Good things come in small packages
It would be an understatement to say that chutneys are an integral part of an Indian meal. They come in countless forms and combinations, and are used as condiments to zip up something that someone might find bland. In traditional maharashtrian meals, chutneys are generally served as part of a meal, in small quantitites, on the top left side of the plate.
This is a simple dry chutney that takes only minutes to make, but is high on flavor and very versatile. Since it is dry, it also lasts for a long time. In marathi it could be called 'shengdANe ANI tILAchi chaTNI'.
1 scant cup of peanuts
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
2 dried red chilies
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon sugar
On a medium skillet, roast the peanuts, sesame seeds, chilies and cumin seeds for a few minutes. Take it off the heat and let it get cool. Add the chili powder, salt, and sugar to it, and powder everything in a food processor. Do not over process, as it could get sticky. It will keep in an airtight container for several days, even weeks.
While this chutney can be definitely served as part of a meal, there are plenty of uses for it that I like. It can be stirred into some sesame oil to eat with dosas and idlis, or it can be stirred into some yogurt to make a wet chutney.
Add it to simple salads like onion-tomato or tomato-cucumber. Add it to sauteed okra at the end for an added crunch and taste. Sprinkle some on top of a bagel with cream cheese, a new favorite use.
I am sending this to the 'Regional Cuisines of India - Maharashtra' event.