The sweet, tangy and spicy condiment is a common feature in Indian chaats. This chutney perfectly complements the delectable chaats and many Indian savoury snacks.
There are many ways in which this chutney is made; for sweetness, some prefer using just jaggery instead of dates; some like it extra hot or tangy. No matter how you like it, you can make it to suit your preference. However, in this recipe, I have shared with you my version. In fact, I have tried to recreate my mum's recipe.
As children, my sister and I were rarely allowed treats from the street vendors. My mum made it a point to make different varieties of snacks and treats for us; this sweet and tangy chutney was often made with samosas, chaats and pakodas. We absolutely enjoyed the condiment with the super tasty snacks she used to make.
She hadn't documented the recipe. But I have based this recipe on memory and a little research over the years. Here it is:
Tamarind (seedless) - 1/4 cup
Dates (seedless) - 1/2 cup
Jaggery (optional) - 1 tblspn.
Roasted cumin powder - 1/4 tspn.
Dry ginger powder - 1/2 tspn.
Chilli powder - 1/4 tspn.
Salt - To taste
Water - 2 1/2 cups + 2 tblspns to grind the chutney
Add water, tamarind and dates to a saucepan.
Place that saucepan on medium-low flame, allow the three ingredients to cook for about 10 minutes.
Add the dry spices except the salt.
Mix well, and continue to cook for a few more minutes till the raw smell of the spices are gone.
Now, add salt and mix well.
Allow the chutney to simmer for about 2 minutes.
Remove the vessel from the flame, and allow it to cool.
Once cooled, transfer the mixture to a blender jar, and grind it into a smooth paste.
Add water, if required.
The tamarind-date chutney is ready.
Store the chutney in an airtight container in the fridge.
Use it in chaats or serve it savoury Indian snacks.
Finally, spring has sprung upon us after an extended winter in Sydney. Spring in this amazing city is nothing short of glorious; clear blue skies, flowers in full bloom and the pleasantly sunny days are a few of my favourite things about the season.
My husband and I decided to make the most of the warm weather ahead of us, and chose to grow our own little herb garden in our courtyard. In our little herb garden, we have thyme, basil, parsley, coriander, mint, peppermint and chives. I am thoroughly enjoying the idea of growing my own herbs and having them handy as and when I need them.
This vinaigrette has fresh herbs that are accompanied by the sweet-sour balsamic vinegar and tangy lemon juice. Simple yet refreshing, this vinaigrette is sure to enhance the flavour of your salads.
A tablespoon each of finely chopped basil, parsley and coriander
Lemon juice – 2 tblspns.
Garlic cloves – 2, minced
Extra virgin olive oil – 2 tblspns.
Balsamic vinegar (Optional) – ½ tblspn.
Salt and pepper – To taste
In a mortar and pestle, muddle the herbs.
Be gentle while doing so; the idea is to crush the herbs and not bruise it.
In a small mixing bowl, add the muddled herbs and the remaining ingredients.
Give it a good mix, and drizzle on salads.
This dressing keeps well in the fridge for about 2-3 days.
- Use any herbs of your choice. Fresh herbs work the best for this vinaigrette. Mix and match them to your liking.
- If you do not have balsamic vinegar, you could use any other vinegar of your choice.
- Omit the garlic from the recipe, if you don’t like it.
- I used chilli-flavoured extra virgin olive oil. Use any other flavour or just the plain one to suit your liking.
Hummus is a Middle Eastern dip made with chickpeas and a few tasty ingredients. Typically, hummus has tahini (sesame paste). I do not enjoy tahini so I decide to skip it from the dip.
This easy and versatile dip tastes great with crudités, pita bread, chips, salads and wraps.
Hummus is forgiving when it comes to flavours; it adapts to most ingredients you add to it. I wanted something spicy, and I used a fresh jalapeño for the spicy kick.
My favourite way to consume hummus? With crunchy crudités.
Chickpeas - 1 can or 1 cup boiled chickpeas
Lemon juice - 1/2 tblspn.
Garlic - 2 cloves, peeled
Salt - To taste
Olive oil - 1 tblspn + 2 tspns for serving
Jalapeño - 1, stem removed, deseeded and deveined
Paprika - 1 pinch
If you're using canned chickpeas, drain the brine, clean it and keep aside.
In a clean and dry blending jar, add all the ingredients except paprika. Blend it to a smooth paste.
If required, add a little more oil to aid the blending process. Avoid using water to grind it.
Scoop out the hummus and place it in a serving cup, drizzle some olive oil. Sprinkle the paprika, and serve fresh.
- If you can't find fresh jalapeños, used the pickled ones or green chillies.
- If you are not a fan of spicy dips, omit the jalapeños. Add flavourings like parsley, coriander or mint.
- I added paprika for the smoky flavour, you could add cayenne pepper, black pepper powder or red chilli powder.
