Dill is one herb (the only one perhaps) that I took a long time to appreciate. May be because it was not available in western India where I grew up. And Dill being so different from some of the other herbs that I was used to like cilantro and mint, it took a while before I started appreciating its fragrance and flavor. One of my close friends is originally from Iran and she makes a delicious Lima beans Pilaf where Dill flavor is predominant. That was my first exposure to Dill and that first time I wasn’t crazy about it. But over the years I slowly started to like its strong flavor and smell.
I started first appreciating it in pickled cucumbers. I absolutely relish pickles. And now I have grown to be quite fond of it 🙂 I still won’t use it that liberally since it can be too overpowering if you overdo it but every now and then I like to get a fresh bunch and use it sparingly in salads and baked potatoes etc. A few weeks ago I found a large bunch in our local farmer’s market and was tempted to pick it up. At that time I didn’t know what I would make with it but it somehow had such a fresh and refreshing smell that I had to bring it to my kitchen!
And then the next day as I got the Salmon out of the freezer, the idea of making a sauce popped in my head. And knowing me you won’t be surprised that I decided to make a coconut based sauce, kind of like a chutney using coconut, lemon juice and dill. So glad I did! I was thinking of baking the salmon but last minute decided to just do a quick pan fry. The dish was just perfect – the crispy salmon and the creamy coconut dill flavored chutney was like a marriage made in heaven! Mmm…Mmm good!
Pan fried Salmon, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, served with a delicious creamy coconut and dill chutney
2 salmon filets (about 6-8 oz each)
About 2 tbsp Coconut or Olive Oil for pan frying
Marinade for salmon:
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp cayenne pepper pow (I used kashmiri chill powder which is mild)
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp olive oil
For the coconut dill chutney:
½ cup grated coconut or coconut pieces(fresh or frozen)
¼ cup fresh dill
1 green chili (optional)
1 tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp sea salt (or per taste)
¼ cup hot water
Thaw the salmon and remove any scales from the skin side. Pat dry using paper towels.
In a small mixing bowl, mix all the marinade ingredients.
Apply marinade paste to the salmon filets and keep aside for 15-30 mins.
In a food processor, blend all the chutney ingredients until creamy and fine.
Heat a frying pan and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the marinated salmon pieces. Cook for about 2 mins on medium high heat. Flip and cook on the other side for about 2 mins more. Transfer to a dish.
Serve Salmon with coconut dill chutney on top!
For AIP version, skip cayenne pepper and green chili.
The first time I heard the word ‘thecha’ was from my dear friend Manisha who is from Nagpur and is an awesome cook. Her authentic Maharashtrian dishes are all fiery and simply spectacular just like her 🙂 I like to call her a Pataka….a firecracker! Lovingly, of course 🙂
Thecha is Marathi for ‘smashed or pounded’.And in Maharashtrian cuisine, it refers to a spicy relish/chutney made with chillies and garlic mainly along with some other ingredients. For example, there is red chili thecha and green chili thecha. Peanuts are also added sometimes. Having made so many different kinds of chutneys over the years, I appreciate the good old pounding method. As Manisha says, for some reason, a thecha won’t be a thecha if you make it in a food processor. The pounding works to release all flavors in a way that a food processor is unable to. And the consistency of the chutney – the coarse texture can only be achieved by pounding. So you absolutely need to bring out your mortar and pestle for this one. Or at least use a chopper so that you get a coarse consistency.
Now that I am following a diet restricting all sour foods, I yearn for my ‘pickle’ jar during meals. That’s when I thought of Manisha’s thecha. I needed something to spice up my meals even if I couldn’t eat any pickles or sour chutneys. And Manisha, the kind soul that she is, was quick to share her recipe. Oh the joys of ‘whatsapping’! She uses lime juice too in the end to kick it up a notch further but for me this was perfect even without the lime.
Mind you, this is one fiery chutney…definitely not for the ‘faint hearted’. Actually, ‘thechas’ are meant as a relish and just a tiny bit in your tongue can get your tastebuds to go on a mad frenzy! The pleasure is so intense that you could also sob. yeah…this one can bring tears! So here is the recipe – Try it at your own risk! Keep a glass of cool milk or yoghurt by your side!
