Chana Dal (Split Bengal Gram) Chatni (Chutney)
Kala Chana Chatni
This is an invention of my elder sister, a version of South Indian Coconut chutney, made without the coconut, because her husband doesn't like coconut. It is also for people who are allergic to coconut but still want to have a suitable chutney with South Indian dishes like Idli, Semolina Idli, Semolina Dosa, Dosa-.
The word ‘chutney’ comes from original Hindi word ‘chatni’ which is a tangy and spicy paste, that makes you smack you lips, makes your tongue and mouth come alive! The word ‘chat’ or ‘chaat’ mean ‘lick’ and ‘chatna’ means ‘to lick’. The original Indian chatni is a mix of uncooked fruit (raw mango/apple/other fruits), green chillies, herbs like coriander and mint, a few spices, lemon or vinegar or tamarind, sometimes sugar, all ground together to a paste. Other ingredients can also be added according to taste. In England, and the West, it is called Chutney and it generally means a spicy preserve/condiment, where fruits or vegetables have been cooked in vinegar, with spices and sugar, and then bottled-Mamta Serves 6
1 cup pre-roasted, split and skinless Bengal gram (also known as kala chana)*
2 tbsp. tamarind pulp or imli extract** (adjust to taste)
Salt to taste (you can use kala namak or black salt)
1/4 tsp. chilli powder, adjust to taste
1 green chilli, finely chopped
For Tempering or tarka:
1-2 tsp. oil
4 tsp. black mustard seeds
A pinch of asafoetida or hing
15-20 curry leaves
1 dry red chilli, broken up
*Roasted chana is a popular snack in India, just like roasted peanuts. It is available from Indian grocers in the West. If you can’t get it, heat a little oil in a wok/kadhai and fry skinless chana dal on medium heat until light brown.
Place all chutney ingredients in a grinder.
For Tempering or tarka, heat oil in a ladle.
Add mustard seeds and asafoetida/hing.
When the seeds splutter/crackle, add curry leaves and broken up chilli. Stir with a teaspoon quickly and pour over the chutney ingredients in the blender, taking care not to touch the plastic walls with hot oil. Cover with a lid to infuse the flavours.
Grind until almost smooth and of grainy consistency.
Adjust salt, chillies and tamarind etc. to taste. The finished chutney should be a little 'tart' or 'khatta'.
Serve at room temperature.
Also see Pickle and Chutney selection.
** Tamarind purée/paste can be bought in jars from Chinese, Asian grocers. It is much better than the dark coloured tamarind concentrate. It is just tamarind pulp with fibrous bits removed. If tamarind it hard to find, use lemon juice. The taste will be different, but reasonable. Amounts are difficult to specify exactly, they go by taste. Chutney should be tangy and a little hot.