This popular dish from Andhra is made from red chillies that are found in abundance there. This is a recipe handed down for generations in my family. Earlier the chillies, tamarind and rock salt were pounded together and the mixture was sun dried for a day or two and stored in jaadis. Whenever needed, a small amount was seasoned.
What you need
Ripe red chillies: 1 kg
Tamarind: 1/4 kg
Jaggery: 100 gm
Salt to taste: 2- 4 tbsp
Fenugreek seeds: 2 tsp
Gingelly oil: 200 ml
Cumin (optional): 3 tbsp
Wash the chillies and air dry, remove the stalks and cut into three or four large pieces.
Wash the tamarind and soak in a small quantity of water.
Heat 2 tbsp oil and roast asafoetida and fenugreek seeds and cumin, remove from the pan and add the chilli and toss them till lightly roasted.
Grind all the roasted ingredients with tamarind and jaggery. Add salt gradually, to taste.
Heat the remaining oil. Add a tsp of mustard seeds and when they crackle, add the ground chutney and cook for a few minutes, stirring all the time till it moves in one lump like a halwa.
Cool and store in bottles, preferably in the refrigerator, if preserving for a long time. Serve with hot rice and ghee.
Malathi Mohan is a retired professor and past president of the Indian Dietetic Association. She loves cooking special dishes.