Do you know anyone who has the ability to just brighten up the room the minute they enter in. It is their smile, genuine nice attitude or even the way they crack jokes, they just makes the situation nicer.
I cherish such friends, very thankful to have them in my life.
If I had to relate this back to the food, I think condiments are like these special friends. Anytime if it seems like what you have cooked for dinner is just blah, a nice chutney, salsa, dip can come to the rescue and help revive the meal.
I love condiments of all kinds. I love making yogurt based dips, spicy chutneys, fresh salsas of various kinds. My favorite of all are the spicy condiments.
When my kids were younger everything I cooked was very mild. I am lucky that my kids eat all the vegetables ever since they were babies so I wanted to make sure it stays that way. As a result I would also have to eat very mild food, that was really hard. So I started making chutneys and relishes, these were spicy and complimented the mild food well.
One such chutney is the ‘Cilantro chutney’. You can also call it Cilantro pesto. My friend Uma taught me this one. What I love about this recipe is all the things needed are usually available easily at home. It takes only a few minutes to make and stays well in fridge for a week, although I must warn you, it is so yummy that it barely lasts a day, usually it is cleaned up quickly.
- 1 1/2 cup of washed , cleaned Cilantro
- 1 tbsp roasted peanuts
- 2 garlic cloves
- 8-10 spicy green chilies ( I use thai chilies since I like it spicy)
- 1 tsp Cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp oil
- Dry roast the peanuts
- Heat oil in a pan. Add the cumin seeds and turmeric powder
- Add chopped green chilies and chopped garlic
- Saute for 30 seconds, don’t let the garlic or chili burn or brown.
- Add cilantro and turn the heat off. Add salt. Cover and leave it to warm through.
- Grind the peanuts to a powder.
- Add cooled cilantro mixture and grind to a paste. I like to keep it a little coarse and not grind it super fine.
It can be used in many ways. I love serving it in the pretty yellow bowl. I bought it in Nepal, we visited Bhaktapur darbar. Amongst many other beautiful carvings and handicraft we also got to see beautiful pottery. It was amazing to see the potters turn the wheel and make these beautiful art pieces.
1. Mix it with some sour cream, yogurt or Greek yogurt to make a quick dip. I love it with pita chips.
2. Mix it with butter to make a great sandwich spread. I love to add some sliced avocado and make an open faced sandwich. I also like to add alfalfah sprouts to this, add a nice crunch to this already tasty sandwich.