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Cucumber chutney from Tamil Nadu (Vellarikkai chutney)

The Indian table is filled with chutneys and pickles. It is an art form, an obsession and an essential part of any home. The grocery store shelves are filled with these jars or packets, small businesses specialize in making traditional chutneys that are hyper-local and home chefs show off their skills by making these condiments to match their dinners. The variations are uncountable and they are made from every kind of vegetable, fruit and meat. They range in flavour from sweet to super spicy, creamy to plain, but each one is delicious.

Here is a very unusual chutney. It is made with mild cucumbers and used more as a palate cleanser than to spice up the meal. It is delicate, soft and wonderful with an earthy taste that is refreshing. The cucumber flavour is dominant and accentuated by the cilantro and hint of chilli.

You can use this chutney with the traditional idlis and dosas, but also on sandwiches and with bhajis. Because of its mildness, it is quite versatile.

This cookbook on South Indian dosa is a very specialized cookbook from one of my favourite chefs. Every recipe is authentic and this book is written with a depth of knowledge and understanding of the different cuisines in South India. This pancake recipe, like the other dosas and adai recipes from this cookbook, makes this cookbook essential for those who enjoy this type of dish.

For more recipes from the amazing cookbook, click here.


To temper:

1 tablespoon oil

1 teaspoon split Bengal dal (chana dal)

2 tablespoons split black gram (urad dal)

1 dried red chilli

1-2 green chillies, or to taste, halved longitudinally

1/2 teaspoon asafoetida

For the chutney:

1 teaspoon ginger paste

2 tablespoons cilantro leaves

1 cup cucumbers, peeled and sliced, + 1 slice cucumber for garnish

Heat the oil in a small pot on low heat and add the Bengal and gram dals. fry till the dals are lightly golden, about 45 seconds. Add the red and green chillies and fry for an additional 30 seconds. Add the asafoetida and mix in well. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Add the ginger, cilantro and cucumbers and cool temper to a small blender. Blitz till very smooth and the dals have broken down.

Serve topped with a garnish of cucumber.

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