Shrimp, Snow Pea and Grapefruit Salad with Smoked Maple Vinaigrette

1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp Runamok Pecan Wood Smoked Maple Syrup
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Mesclun lettuce mix for 4
12 medium shrimp, cooked and peeled
1 grapefruit, peeled and cut into small segments
Toasted cashews
10 uncooked snow peas, rinsed and sliced

Make the vinaigrette by placing the mustard, maple syrup, vinegar and olive oil in a small bowl and whisking vigorously.

Put the mesclun greens and sliced snow peas in a bowl and toss with the vinaigrette, making sure to coat evenly. Taste for seasoning and add salt and fresh ground pepper accordingly.

Place dressed greens on four individual plates then top with three shrimp each and a few segments of grapefruit. Sprinkle some cashews on each salad and serve.

Beet, Arugula, Citrus, and Feta Salad with Ginger-Maple Vinaigrette

2 – 3 beets
Bunch of arugula
1 navel orange, peeled and sectioned
2 oz feta cheese

1 Tbsp Runamok Ginger Infused Maple Syrup
2 Tbsp walnut oil
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Salt and fresh ground pepper

Prepare the beets by scrubbing off any dirt and trimming the tops and bottoms but leaving the rest of the skin on. Put them in boiling water for about ten minutes or until fork tender then remove from the water to cool. The skins should come off very easily at this point and once they are peeled, dice them into chunks and set aside.

Prepare the vinaigrette by whisking all of the ingredients together and tasting for salt and pepper.

Toss the arugula and beets in some vinaigrette and arrange on a plate. Top with bite-sized pieces of orange and a sprinkling of crumbled feta.

Otsu (Soba Salad with Sesame-Ginger Dressing)

Grated zest of 1 lemon
Fresh ginger, cut into a 1-inch cube, peeled, and grated
1 tablespoon honey
3/4 teaspoon cayenne
3/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup unseasoned brown-rice vinegar
1/3 cup shoyu sauce (wheat-free soy sauce)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

12 ounces dried soba noodles
12 ounces extra-firm nigari tofu
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cucumber, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 small handful of cilantro sprigs, for garnish
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Make the dressing by combining the zest, ginger, honey, cayenne, and salt in a food processor (or use a hand blender) and process until smooth. Add the lemon juice, rice vinegar, and shoyu, and pulse to combine. With the machine running, drizzle in the oils.

Cook the soba in plenty of rapidly boiling salted water just until tender, then drain and rinse under cold running water.

While the pasta is cooking, drain the tofu, pat it dry, and cut it into rectangles roughly the size of your thumb (½ inch thick and 1 inch long). Cook the tofu in a dry nonstick (or well-seasoned) skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes, until the pieces are browned on one side. Toss gently once or twice, then continue cooking for another minute or so, until the tofu is firm, golden, and bouncy.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the soba, the ¼ cup cilantro, the green onions, cucumber, and about ? cup of the dressing. Toss until well combined. Add the tofu and toss again gently. Serve on a platter, garnished with the cilantro sprigs and the toasted sesame seeds.

Serves 4-6.

JULY 19, 2004

Soba Salad with Rhubarb-Ginger Tahini

(adapted from Otsu Recipe on 101 Cookbooks)

Dressing (makes more than what you need for the recipe, but nice to keep around):

1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1-2 tablespoons (or more;) Brooklyn Delhi Rhubarb Ginger Achaar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce or tamari
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons pure sesame oil
1 tablespoon tahini paste

Soba noodle salad
8 oz. soba noodles, cooked according to package directions
6 oz baked tofu or 8 oz extra firm tofu, cubed (directions below)
1 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 scallion, green and white part, cleaned and thinly sliced
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut in half lengthwise then cut across into thin half-moons.
sesame seeds
more cilantro for garnishing

If using extra firm tofu: Add tofu to a large non-stick skillet without any oil and toss over high heat until all water has evaporated. Add canola oil, reduce heat to medium-high and fry, tossing frequently until tofu is firm and bouncy. Drain over paper towels.

In a blender, combine all the dressing ingredients. Blend well. Add tahini and blend together.

In a large mixing bowl combine drained soba noodles, cilantro, scallions, cucumber. Slowly add dressing and toss Add more dressing to your taste. Arrange salad in center of large plate and top with baked or fried tofu. Garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro sprigs. Serve with more dressing on the table just in case!

