Tag Archives: chutney for dosai/dosa

Nellikkai Thuvayal – Gooseberry Chutney Series

Gooseberry is one of those nutritious fruits that often brings back nostalgic memories. When we used to travel during school vacations to my paternal grandmother’s native place in down south Tamilnadu, the houses that had ‘nelli maram’ or the gooseberry tree was a special place for me. ‘Arunelli’ – the yellow and extremely sour, smaller variety of gooseberry was my favorite. With the beautiful Kutralam Falls nearby and the monsoon setting in, the village would have intermittent pleasant showers and chill air. The fields, farm lands, and the tall trees imparting different shades of green, would present such a soothing atmosphere, that the developed cities should beg for.

Visiting elders and relatives of the close knit family was a routine, common to most households. Also, introducing the third generation to other relatives of the extended family was part of those village visits. That is one of the major tasks of grandfathers and grandmothers, providing essential links through generations.

Coming back to gooseberry, most houses would welcome you with the arunelli maram in the frontyard, with bunches of the delicious fruit. I think the hosts should have been amused seeing my eyes rest on the gooseberries than in their conversation, I would always come back with packs of berries, the fruit and the taste I’ve treasured in my memory till today.

By Abhishek Jacob at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44823119

Post vacations, back at home in the city, thankfully those days, there were no branded food outlets in the corner for junk intake. On the way back from school, arunelli/gooseberries sprinkled with salt and chilli powder was a favorite walking partner. This memory glittered back during my Cambodia days, where I could buy arunelli from the street vendor with salt and chilli powder.

photo taken from dosaikal.com/the cambodia connections-I, my post back in April 2013.

The other gooseberry is the bigger variety. While arunelli is a snack in hand, periya nellikkai is versatile. Eat it raw, make thuvayal/chutney or pickles, make nellikkai saadham/rice, thayir pachchadi/yoghurt raita – the options are endless.

First, enjoy the sourness of nellikkai; then, have a tumbler of water; get amazed by the sweetness that spreads in your mouth.

Setting new nutrition goals during the Covid crisis, I had been trying out different kinds of thuvayal/chutneys with periya nellikkai/big gooseberries. The fruit is at its nutritious best, when consumed raw. Hence, I try to add gooseberries without roasting or stir frying in the dips i make. Also, I have tried to add chinna vengayam/shallots in the fried chutneys, as a replacement for normal onions.

As a thuvayal series, I would like to share a few of those chutneys in the coming posts.

See you all soon.

Pooti Aachi Vengaya Thuvayal – Great Grandmother’s Onion Chutney

 


  

This post is a tribute to the almost nonagenarian, my 89 year old grandmother-aachi, whose kitchen I peeped into as a kid. It has been a beautiful journey of love, love and love alone – millions of life’s lessons learnt from thousands of chatting sessions. The soft yet strong hands have produced en-numerous delicacies with tonnes of affection. I see those soft hands that have turned wrinkled and bony… and realize life’s harsh truths. The truth of aging, might not be as bad as I sound.. as we learn the art of aging graciously. But seeing our elders age is certainly one among the severest truths.

  


  

When I hold those hands now, I feel the same warmth among those pressing bones that protrude. How many nei urundais (lentils sweet) and pathirpeni (sugary crisps) and murukkus (savoury crisps) have these hands made and served, the taste still lingering in our minds…
 
When I see the glittering child like smile amidst those few clinging teeth and skinny cheeks, I long for the same energetic glee that has welcomed us home from school…
 
When I now listen to the never ending stories through the tired voice, I hope to hear the tamil songs sung to me and the gossips of the household with the same youthful tone…
 
When I look into those wrinkled sleepy eyes, I think of those youthful eyes that admired my every move…
 

But.. the joy of having aachis/grandmothers to tell you stories and admire your children is certainly a boon.
  

at work – great grandmother and great grand daughter


  

When I see my little daughter enjoy the company of Pooti Aachi/Great Grandmother and play several games, I am astonished by the connect of an almost ninety year old with a nine year old and also the other way round! The passion to connect can well be understood by today’s generation of social networks. This is a great connect, that needs no wi-fi. This is the generational link that passes through four generations of interdependent relationships. Quite amazing..truly no words to express.

This is yet another trademark Aachi’s recipe. This storable Onion Chutney is simply the best of chutneys and a great preserve. It can be stored for weeks without a refrigerator. But.. brush your teeth before meeting people.. these are onions and garlic.

The name normally associated with the thuvayal/chutney is vengaya thuvayal or onion chutney. But when it became my daughter’s most favorite chutney, she renamed it as ‘Pooti Aachi Vengaya Thuvayal’ – what else could suit the best of dishes – with the four generational connect. So each time we go home, this is packed on demand…

Due to old age, pooti aachi/great grand ma doesn’t make it anymore. It is made by her daugther-in-law – Amma who has been making this for decades now. But, aachi insists to stand behind to guide, so that nothing is missed. Such emphasis on perfection… certain traits of old age one can’t avoid, I suppose. Though Amma makes the same Great Grandmother’s Onion Chutney to perfection, but she needs to wait a few more decades to earn that name- ‘Pooti Aachi’ and the chutney to be named after her.