1/2 cup fresh cilantro (coriander) leaves, washed and pat dried
about 1/4 tsp salt or to taste
1 tsp olive oil or peanut oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
pinch of hing (asafoetida)
In a frying pan add the oil and when hot add the green chillies, garlic and the jeera. Roast on medium flame for 2-3 minutes. Turn heat off and transfer the mixture to a mortar and pestle. Add the cilantro leaves. Pound with pestle until you get a coarsely ground mixture. Add the salt and mix. Transfer to a serving bowl/container.
In a small tadka pan, add the oil and then add the mustard seeds. When they splutter, add the hing powder and turn heat off. Pour this oil mixture over the pounded chutney.
Serve with chapatis/bhakris /dosas or rice and daal.
I had been meaning to make peanut chutney for the longest time now. A co-worke had brought this ‘lip smacking’ peanut chutney into work one day and ever since I had been pestering him to get the recipe from his wife. He did oblige shortly (or rather his sweet wife did) and then somehow between this and that, I never got a chance to making it. Then as it so happened I saw the recipe for a curry leaves chutney in a Facebook group which I was attracted to instantly too. So finally the last time I made idlis, I decided to mix up the two and make this fabulous chutney with the two awesome ingredients – peanuts for the nutty smooth taste and fresh curry leaves in a good proportion to give it a really lovely and healthy dose of flavor! Needless to say, this chutney went fabulously with the idlis. But I continued relishing it for the next day or two as an accompaniment to rice also. I have a feeling this will go well with pretty much anything – tortilla chips,pita chips, toast etc etc. Without further ado, here is the recipe. Enjoy!
20-25 fresh curry leaves, washed and dried, stems removed
2 dry red chillies (or per your taste)
1/2 cup warm water
Tiny piece of tamarind(seed removed) or 1 tsp of Lime juice
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
In a frying pan, sauté the curry leaves and the garlic on low heat for about 2-3 minutes till they turn crispy. In the same pan add the dry red chillies and roast for about 1 minute till you get the roasting smell. Transfer the curry leaves,garlic and red chillies to a food processor and add the peanuts, chana dal, onions, tamarind piece (if adding) or lime juice and salt. Add the warm water and grind to a fine paste.
Transfer to a serving bowl.
In a small tadka pan, heat the oil and when hot add the mustard seeds. when they splutter, turn heat to low and add the curry leaves. turn heat off. Pour this oil garnish over the chutney.
A Kerala sadya (feast) is not complete without the ‘Inji Pulli’ (also called Pulli Inji) which is a sweet,sour and hot chutney made using fresh grated ginger,tamarind,j aggery and chillies. Just the mention of the ingredients makes your mouth water, right? Yum. This chutney actually is very beneficial to the digestive process and enables you to finish the sadya without feeling stuffed and bloated 🙂
This dish along with some other pickles etc are made usually a day or so in advance of the actual sadya since it stores well. In fact you can store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. When we have our friends over for our Onam sadya, this chutney is in much demand and any leftover chutney is snatched by them. 🙂 And many have asked me for the recipe.
So here I am finally posting it. My version of this recipe is a slightly easier version than the traditional version which requires frying and then grinding the ginger first and then cooking it for a longer period of time to really get a thick chutney. My easy version skips some steps but believe me you still end up with a finger-licking chutney/pickle. This is a great accompaniment/side dish with paranthas and or just with some dal and rice.
The color of the chutney will vary from light brown to dark brown depending upon the color of the jaggery and the tamarind. Here I used a light brown jaggery hence the light brown color of the chutney.
I am sharing this tantalizing, rejuvenating and lip-smacking ginger chutney to Fiesta friday this week.
Golf size ball tamarind soaked in 1/2 cup warm water( or about 2 tbsp store bought tamarind pulp)
1 tbsp jaggery shredded or cut into small pieces
Grate the ginger using a grater and keep aside.
