothamalli- 3 bunches (approx. 1/4 kg)
Ginger- oneinch piece
Garlic- 6 pods
Red chilli- 8 ( increase or decrease according to your taste)
Urid dhal- 4 tbspns
Tamarind- a marble sized piece
Mustard seeds, jeera, urid dhal (1/2 tspn) and a pinch of asafoetida for tempering.
First remove the mature leaves and mature stems from the bunch. If you are able to break the stem with your hands thaen those stems are tender. If you are not able to do so then they are matured ones. Use only the leaves and the tender stems. Fry all other ingredients except kothamalli untill the urid dhal acquires a golden brown colour. Then grind the fried ingredients first with enough salt. Then little by little add the coriander leaves and grind well. Actually when the grinding is done traditionally with ammi kal (a form of manual grinder) it tastes much better. After grinding all the leaves with the fried ingredient remove form the mixie jar. Add enough oil (actually you have to add atleast a cup of oil, beacuse the wet kothamalli absorbs lots of oil) and temper it using the tempering ingredients mentioned above. Then add the ground kothamalli mixture and saute it untill the oil seperates out. It needs lots of patience at this stage. Take care it doesnt get burned at the bottom. Use a heavy- bottomed vessel for this purpose. Tasty coriander chutney will be ready. This chutney keeps very good for a week and even more when kept in refrigerator.
Taste enhancinh tips for this recipe: Urid dhal is a must in this recipe. Add enough oil when sauting. Don't be too health consious when it comes to adding oil in this recipe. If you do you will be left with a dry mass at the end which is not so appetising. Anyhow you will not eat the entire portion in a day. One tablespoon a day will be the maximum amount you can consume ( if you are not like me ) and the oil you consume in that one tablespoon will be less. So be lenient in the amount of oil. Select fresh leaves for the chutney. Small leaves are much flavourful than the big ones. Grind the chutney manually if possibe, and what are you looking at, try it!!! And the most important thing, never saute the leaves first and grind it, grind the fresh leaves and then saute it. It really helps in retaining the flavour. Happy cooking!!!