While most places are transitioning to wetter and darker skies, Central Florida is hitting the sweet season. Gone are the days of midday rainstorms, and turbulent tropical weather, making way for dryer breezes and days full of sun. My office is throwing a barbeque in our parking lot, as a last hurrah of summer. I’m bringing a big bowl of Spicy Cilantro Chutney (Hari) along with a few bags of pita chips, to share with everyone, as well as a personal batch to take home!
Adapted from Sailu’s Kitchen
• 2 cups freshly chopped cilantro
• 1 cup fresh mint leaves
• 3-4 green chilis
• 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (one whole lemon)
• 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
• 1 tablespoon water
• 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
• A pinch of salt
What You’ll Need:
A Blender, Mortar and Pestle, or Food Processor
Begin removing the leaves from the cilantro stalks; do the same for the mint leaves. Coarsely chop the leaves all together. In a glass, mix the red wine vinegar, lemon juice, water, salt and sugar. Stir until well incorporated, ideally the salt and sugar will melt slightly into the liquid. Take a handful of leaves and place in your blender, add half the liquid, and begin pulsating the blender until the first batch is thoroughly chopped. Now, add the last half of the leaves, and remainder of the liquid. Pulsate until well stirred and chopped within the blender— then kick it up to full blending speed.
In the original recipe, Sailu suggests grinding the leaves with a mortar and pestle; you can also use a food processor. Both of the methods mentioned achieve a thick, paste consistency. I intended for our guests to use the mix straight, as a salsa, so using the blender was the best choice.
I adore this recipe both for its spiciness and for its versatility. I enjoy it straight from the blender with pita chips. However, there are many sauces that begin with this spicy cilantro base. I’ve used it mixed in equal part with mayonnaise, for a sandwich spread, as well as whisking in a bit of oil and plain yogurt to top chicken for a dinner’s main course.
For my coworkers to take some Hari Chutney home, I poured a few spoons into small containers, and personalized them with Mai Li labels, arranging them on the table around my own bowl of chutney.
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