If ketchup and mustard are a staple in every American home, Chutney Powder is a staple in every South Indian Home. It can be stored for months, can be mixed with a bit of oil or yogurt to serve as a side dish with rice pancakes or dosa, idli (steamed rice cakes) or with some ghee on hot rice. My mother makes the best chutney powder of all (don't we all say that about our mother?). But she uses a lot of dry coconut or copra in it which makes it so tasty. I can't get very good quality copra here and my reserve of copra from India had come to an end. So, I tweaked the recipe, but used garlic instead of the more traditional hing and came with a different version altogether. Since curry leaves are not so easy to come by here, I used cilantro instead.
I promise you all that the moment I get more copra, I will post my mother's version of Chutney Powder.
One Year Back - Making of mermaid cake, Baklava
Bengal gram dal / Kadale bele - 1 cup
Black gram dal / Uddina bele - 1 cup
Roasted peanuts - 1 cup
Tamarind - 1 big lemon size
Cilantro - 1 cup chopped
Garlic - 1 whole head peeled
Salt - to taste
Red Chilli powder - 2 tsp or to taste (See Notes)
In a skillet, dry roast black gram dal. When it is half done, add garlic and cilantro. Keep toasting till the black gram dal gets golden and the garlic gets toasted but not dry and burnt. Set aside. Next take bengal gram dal in the skillet and roast along with tamarind till the bengal gram dal is golden. When done, to the same skillet, add roasted peanuts (See Notes) and let it be on low heat for a minute or two. Turn off the heat and add red chilli powder to the pot. (See Notes)
When all the toasted ingredients have cooled down, take them little by little in a blender or a dry grinder and powder them. It need not be a fine powder. It can be a coarse powder. Mix them all and add salt to taste and mix. Store in air tight container and use within 2 months. Serve with rice, dosa, idli along with some oil if desired.
You could use raw peanuts but then you will have to roast them and use. You could use red chillies instead of using chilli powder. You will need about 30 - 40 red chillies depending on how hot you need this powder to be. If using red chillies, roast them with one of the dals. You could try this with walnuts instead of peanuts too. Or almonds for that matter. They not only give you a different version, but will also make it healthier since they are so rich in omega fatty acids and protein.