Spicy Roasted Garlic Aioli

1 tablespoon Brooklyn Delhi roasted garlic achaar
1/2 cup mayo (can sub with vegenaise or aquafaba mayo)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Mash roasted garlic achaar. Whisk in mayonnaise, olive oil, and lemon juice. Season to taste with coarse salt and pepper.

TIP: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Majjige Huli (Cucumber Yogurt Curry)

1-3 green Serrano chilies (to taste based on size and desired “hotness”)
1/2 bunch green coriander leaves washed and cleaned
1/4 cup of a fresh coconut OR 1/3 cup unsweetened desiccated dry coconut
1/4 cup roasted channa dal*
1/8 to 1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2-3/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
2 red chilies
2 sprigs curry leaves (optional)
3 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1” wide pieces
1 1/2 cups of plain yogurt** (natural style without gelatin or other additives)
Salt to taste***
1 tsp oil for tempering

*You can use chenna dhal soaked in hot water for 15 mins. if you don’t have roasted channa dal.
**The amount of yogurt can be adjusted to taste based on spiciness.
***Cucumber water has salt in it, so taste before adding more salt

Peel the cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise, remove the seeds, and cut in half again lengthwise. Then cut into 1” wide pieces.

Boil in salted water until tender (about 10-15 mins.). Cover for the last 3-4 minutes. Drain but retain about 1 cup of the water and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, in a blender container add the following ingredients in the following order: roasted channa dal, coconut, green chilies, coriander leaves, turmeric, cumin seeds, and leaves from 1 sprig of the curry leaves. Now slowly add the cup of cooled cucumber water and blend to a smooth paste – add just enough of the remaining cucumber water as needed to keep the blender blades moving.

Whisk the yogurt to a smooth consistency and add the blended mixture to it. Continue to whisk until well blended. Taste to adjust salt. Add the cooled cucumber pieces and stir to mix.

In hot oil, fry the mustard seeds till they pop (use lid to prevent spattering). Immediately reduce the heat, add curry leaves from the remaining curry leaf sprig and the red chilies. Heat for about 30 seconds. Immediately add to the yogurt mixture and mix well.

This can be served either cold or at room temperature.

Other vegetables that can be used: boiled potatoes; boiled Chinese winter melon (ash gourd); stir fried okra pieces; or stir fried Japanese eggplant.

Pol Sambol (Sri Lanka Coconut Sambol)

1/2 fresh coconut ,grated (about 1/2 lb), (or 1/3 lb frozen grated coconut)
6 small red dried chili peppers (or 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
6 small Bombay onions or 1 red onion, diced
1 tablespoon Maldive fish chips (optional)
Juice of 1 lime

Using a large mortar and pestle (or working in batches in a smaller mortar and pestle), grind the dried red chilies with the salt and sugar into a fine paste until there are no chili seeds visible in the paste.

Then, add the Maldive fish chips (optional), and grind a little more.
Next, add the freshly shredded coconut to combine with the paste. The whole idea at this stage is to get the coconut to absorb the flavor and get the color of the chili paste.

Finely, add the diced red onions. Grind a couple more minutes until obtaining a paste with enough texture.

Add the juice of the lime, mix well, and serve

Lunu Miris (Sri Lankan Sambol)

1 large red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon crushed mild red pepper
1 tablespoon umbalakada (smoked and dried Maldives fish)
2 teaspoons lime juice

Place all the ingredients except the lime juice in a mortar and, using a pestle, crush them.

Pound the ingredients to develop their flavor.

Add salt to taste.

Add the lime juice and mix well with the pestle, pounding the mixture well.

Notes: One of the most popular ways of eating lunu miri is alongside kiribath, a simple coconut milk and white rice dish served in squares, diamonds or with the rice rounded into a mound and flattened. Lunu miris is also commonly eaten with roti, while the dish most Sri Lankan tourists will remember is lunu miris served with is egg hoppers, or appam, a bowl-shaped fried coconut and rice crepe that is commonly eaten for breakfast and is a street food favorite. Its bold and hot flavors pair well as a meat marinade, is a topping for grilled fish or roasted veggies, can be used as a mix-in for soups and stews, and as an appetizer with a side of flatbread or raw veggies.

Lunu miris can be made in only five minutes and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week, or frozen for a month and still retain its freshness.