Heat a medium size wok style pan (Kadhai). Add the coconut oil and add the mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start spluttering, lower heat to medium and then add the ginger and the green chillies and the curry leaves. Saute the ginger,chillies and the curry leaves for about 3-4 mins. Add all the spices and the salt and stir for another 1 minute. Add the water. Cover and cook for about 10 mins on low heat.
From the soaked tamarind, take only the pulp out and filter out seeds and the flesh. Add this tamarind pulp and the jaggery into the ginger mixture. Continue to cook on low heat for another 7- 10 mins stirring frequently until you get a thick pasty consistency.
Let cool and transfer to a tight fitting container. This chutney can stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to a week.
It is Monday night and I am just about to type my post that I meant to post last Friday. Where did my weekend go? I am increasingly feeling that a 2 day weekend is not sufficient. Especially when the weather is so great outside. When you have so much to do! Soccer games to watch, recitals to attend, graduation parties to go to and plants to tend to! Of course, the usual chores are waiting for you as well – the laundry, the grocery shopping etc etc. …the list never ends. I need a 3 day weekend – yes that’s what I need! And then I need a long vacation. And then I want to retire! Now wouldn’t that be nice? I could blog all day and night long! Anyways back to reality and back to this post….Because of my busy work schedule, I am always looking for easy dinner options for our crazy weeknights. One option that is our family favorite and staple is dal (lentil soup), rice and pan fried fish. Start by getting the rice( parboiled) cooking in a huge pot of boiling water. Drain reserving the stock which is called konjee – my husband’s favorite drink in the world! The konjee is best when you use parboiled rice. Once in a while when there is no fish available in my freezer, then I pull out my secret ingredient from the pantry – dried shrimp! I know some of you will find this gross but those of us who have eaten dried shrimp before will know how tasty it can be. In kerala it is common especially in the coastal areas where shrimp is in abundance to get ‘dried shrimp’. I am not very familiar with the process of making dried shrimp but I believe it involves drying the shrimp in the sun for several hours each day for several days. In the US, you can find dried shrimp in Chinese/Asian supermarkets. Dried Shrimp can be just pan fried with some red chili powder and salt and coconut oil. However I love it best as dry chutney powder – by mixing it with grated coconut and dry red chillies! Oh so yum! Just give me dal, rice and this chutney any day and I am a happy girl! 🙂 My husband just loves to have this chutney as a condiment with his rice konjee. This chutney is indeed so tasty that just a tiny bit of it goes a long way! My dad used to tell us a funny story about how a vegetarian brahmin chef’s secret to making incredibly tasty vegetarian dishes had to do with him sprinkling this shrimp chutney into the dishes! LOL! I don’t mean to offend the vegetarians but just had to share this amusing story! I am bringing this shrimp chutney powder to Angie’s Fiesta Friday where I am so late this week. But better late than never!
1 cup dried shrimp (rinsed throughly and drained well)
1/2 cup fresh grated coconut (or fresh frozen coconut that has been thawed)
1 large dry red chili (or 1 tsp red chili powder)
2-3 fresh curry leaves
1/4 tsp salt or as needed
Method: Take a large frying pan and heat the coconut oil in it. Add the shrimp and sauté for about 8-10 minutes on low to medium heat stirring constantly to prevent overheating/burning. When the shrimp turn crispy and toasty, add the curry leaves and dry chili (or chili powder) and sauté for 1 more minute. Place this shrimp and chili mixture in a food processor or a chopper and pulse for a few seconds until the shrimp turns into a coarse powder. Add the grated coconut and process for 30 more seconds or so until the coconut is well blended with the shrimp. Add salt as needed. Notes:
It is best to use a chopper for making this chutney since the ideal texture for this chutney is to have it coarsely ground and not too fine.
You need to wash the shrimp thoroughly because it may have sand and or other dirt/grime. After rinsing thoroughly make sure you drain it well and dab with paper towels before sautéing in oil.
The dried shrimp already contains salt hence reserve adding salt until the end so you can add as needed.