The versatile yoghurt comes to the rescue when you want something delish, nutritious creamy and not very fattening. This time the humble yoghurt comes in the form of a spicy, curried, low-fat dip.
This dip is simple to put together, requires very few ingredients, tastes fabulous and keeps well in the fridge for up to a week. Sounds like a winner, doesn't it?
Low-fat, thick yoghurt or Greek yoghurt - 2 cups
Curry powder - 3/4 to 1 tblspn.
Garlic powder (optional) - 1/2 tspn.
Spring onions (optional) - 2, white and light green parts chopped finely
Chilli flakes - 1/4 tspn.
Cracked black pepper - To taste
Salt - To taste
One of the highlight dishes for Tamil New Year’s day/ Ugadi is the Manga pacchadi; it is a chutney of sorts made with raw mangoes, jaggery, a few dry spices, and is sprinkled with fried neem flowers for bitterness. This sparked the idea for me to try my hand at making chutney with an assortment of berries.
With a tweak or two or more, I made the spicy berry chutney that will work well as an accompaniment for crackers, chips and parathas. This chutney has a lovely balance of sweetness, tanginess, bitterness that will dance in your mouth with each bite. This chutney is loaded with anti-oxidants, and is low in added sugar, making it a guilt-free condiment.
Salads, chips and crackers with creamy dressing/ dip is always a winner but the fat and calorie content are not. Here’s a dip/ dressing that is easy on the calories without compromising on the creaminess and taste of the full-fat versions.
Low fat yoghurt – 1 cup
Chives (chopped) – 1 Tblspn.
Garlic – 2 cloves, minced
Cracked black pepper – ½ tspn.
Roasted cumin powder – ¼ tspn.
Chilli flakes – ½ tspn
Salt – To taste
A low-cal, low-carb spread made with roasted capsicum, onion and garlic is sure to make your wraps and sandwiches tastier.
Capsicum (red, yellow and green) – 1 each deseeded and cut into big chunks
Onion (medium) – 1 cut into big chunks
Garlic – 3 cloves (unpeeled)
Chilli flakes – 1 tspn.
Salt – To taste
Black pepper – To taste
Dried oregano – ¼ tspn
Olive oil spray
Water – To grind
This is a simple and tasty dressing for your favourite salad - fruit or vegetable.
Lemon - 1
Red chillies - 2- 3, finely chopped
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) - 1 Tblspn.
In a small bowl, squeeze out juice from 1 lemon.
Toss in the chillies and oil.
Mix well to combine the ingredients.
Drizzle the dressing on your salad.
- Replace lemon with lime and red chillies with green chillies.
The first time I heard about it was on this TV show Chuck's Day Off on TLC. From the very mention of it, tzatziki caught my fancy - I can't really say if it the fascinating name, the simplicity of its preparation or its amazing taste. But it truly did live up to its initial intrigue when I first tasted it. Great as a spread, dip and salad dressing, tzatziki is simply A.M.A.Z.I.N.G
No-fat Greek Yogurt – 1 cup
Garlic – 10 cloves
Cucumber – 1(peeled and grated)
Salt – to taste
Fresh Chives – 1 tspn. (chopped finely)
Olive oil – 1 tblspn.
Drain the water of the cucumber completely.
Squeeze the excess water gently and keep aside.
Crush the garlic and chop it finely.
In a bowl, add the Greek yogurt, cucumber, garlic, chives, and salt.
Drizzle the olive oil over the yogurt and vegetables. Combine the ingredients to mix well.
Now this tasty dip/sauce is ready.
- Typically traditional Greek yogurt is used. If you can’t find it, use regular hung curd beat it well.
- This dip/sauce uses fresh dill but I have used chives instead for an interesting flavour.
- Use this as a sauce for salads, spread for toasts and wraps, dip for chips and snacks.
Who says pesto is only meant for pastas. They yummy basil pesto can now double as a sandwich spread or a dip for your chips and pita bread. Pesto, originated in Italy and the word simply means 'pound'; the ingredients are typically pounded in a mortar and pestle thus giving it its name.
While the traditional pesto used parmigiano reggiano, also commonly known as parmesan cheese, this recipe is the skinny version of the spread and omits the cheese.
Basil – 1 handful
Garlic – 1 clove
Pine nuts – 1 handful
Olive oil – 1 tspn.
Salt – ½ tspn.
Toast the pine nuts and keep aside.
Crush salt and garlic in a mortar and pestle.
Now add the toasted pine nuts and make sure it is ground coarsely.
Toss in the basil leaves drizzle the olive oil, and muddle the ingredients to form a coarsely ground spread.
Now use this as a spread for breads and wraps.
- You could also use this in salads for a nutty taste.
- You could also add a teaspoon of lemon juice for flavour.
- Typically this is also ground with sharp parmesan cheese. Include it if you like the taste.