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I am a professional and a cook,rather a cook by choice and passion.Cooking is something I fantasise about.When I first thought of starting a blog,a thousand ideas coursed through my mind,albeit,none stood the sands of time.Except for the thought of a food blog accompanied by subtle nuances from daily life and from the world around me!



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Monday, March 12, 2012

Cilantro Stems Chutney - a sweet precursor to summer!

Just happened to chance upon the famed chef, cookbook author and cookery show host Laura Calder some time back. It was surprising how I didn't manage to come across this spirited Canadian lady during my time in Canada, given that her show was a regular on Food Network Canada. I am an insanely voracious reader and have this penchant to delve relentlessly into cookbooks and scour the Internet for cooking techniques from expert cooks all over the world! Which is how I came across Laura Calder!
And once I had found her, I was reading about her fascinating French recipes and cooking techniques and her eventful life. An alumni of Concordia University, Montreal and York University, Toronto and also the London School of  Economics, she digressed early in life  from what she had been educated in to something absolutely offbeat French cooking - and pursued it passionately till she reached perfection. In her own words, she was doing everything right as the world saw it – she had a job which was paying her well, she had a good life and she had everything she could have -   though deep down she knew it was not what she wanted to do! Now, isn't that a known feeling that we all feel at sometime in our life! At least, I do! But then this gutsy lady – she chose to follow her dreams leaving the comfort of a world she knew. She traveled all the way to France to get a taste of real French cooking and methods and fearlessly treaded into the amazing world of French cooking, loaded with optimism and the unwavering zeal to learn.

And what an amazing cook she turned out to be! I have been hooked on to her series on French home cooking titled ‘Laura Calder – French Cooking at Home’ and it has been an immensely satisfying experience! Laura has a very easy-going demeanor and makes it a point to infuse her cooking with a witty repartee her and there! Her style of cooking is lucid, simple and detailed. She hosts her show in a well-stocked up, but not over made, urban kitchen and uses simple everyday cooking tools to rustle up her delicacies. A gadget does peek in now and then, but since she abhors gadgets personally, her cooking style is attuned more to home cooking with easily attainable cooking paraphernalia. Whether it is kneading flour for a Pissaladière which is a French pizza, or melting duck fat in one of her many shining steel pots for her favorite Duck Confit or fashioning out her flaky Mille Feuille and smearing it with pastry cream and dunking plump blueberries in between – everything she does has a scrumptiously contagious flair to it! So if you love French food and want to learn the secrets behind them, catch up with this intelligent, young chef extraordinaire and find yourself enamored by her charm and cooking finesse.
That leaves me with my recipe for today, which is homemade  Cilantro stems Chutney. Every time a bunch of Cilantro makes way into my kitchen, the leaves get shorn off the stems and the stems then get dumped into the trash bin! Simply because the Husband can't bear the thought of eating cilantro sticks in his curry!But it makes me feel very guilty to throw them away because I always felt they are edible and healthy for us to have. So this Sunday, I set out to replicate my Maa's Cilantro Chutney which she would make on hot, summer days - with a difference. Instead of the Cilantro leaves, I used the stems and replaced the tart Tamarind with dried Mangoes. It turned out to be so tasty, that I haven't been able to stop myself from plonking spoonfuls of it into my month at regular intervals. A must have for the summer days to come - because the cooling effect of the Cilantro and the lovely flavor is bound to bowl you over!

Cilantro stems Chutney

You will need:
Cilantro stems – About 6 cups, chopped roughly
Green chilies – 4 to 5, whole
Green peppers – 1 cup, roughly chopped
Ginger – About 3 inches, roughly diced
Castor sugar – 1 cup
Salt – 2 teaspoons
Dried mango slivers – 7 to 8 (if you are using the store bought variety). If using fresh, 4-5 slivers will suffice.
Roasted Cumin powder – 2 teaspoons
Mustard oil – 3 tablespoons

How I made it:
1. Combine the coriander stems, ginger, green chilies, green peppers, castor sugar and salt in a blender and pulse everything together on high for 7-8 mins, till all the ingredients are combined to form a fairly deep green mush.

2. Add the roasted cumin powder to the green mush and again pulse on high for another 10 mins. At this point, you might notice that the color of the chutney gradually changes from a fresh green to a cooked green or slightly olive green. That is because pulsing creates some amount of heat which caramelizes the sugar in the chutney, lending an amber hue to the fr
esh green. The result is slighter darker and richer olive green chutney.

3. Heat up the mustard oil in a pan till it just starts bubbling and then put off the flame. Allow the oil to cool down completely. Heating the oil ensures that the oil is not raw but cooked, emanating a beautiful pungent mustardy flavor. But we would want to cool it down so that it does not start cooking the green mush the moment it is added. Rather it should first be combined well and then it should infuse its flavors into the chutney.

4. Once the oil has cooled down completely, add it to the olive green chutney and pulse for another 4-5 mins. Taste the sweet, savory and tart flavors and check if the balance is pleasant to your taste buds. Add sugar or salt or a couple of more mango slices if you feel the chutney needs it. 

5. Your rich green cilantro stems chutney is ready. You can have this as a dip for chips or crackers or as an accompaniment with any Indian Flatbread like ‘Roti’ or ‘Paratha’. Tastes lovely as a spread on toasted bread and can be had just like that! Enjoy!

22 thoughtful musings left behind...:

Torviewtoronto said...

cilantro chutney looks wonderful

Spice up the Curry said...

Sounds interesting. Never made using stems.

Marina said...

What a tasty chutney! Love the color too.

faseela said...

Sudha, tyhat is a lovely way to use the cilantro stems......amazing idea dear....

Amelia's De-ssert said...

Hi Sudha, your chutney look tasty and I love the jade color. I think it should taste nice with tosai. Have a nice day. Regards

Hema said...

Superb, using raw mangoes in place of tamarind, nice idea..

maha said...

yum yum.iam sure this chutney tastes awesome..looking great.......

Indulge said...

I make this chutney every time I get Cilantro form the grocery store. and Yes I use the stems and all except the roots for making chutney, I mean y waste when u pay for it all. We love it even on the pizza giving the Italian pizza the desi jhutka.
Love Ash.

Aarthi said...

This is such a wonderful recipe..Thanks for posting it..Bookmarked..


Eftychia said...

Delicious dish! Thanks for sharing.

Maayeka said...

very delicious chutney..never tried adding mustard oil in green chutney..love to try this soon...

Deeps @ Naughty Curry said...

wish that show were aired here in india too! i mostly dump cilantro stems too, sometimes they find thier way into thai curries. this is a nice use of them

Elpiniki said...

Looks really good! I love this color!

Amy said...

this sounds wonderful....I havent tasted anything with main ingredient as cilantro,but I am sure this is tasty with its flavour...

Suchi said...

The chutney looks yum...sprinkle this on anything and it completely changes the flavour...Cilantro chutney with mangoes? Sounds intriguing...the one I make is with lime juice...

An Open Book said...

i had no clue you could use cilantro stems for chutney. I should remember to not throw them away the next time. They smell so divine and i always feel bad chucking it

Amy said...

This chutney sounds wonderful and summery! I love cilantro!

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