Vegetable Pulao and Raita

You will need: (* – Refer notes)

Rice (Basmati or similar long-grained) – 2 cups
Ghee (clarified butter)* – 2 tbsp + 2 tsp
Whole spices like cinnamon stick , cloves, cardamom and black pepper corns**
Onion – 1 medium-sized, finely chopped
Vegetables like carrots, peas and green beans – 1 cup (total)
Lemon juice – 1 tbsp
Water – 3 cups
Cashew nuts and raisins for garnish (optional)

Wash the rice in water. Drain well and keep aside***.

Heat 2 tbsp ghee in a thick bottomed vessel (I use a pressure cooker). Add the whole spices and allow it to sputter and become fragrant.

Add the chopped onions. Saute till they turn translucent.
Add the vegetables and saute for a minute.

Add 3 cups water****. Add enough salt and bring to a gentle boil.

Add the washed rice and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Mix well and check seasoning.

Cover and cook till done.

If using a pressure cooker, cook on medium high till you hear a whistle, lower the heat and cook for 5 more minutes. Else, cover the vessel with a heavy lid and cook till done.
This dish can easily be cooked in a rice cooker too. Do the sauteing in a pan and transfer to the rice cooker along with rice, water and lemon juice.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the remaining ghee and fry the cashew nuts and raisins till golden.

To serve, fluff pulao well, garnish with nuts and serve hot with raita or your favorite curry.


* Substitute with oil, if ghee is not available or you are extremely health conscious!

** For 2 cups of rice, I use a 2-inch piece of cinnamon stick, 3-4 cloves, 2-3 pods of cardamom and 3-4 black pepper corns.

*** The washed rice can be roasted in a little ghee. I usually skip this step (read the title!) and it turns out okay.

****Typically, the Basmati rice I use, needs 1.5 cups of water per cup of rice. Some rice types may need up to 2 cups of water. This information is usually available on the rice packet.

Now on to the raita. The following is the recipe for a simple tomato and onion raita with a surprise garnish!

You will need:

Thick yogurt – 1 cup
Onion – 1 small, finely chopped
Tomato – 1 small, de-seeded and finely chopped
Green chillies – 2, chopped
Grapes – for garnish (the surprise!)

Whip yogurt well with a fork or whisk.

Add onions, tomatoes and green chillies.

Season with salt.

Garnish with green or red grapes cut in half. This is kind of a family tradition at our house. I playfully added a couple of grapes to raita one day and my husband was hooked! It adds a playful sweetness.

You can use cilantro and mint leaves also for garnish.

You can add finely chopped cucumbers and carrots to the raita too. Don’t forget to de-seed the cucumbers.

Tomato Rice with Cucumber-Carrot Raita

Rice – 2 cups (any long grained or fluffy white rice variety)
Water – 3.5-4 cups or enough to cook the rice
Oil – 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Whole dry red chilies – 3
Curry leaves – a few
Onion – 6-8 small shallots or 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
Tomato – 3, chopped
Green chilies – 1-2
Ginger-garlic paste – 1 tsp
Red chili powder – 1/2 tsp and coriander powder – 1 tsp; or sambar powder* – 1 1/2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Fresh cilantro leaves – for garnish (optional)
Roasted peanuts or cashew nuts – for garnish (optional)

Notes: * – Sambar powder adds a unique flavor to this rice. It is easily available at International grocery stores here. If not available, use a combination of red chili and coriander powders.

Cucumber-Carrot Raita:

Yogurt – 1 cup
Cucumber – 1/2 cup, de-seeded and chopped
Carrot – 1/2 cup, chopped
Green chili – 1, chopped
Salt – 1/2 tsp
How to:

Tomato Rice:

Prepare rice as usual. Fluff with a fork or spoon and keep aside.
Heat oil in a large pan. Add the mustard seeds, whole red chilies and curry leaves.
When the mustard seeds start sputtering, add the onions and green chilies, and saute till the onions are translucent.
Add the ginger and garlic paste and saute well till the raw smell is gone.
Add the masala powders and saute for a few seconds.
Add the chopped tomatoes and 1/4 cup water. Add salt to taste. Cover and let the tomatoes cook.
Open the lid and mash the tomatoes lightly with a spoon. The consistency should be that of a thick gravy so as to coat the rice well, but not too watery.
Add the cooked rice. Mix well, taking care not to mash the rice.
Garnish with the nuts and cilantro. Serve hot with raita or chutney.

Cucumber-Carrot Raita:

Take the yogurt in a bowl and beat well with a fork or whisk. Use a couple of tablespoons of water to thin it, if desired.
Add the chopped cucumber, carrot and green chili and salt. Mix well and serve chilled.

