July 11, 2008
My 3 sq. ft. balcony has transformed into an Amazon Jungle. All the talking to the leaves on G&Ts, copious amounts of fertilizer and enthusiastic over planting has finally paid off.
In fact, the small pot of mint I bought in the supermarket has turned into a veritable bush. It has banished the basil to a small corner and is viciously eyeing the giant Jasmine creeper.
The best thing about my mini jungle of course is that I can enjoy my own seasonal herbs, without swapping heels for wellies. Which brings me on to seasonal eating. This is something I’ve become very conscious of recently. Mainly because fruits and vegetables taste better when they are in season.
Sadly, Indian cooking requires a lot of ingredients that call for unseasonal eating. Like tomatoes. But the simplest recipes that demand top notch quality are best attempted when the ingredients are in season.
Like these two easy Indian chutneys – Tomato and Pudina (mint). Chutneys are Indian condiments that are made fresh and usually not fermented. They can accompany kebabs. Simply sparkle as dips. And control overzealous plants.
Roughly chop the tomatoes and grate the ginger. Bring the oil to heat in a small pot over a high flame.
When it starts sizzling, break in the red chilli and add the ginger. Sir fry for a minute until the ginger turns pale golden. Then add the tomaotes and cook on a high flame until they disintegrate.
Now add the sugar and raisins and stir for another five minutes until the tomatoes take on a jam-like texture. Cool, store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days and enjoy.
Discard any hard stalks on the mint. Whizz all the ingredients in a blender and add salt to taste. Store as the tomato chutney.
This is especially delicious as a dip with vegetable cutlets or tikkis like this. Or smother fish with this before grilling and serve with salad.