Ask any Indian what their favourite herb is - more often than not the answer will be Cilantro. (Coriander as we call it here) The main reasons for this being availabilty, tradition and also the way it goes perfectly with most Indian flavours. The vibrant scent of coriander is what hits your olfactory senses the minute you enter any open air market in India.
Today, most Bombay supermarkets sell (ex-exotic) herbs like fresh basil, parsley, lemon balm at quite reasonable prices. I just picked up two packets of basil and one of lemonbalm. While I made this huge batch of Marinara sauce with tomatoes, mushrooms and basil, I'm yet to figure out what to do with the lemon balm. I did spike my morning tea with it though. Any other suggestions are welcome!
Back to my good old favourite - Coriander...While most posts in the past one year on WHB must have explained the benefits of this herb, I love it for the freshness it brings to any dish. A dash of chopped coriander can awaken the most dullest of dishes by infusing that touch of green and the smell of the garden. People who are not used to this herb on a regular basis do find it a tad strong - atleast so I've noticed.
The recipe I want to share with you on the occasion of WHB- Finale is something I've blogged about before. Coriander chutney is my all time favourite recipe and I'm yet to see a recipe with any other herb that can be as versatile as this. For people who haven't tried this one before, its simpler to make than a pesto and is totally fat-free. If you buy too much of coriander, when it's in season, a chutney is the best way to save the delicate herb.
Time taken - Under 10 minutes
Makes over 1 cup
Category - Spicy spread, accompaniment to Indian breads and snacks, Fat-free spread
3 cups chopped coriander leaves (Washed thoroughly and drained)
2 green chillies (Thai chillies or you can use Jalapenos)
4-5 cloves garlic
2 T dalia*
Pinch of turmeric powder
1 tsp salt
Juice of half a lemon
Pinch of sugar (optional)
1. Put all the ingredients except the lemon juice in a small grinder like the Sumeet chutney jar or in batches in a coffee grinder.
2. Add a few tbsp of water to grind to a very smooth paste.
3. Remove in a jar / bowl and squeeze the lemon juice on the top. This retains the fresh green colour. Check for salt.
1. *Dalia is a split lentil variety easily found in Indian stores. If you don't find this, you may use roasted peanuts, pine nuts or sunflower seeds)
2. This chutney will stay for 3-4 days if kept in a jar in the refrigerator.
10 things you can do with Coriander chutney
1. Use it as a spread on bread. It'll make you forget "I can't believe its not butter" or whatever the name is.
2. Use it to make Bhel puri - one of the bestest Bombay street foods
3. Mix it with regular hummus to make green hummus.
4. Mix it into yogurt to make a coriander flavoured yogurt dip for crudites.
5. Use it inbetween the layers of stuffings in a Muffaletta - a hollowed out bread which is stuffed with layers of ham and cheese and served with an olive salad. You could substitute the ham with veggies or chicken salami.
6. Spread it on a roti, stuff with vegetables to make a spicy frankie.
7. Use it as a base for toppings on salt crackers.
8. Use a thinned out chutney as a salad dressing.
9. Use it as a marinade for paneer, chicken or fish before you throw them on the grill to make tikkas.
10. Spread it on pizza bread. Top with tomatoes, beets, green and yellow peppers, olives and mushrooms to make a fusion Pizza.
These sandwiches taste wonderful with some ketchup or even just like that. They make an excellent filler for a picnic basket or a tiffin box. As a kid, I remember eyeing my classmate's tiffin box with all envy when she used to get these for lunch. There is one thing to remember though - if you'll be eating this after a few hours, then it's best to line your slices with a thin coat of butter, table margarine or Olivio, so that the chutney wont make the bread soggy.
You can even get your kids to assemble these sandwiches.
What you need to make 4 triangles-
4 slices of bread
Olivio or butter
Slices of thin slices of cucumber and raw beetroot
Salt, pepper & chat masala
Spread a thick layer of chutney on 2 of the slices and a thin layer of Olivio on 2 other slices.
Layer up the sliced veggies on the buttered slice. Sprinkle some salt, pepper and chat masala. Cover it with the chutney slice and cut diagonally through the center to make two triangles.
Repeat the same with the other two slices.
1. White bread will taste superb but go with whole grain for a healthier option.
2. Other vegetables that will taste good in this sandwich are sliced boiled potatoes, sliced onions, sliced tomatoes, sliced jalapenos etc.
3. Chat masala is readily available in most Indian grocery stores in small boxes. I also remember seeing a blogger's recipe for the same, but can't trace it at present.
Coriander, cilantro, WHB, Chutney, Coriander chutney, Green chutney, Chutney sandwich, sandwich