Raita can be made with onions and tomatoes too.

Coconut-Mint Chutney

You will need:

Oil – 1 tbsp
Mint leaves – a medium bunch
Cilantro leaves – a small bunch
Coconut – 1 cup, grated or shredded
Small red onions or shallots – 5-6, halved
Ginger – 2-in piece, roughly chopped
Garlic – 2 pods, crushed (optional)
Whole red chilies – 1-2 (as per heat level required)
Small green chilies – 1-2 (as per heat level required)
Salt – as per taste
Lemon juice – 1 tbsp

For tempering:

Oil – 2 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves – a few sprigs
Urad dal (split black lentils) – 1 tsp

How to:

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan. Add the whole red chilies, shallots, ginger, garlic, green chilies, and the herbs. Saute lightly on medium heat till the leaves are wilted.

Add the coconut and saute for a couple of minutes. Once cooled, grind this mixture with a little water. Add salt to taste and stir in the lemon juice.

Heat 2 teaspoon oil in a small saucepan. Add the tempering ingredients. When the urad dal turns golden, mix in the chutney and serve.

This is an excellent accompaniment for Indian breakfast like dosas, idlis or parathas and other savory snacks.

Trio of Chutneys (Coconut, Tomato, and Green)

For Coconut Chutney:
Shredded coconut (fresh) – 1 cup
Green chili – 1-2
Ginger – 1″ piece
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Roasted gram dal – 1 tbsp
Tamarind – a dime-sized ball (or use ½ tsp tamarind paste)
Salt – to taste

For Tomato Chutney:
Oil – 2 tbsp
Red onions – 1 small, roughly chopped
Tomato – 2 large, roughly chopped
Garlic – 1 clove
Ginger – 1/2 inch piece
Red chili powder – 1-2 tsp
Sugar – a pinch
Salt – to taste

For Green Chutney:
Shredded coconut (fresh) – 1 cup
Green chili – 1-2
Ginger – 1″ piece
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Roasted gram dal – 1 tbsp
Tamarind – a dime-sized ball (or use ½ tsp tamarind paste)
Coriander leaves – 1/2 cup, packed
Mint leaves – 8-10
Salt – to taste

For tadka seasoning:
Oil – 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Urad dal – 1½ tbsp
Roasted gram dal – 2 tbsp
Dried red chilies – 6
Curry leaves – 1 sprig (optional)
Shallots – 2 tbsp, thinly sliced (optional)

Coconut chutney: Grind all the ingredients together adding very little water as needed. If required, you can thin the chutney after grinding with more water. Do not add a lot of water at the beginning or you will not be able to grind the ingredients properly. Remove chutney to a bowl.

Tomato chutney: Heat oil in a skillet. Add the onions, ginger, garlic and chilies. Saute until onions are soft. Then add the tomatoes and red chili powder, and cook until tomatoes are soft and mushy.

Cool this mixture slightly and blend with a pinch of sugar and salt to taste. Remove to a bowl.

Green chutney: Grind all the ingredients together adding very little water as needed. If required, you can thin the chutney after grinding with more water. Do not add a lot of water at the beginning or you will not be able to grind the ingredients properly. Remove chutney to a bowl.

Tadka/Seasoning: Heat oil in a small saucepan. Add tadka ingredients and fry until the mustard seeds pop, the urad dal becomes reddish brown, and the shallots are golden brown. Divide the prepared tadka and pour over the three prepared chutneys before serving. Serve chutneys with idlis, dosa, upma, and other breakfast/tiffin dishes.

Store leftover chutneys covered in the fridge for 1-2 days, though the tomato chutney may keep for a couple more days.

Green Mango Pachadi

1 large, unripe mango, peeled and diced (with the crunch and consistency of a Granny Smith apple)
1 cup fresh/frozen grated coconut (do not use dried or sweetened coconut)
2 green Thai chili peppers (not seeded), diced (may substitute serrano chile peppers)
2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt (may substitute Greek-style yogurt)
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seed
10 curry leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon hing (asafetida)
1 teaspoon salt

Combine the mango, coconut and green Thai chili peppers in a high-powered blender; pulse to reduce the mixture to very small pieces. Add a little of the water; pulse just long enough to achieve a slightly grainy, batterlike consistency. Transfer to a large bowl; whisk in the yogurt and water until thoroughly incorporated.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mustard seed and toast briefly; it will crackle and pop almost immediately. Then add the curry leaves and the cumin, turmeric and hing, stirring to keep those ingredients from scorching. Remove from the heat.

