11 February 2007

Chutney Exotica with Mushrooms and Bell peppers

Valentine Dinner Tip #2 inside!

Continuing with the valentine dinner ideas, I tried out something different with the regular mushrooms, onions, bell peppers that I had on hand. It happened to be a most wonderful spicy, tingling chutney that you'll find many uses for. There's a lot you can tinker with this recipe. For example, if your valentine loves Italian flavours, feel free to substitute the Indian spices with some dried basil and Italian seasonings.

Mushroom and bell pepper chutney
Category - Spread, chutney, spicy accompaniment
Time taken - Under 45 minutes
Makes - 1 1/2 cups

1 pack mushrooms (Oyster / baby portobello / regular white)
1 large bell pepper - any colour
4 cloves garlic- finely minced (I used two very large cloves)
1 large red onion
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 cup ~ 4 Tbsp white cooking vinegar

For the spice mix
10-12 dried red chillies
1 tbsp coriander seeds
10-12 curry leaves

Broil on a pan on low heat. As soon as you smell the aromas, remove from pan, cool, and grind to a fine powder in spice mill / chutney jar of your mixer.

prep work

Wipe mushrooms clean with wet tissues. Dreseed the bell pepper. Chop the mushrooms, onion and pepper to a fine mince. You need to mill them separately with a cleaver until they are very very finely chopped. If you've already done your share of arm exercises then by all means use a food processor. I for one feel that the act of fine chopping, going tak tak tak on the chopping board is a great stress buster.
You can mix the onions and peppers but keep the mushrooms aside due to varied cooking times.

In a sauce pan, heat the oil. Splutter the cumin and mustard seeds. Saute the garlic first, for about 10 seconds and then put in the finely chopped onions and peppers with a tsp of salt. On a medium to low heat, stir them around so that they cook evenly and do not burn.

After 4-5 minutes of cooking, add the turmeric powder and the mushrooms with another pinch of salt. Keep the flame slightly high so that the moisture released by the mushrooms dries up soon.

After 2-3 minutes, add the spice powder mixed in the vinegar and remaining salt.
On a high flame, stir rapidly all ingredients. This is to let the veggies absorb the spices well. Check for salt at this stage and adjust. Once the moisture is absorbed, mushrooms cooked and the mixture comes together which will take around 5-7 minutes, stir around on a low flame for little more time more taking care that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.

The chutney is done. Remove it onto a clean dry plate. Cool and then fill into sterilised jar. Seal with an airtight lid and you are done.

Valentine dinner tip # 2

use it as a spread on slices of a baguette rubbed with a garlic clove. Top it with some grated mozzarella and toast in a hot oven until cheese melts and the bread is a little crisp. Pair it with a glass of your favourite wine, some beautiful jazz music by Ella Fitzgerald and its the perfect start your valentine dinner.

Some interesting V Day reads:

It's romance in the stove.

Modern Love

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bee said...

i can see that as a great filling for masala dosa.

bee, who hasn't eaten a masala dosa in a year and is desperately craving one.

Anjali said...

Dr. Nandita thanks for visiting my blog. Read here http://annaparabrahma.blogspot.com/2007/02/give-your-verdict-readers.html
I am in bangalore. I look forward to your comments.

Jessica said...

Thats a lovely recipe...sounds really yummy!!waiting to try it myself!!

Sandeepa said...

Hey nandita
I left a comment here for your lovely chutney yesterday, it got lost it seems. Yesterday i couldn't see the pics.
Looks lovely today and what an unusual chutney, great

Nandita Iyer said...

Thanks folks, it does taste yum...just had it with rotis for dinner too! I guess I need to post an update on what more you can do with this one...

I guess quite some comments got lost because I didn't receive any comments since 2 days!

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