So, this post is completely in admiration of that Grand Lady of True Affection, whom I always long would stay with me forever.
  

Pooti Aachi Vengaya Thuvayal
  


  

The chutney is a very simple one, that involves patience and care… the same qualities that I respect my Aachi for.
  

Ingredients
  


  

To grind-

  • chinna vengayam/shallots – 4 cups (appr. 600 gms peeled)
  • poondu/garlic – 1 cup – (appr. 150 gms peeled)
  • milagai vatral/red chillies – 10 no.s

  
For Tempering-

  • nallennai/gingelly oil – 1/2 cup
  • kadugu/mustard seeds – 2 tsp
  • kariveppilai/curry leaves – 3 tbsp

  
Seasoning-

  • salt – to taste
  • juice of 2 small lemons

  
Method of Preparation

1. Wash and peel shallots and garlic and cut into random pieces

2. Fry red chillies in droplets of oil, this helps the seeds to grind well with onion and garlic


  

3. First dry grind the roasted red chillies and then grind the shallots and garlic with chillies into a smooth paste


  

4. In a heavy bottomed pan, heat 1/4 cup oil

5. Drop the mustard seeds and once they splutter, simmer stove and add curry leaves

6. Fry for a few seconds and pour the blended paste

7. Increase the flame and bring it to boil


  

8. Then, simmer again and let this mixture cook well – it would take at least 20 minutes to reach a thicker consistency.

9. Do not add salt till this stage. As the mixture thickens, we will need lesser salt

10. Add salt and tell it thicken more… say another 5 minutes

11. When the colour of the chutney reaches brown colour .. remember it was off-white in the beginning, add juice of 1 big lemon or 2 small lemons
  

from off-white


 

to brown


  

12. Once the lemon juice is incorporated, we can notice the colour change in the thuvayal from brown to black.

13. Do not overcook after adding lemon juice…as it will make the chutney bitter

14. After addition of lemon juice, the time needed would be approximately  3 minutes for the chutney to be ready


  

15. Enjoy with all kinds of Idlies and Dosais or even breads and rotis…why not!!

Chinna Vengaya Thuvayal – Shallot Dip/Chutney

 

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Unlike most of those plans/promises I have not been able to keep up, this time I could make it. As written in the previous post – here is the chinna vengaya thuvayal, ideal for lentil dosais. Also good for basic Idli and Dosai, but I believe the garlic content in this vengaya thuvayal helps to tackle the gastric problems which might arise for some, due to the protein rich whole lentils in the pancakes. In a whole, this thuvayal aids in digestion.

With simple ingredients and simpler preparation, this has the ability to change the earthy pancakes into a special treat or a quick and easy breakfast or dinner food.

 

Chinna Vengaya Thuvayal – Shallot Dip/Chutney

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Ingredients (serves 4)

  • chinna vengayam/shallots- 12 no.s
  • poondu/garlic – 12 cloves
  • milagai vatral/dried red chillies – 6 no.s (less or more)
  • puli/tamarind – gooseberry size
  • uppu/salt – to taste

thaalippu/seasoning:

  • nallennai/gingelly oil – 6 tsp
  • kadugu/mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • ulundham paruppu/dehusked black gram – 1 tsp
  • kariveppilai/curry leaves – a few

 


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Method of Preparation

  1. Clean, wash and cut onions and garlic
  2. Wash tamarind well
  3. Grind to a smooth paste with red chillies, tamarind and salt
  4. Heat 4 tsp oil, add mustard seeds and black gram; when the black gram is golden brown add curry leaves; fry for about 15 seconds in low flame and pour the blended paste
  5. Stir the blended paste well in the seasoned oil
  6. Fry/cook for about 10 minutes in slow flame
  7. The texture and taste of the end thuvayal/dip depends on the family.  If one prefers a slight raw taste of onions, frying for 5 minutes is sufficient
  8. Frying the thuvayal for 10 minutes would give it a darker shade colorwise and the raw smell of onions and garlic would be gone
  9. Do not forget to stir at frequent intervals from the bottom of the pan as the thuvayal might stick to the bottom and be burnt very quickly
  10. When the thuvayal is done, remove from the pan and transfer into a serving bowl
  11. Heat 2 tsp oil in a pan; Pour on top of thuvayal that has a glow on top due to hot gingelly oil
  12. Thuvayal is ready! While served with dosais, pour one or two teaspoons of gingelly oil for one of the best flavours you would have tasted till date!

 


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Note:

  1. The quantity of red chillies can be altered according to taste preferences.
  2. Onions and garlic also contribute to the spice of the thuvayal – so try with lesser chillies and upgrade it the next time if needed.
  3. More gingelly oil, tastier the thuvayal. The taste of gingelly oil helps in tackling the spice level and pungent smell of garlic and onion – hence do not be conscious of oil here.
  4. Instead of seasoning first, one can also start with just heating the oil and pouring the blended paste and cooking together.This doesn’t make any difference to the taste.
  5. Season the thuvayal in the end. Pouring the seasoned oil or just hot oil –  on top of the done thuvayal is very important to make the thuvayal a delight with any kind of lentil dosais.

 

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