Cooking is not difficult. Everyone has taste, even if they don't realize it. Even if you're not a great chef, there's nothing to stop you understanding the difference between what tastes good and what doesn't.
- Gerard Depardieu
It would be a grave injustice to this blog if I do not write this post. In fact, in my humble opinion, every Indian blogger should have a recipe for this versatile, aromatic, flavorsome and tasty dip/condiment. Well, I am talking about the one and only Mint Chutney/Pudhina Chutney. Imagine the dark green mint leaves combined with the fiery green peppers, and add a touch of spice and a dash of lemon juice - a true festival of flavors!
Let me be frank with you. Back in India, I never cared about making these chutneys especially the mint chutney at home. Whenever we craved it, we just have to step out of the house and will be spoilt for choice - picking a chaat shop or a darshini (fast food joints specialized in Karnataka delicacies) would be the hardest thing to do. I felt it was easier to go out and eat than make these chutneys at home.
Things changed when we moved to the US. I think my cooking skills took a wild(er) turn for good after that. The dishes that I took for granted were no longer (easily) available. We get some of the dishes at the Indian grocery store, but they never felt like the real deal. So, there came a stage that if we craved it, it became my responsibility to make it. Well, I used to crib and complain about it at times, but I started realizing that I started enjoying cooking. It was almost therapeutic.
I always imagined things would be different for my family and friends back in India. I envied them since they would still be enjoying eating out at our favorite joints and restaurants. But I realize that things are changing rapidly in India too, especially in Bangalore. Malls have taken over family run shops and restaurants. Fa(s)t food has taken over the simple darshinis by storm and kids demand burgers and fries! And the prices - don't get me started on that! I have stopped asking my sister about the cost of eating out because I am sure that once she tells me, I will go into a shock and never recover from the jolt.
I have vented my thoughts. Now, let's talk about the festival of flavors, Mint Chutney. Does zero oil tempt you? What about rich in fiber and low-calorie? Yes! Now, I know for sure, I have your attention. Did you know that mint leaves are rich in Vitamin A? You can read more health benefits of mint here and here.
Every household has its own version of Mint Chutney. My version uses a little bit of coconut (ha! you knew that was coming, didn't you?). I feel it gives the dip a little more volume and body.
Mint Chutney is a very common condiment served in India with evening tea time snacks. This is a simple recipe that can be made in no time. It is pretty versatile in a way that you can serve it as a dip/sauce for vegetable fritters/pakoras. You can also use it as a spread to make an open sandwich.
I use it as a dip for my Parippuvadas (to be frank, they do not need any dip as such, but I think it adds a little more complete feeling when you serve the fritters) and you can serve this dip with the Chicken Patties. My most favorite use for this chutney is as a spread on a sandwich. You can make these open sandwiches, spread a little butter and mint chutney (to your heart's content) and top with tons of veggies on home-made cumin bread. Trust me, it is a-filling-yet-not-too-heavy-on-your-tummy meal.
Like I said, this recipe is just a variation of thousands of variations of Mint Chutney. If you have a favorite version, I would appreciate it if you leave the recipe in your comments and if you are food blogger (thanks a ton for stopping by, I know how much effort goes into blogging), please leave the link (if you already have posted it on your blog) of your version of Mint Chutney recipe in the comments so that others (including me) can find it. Thanks again.
- 1 cup Mint leaves
- 1 cup Cilantro/Coriander leaves
- ½ Lemon
- 1-2 Serrano Pepper (to taste; you can use any green pepper)
- 2-3 cloves Garlic (medium sized)
- ¼ teaspoon Cumin Powder/Jeera Powder
- ½ teaspoon Chaat Masala
- 1 tablespoon Grated coconut (fresh or frozen, thawed)
- ½ inch Ginger piece (washed and peeled)
- Salt to taste
- Wash and pat dry mint leaves and cilantro and roughly chop them (see Recipe Notes).
- Juice the lemon and set it aside in a small bowl till ready to use.
- Grind together coconut, ginger, garlic and serrano pepper to a paste without adding water. You can use either a food processor or the dry grinding attachment of Mixer-Grinder.
- To the above mixture, add the chopped mint and coriander leaves and grind again to a smooth paste.
- Transfer the ground mixture to a serving bowl, add lemon juice (to taste), cumin powder, chaat masala and salt to taste. Mint Chutney is ready to serve.
1. Make sure you remove the stems from the Mint leaves and Cilantro leaves.
2. I like mint chutney to have a nice garlicky flavor. If you do not care for the garlic flavor, reduce the garlic cloves you add.
3. You should not have difficulty in grinding the ingredients with out using water, but in step 3 & 4 , if it is difficult to grind without adding water, use very little water to help you grind the ingredients together.
4. Since mint chutney can be made easily, I make only small quantities (as per my requirement). But if you have leftovers, you can store it in the refrigerator for a few days in an airtight container. You can freeze it, but it will change color. Thaw before you use it.