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Pounded chilli and lime chutney (Thecha)

While I was in college in Mumbai, one of my friends would bring this cutney in her unch box every day and I would swoop down on it. The spice was intense and it is a favour bomb, but it paired with the simple lunch so well.

This is a Maharashtrian chutney, one that comes in two flavours, with either red or green chillies. This version is a chutney in its rawest form, with raw chillies, ginger and limes. It is a flavour bomb, rough, spicy as could be and an intense condiment for any table. The spiciness hits the palate but gets to be addictive quickly. From a technical perspective, this is a chutney that should be pounded by hand. The process leaves a coarse chutney that is lovely, the texture cannot be achieved by taking the blender shortcut.

The Essential Marathi Cookbook is a well-written cookbook on the diverse cuisine from the state of Maharashtra. Kaumudi Marathé is a journalist, chef and cooking school teacher. She has worked in LA in the pop-up space and has written in some of the best cooking magazines across the world. This book highlights her deep knowledge of Marathi cuisine and shows her love for food and culture.

For more recipes from this book, click here.


For the chutney:

15 green chillies

1 lime, diced finely with pits removed

Salt, to taste

2 tablespoons jaggery

A pinch teaspoon asafoetida

1 tablespoon ginger paste

1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

To temper:

1 tablespoon oil

A generous pinch asafoetida

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Add all the ingredients for the chutney to a large mortar and pound with a pestle till you have a rough paste, about 10-12 minutes. Make sure most of the lime rinds have been pounded down. Taste for salt and adjust as needed.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the asafoetida and turmeric. Stir and take off the heat. Add the chutney and mix in well. Remove the thecha to a small bowl and garnish with a green chilli if desired. Serve at room temperature.

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