Mint Chutney and Raw Cashew Chutney
Source: Shanta Nimbark Sacharoff, Cooking Together
Chutneys are popular Indian condiments that give an accent to any entree. An Indian meal is rarely served without a chutney. Freshly made chutneys are different from preserved pickles known as achar in Indian cuisine. Pickles are made seasonally to be preserved for a long time. They are oily, salty and/or sweetened. Pickles often require a long method of preparation and therefore they are often purchased by home-makers; whereas fresh chutneys can be made quickly from leaves, fruits, nuts or cooked beans.
The texture and the intensity of chutney vary to complement specific entrées. For example, a thin and spicy chutney like the mint chutney can be served with snacks or appetizers as a dipping sauce whereas the following mild and chunky cashew chutney makes a good spread for bread, crackers, or raw vegetables.
1 cup fresh mint
½ cup cilantro leaves
½ jalapeno pepper (most seeds and veins removed)
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoon of water
½ cup green onions with some of its greens
Place all ingredients in a jar of a food processor and puree them for a few minutes until it forms a smooth sauce. Add a bit more water if necessary. Keep the processor closed for a few minutes to let the flavors settle. Transfer chutney into a bowl and serve or a jar and refrigerate for future use.
Raw Cashew Chutney
1 cup raw cashews soaked in 1 cup of hot water
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon minced ginger
3 to 4 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice
1 or ½ jalapeno pepper (seeds and inner veins removed)
½ teaspoon salt
Soak cashews in a cup of hot water for ½ hour or longer. Place all ingredients including ½ cup of the water from the soaked nuts, in a food processor and puree until smooth. Add more water as needed to form a consistency similar to a crunchy peanut butter. Serve or refrigerate for later use.
Photo by Shanta Nimbark Sacharoff. This recipe is modified from Cooking Together: A Vegetarian Co-op Cookbook, copyright © 2017 by Shanta Nimbark Sacharoff. Shanta Nimbark Sacharoff is a Sunset District resident and the author of Cooking Together and Flavors of India. Both cookbooks are available at Other Avenues Food Store in the Sunset, Rainbow Grocery Co-op in the Mission, and Book Passage Bookstore in the Ferry Building, all in San Francisco. Shanta writes recipes and articles on food and nutrition, and teaches vegetarian and vegan cooking classes in the Outer Sunset.