Updated: Apr 30
Indians are amongst the most frugal cooks on the planet. This comes from poverty and a massive population. Every edible part of every animal and plant is eaten, but over the centuries, exquisite recipes have been developed to make these items delicious. This ridged gourd peel chutney is a perfect example of a no-waste cooking culture, something the western world is also moving towards slowly.
This is a pungent chutney. The chutney is hot, you can adjust the chillies to a spice level of your liking, it is tart from the tamarind and creamy from the coconut. The balance of spices and heat is beautiful. It is served as a side for any meal, but can also be used as a chutney for dosas and idlis and as a spread to make an otherwise boring sandwiches pop.
Ammi is a stone mortar and pestle, but the word also means unconditional love and affection expressed in several ways including cooking food for family and friends. This cookbook is an ode to the author's mother's recipes that have been preserved for future generations. The book travels through her mother's life and memories, and the recipes span South Indian, Singaporian, Asian and European, at various points. The recipes are spectacular, most of them are easy to make and the food is delicious. This is a cookbook for those who are looking for something different.
For more recipes from this cookbook, click here.
2-3 baby-ridged gourds
3 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
3-5 dried red chillies, or to taste
1/4 cup grated coconut, frozen ok
10 curry leaves
Salt, to taste
3-4 tablespoons water
Peel the ridges of the gourds with a potato peeler or a knife. Wash the peels well.
Add the oil to a small pot and fry the gourd skins till they are soft and cooked for about 4-5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, except water and fry for another 3-4 minutes till they turn aromatic. Cool completely.
Add the fried ingredients to a small blender and add 3 tablespoons of water. Blitz to a smooth paste. You want just enough water for the ingredients to spin smoothly in the blender, but you do not want to make the chutney too runny.
Serve at room temperature garnished with dried red chilli.