Pour the spice mixture into the mango-yogurt mixture in the bowl, then add the salt, whisking to blend. Serve right away, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

VARIATION: If green mango is unavailable, the pachadi can be made with diced shallots and halved cherry tomatoes, kernels of corn or diced cucumber. Simply omit the mango and coconut, and garnish with a chiffonade of fresh cilantro.

Source: Adapted from Vikram Sunderam, executive chef at Rasika in the District.

Coconut Chutney

1/4 cup chana dal (split chickpeas; see headnote)
5 tablespoons finely shredded fresh/frozen unsweetened coconut (see headnote)
2 small green Thai chili peppers, stemmed
2 tablespoons minced fresh peeled ginger root
10 fresh/frozen curry leaves (see headnote)
3 to 4 tablespoons room-temperature water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon hing (asafetida; see headnote)

Toast the chana dal in a small, dry skillet over medium heat, stirring, until lightly browned. Let cool.

Combine the coconut, green Thai chilies, ginger, 5 of the curry leaves and the toasted chana dal in a high-powered blender. Run until finely chopped, then, with the motor running, add the water (as needed) and lemon juice; puree briefly to form a spoonable chutney with a slightly grainy texture. It should be pale green. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Heat the oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the mustard seed, which will start to crackle and pop almost immediately. Quickly add the hing and the remaining 5 curry leaves; stir-fry just until the leaves crisp up, then immediately pour the mustard-seed mixture on top of the coconut chutney (like a garnish).

Serve right away.

Source: Adapted from Ananda Poojary, owner of Woodlands in Langley Park.

Cantaloupe Chutney

1 cantaloupe, peeled and cubed
1 1/2 tablespoons ghee
2 dried red chilis broken in two or can use dried red chili flakes to your taste
6 cardamom pods, peeled and crushed
4 cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon ginger, grated
1/2 cup jaggery or brown sugar
1/2 cup blanched and sliced almonds, toasted
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup honey
1 cup yellow raisins
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped rough

Crush the cardamom and cloves in a mortar and pestle and set aside. Toast almonds in a non stick pan under medium low heat and set aside.

Heat ghee in a pan under medium heat. Put in red chilis, cardamom, cloves and ginger. Fry for 30 seconds. Next add in jaggery and almonds and mix all around for 15 seconds. Throw in cantaloupe and rest of ingredients in pan. Mix well and bring to a boil. Taste for more chili and add flakes accordingly. The chutney should be sweet but with a spicy kick at the end. Simmer for 45 minutes to an hour until chutney is syrupy.
Puree coursely in blender to make it spreadable.

Green Tomato Chutney

1 tablespoon canola oil
4 green tomatoes, chopped
pinch of asafoetida (hing)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon urad dal
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek
1/2 onion, chopped
1/3 teaspoon turmeric
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ginger, grated
8 green chilis (more or less to your taste)
1 bunch of basil leaves
handful of cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 cup yogurt (or more to your taste)

Heat oil in a pan under medium heat. Put in hing, cumin seed, mustard seed and shake up pan. Add in the urad dal. When the mustard seeds start to pop and the urad dal is turning golden, throw in the fenugreek seeds. Fry for a few seconds until they turn brown (if you fry these guys too much they taste super bitter). An alternative to frying these seeds is to roast them separately and powder them in a coffee grinder. You can then sprinkle this mixture when you throw in the tomatoes.

Throw in the onions and fry a few minutes. Mix in the turmeric and fry the onions until they are translucent. Mix in the garlic, ginger and chilis. Stir well and add in the tomatoes and salt. Cook the tomatoes until they are soft ~ 20 minutes. If the pan is dry, add in some water. You can also cover with a lid to cook faster.

Spoon the tomato mixture into a blender and puree with the basil, cilantro, sugar, lemon juice and salt. Add more chilis if you want it to be spicier. Transfer mixture to a bowl and mix in yogurt to your taste.

Serve as a side with roti or rice.

Coconut Chutney

2 cups of frozen fresh coconut (can also use desiccated)
half a bunch of cilantro (can include some of the stem with the leaves)
2 tablespoons roasted chana dal
3 small green chilis (to taste and can use jalapeno)
1 teaspoon of tamarind extract
juice of 1 lime
1 inch ginger, grated
1/2 small red onion, chopped
2 tablespoons yogurt
salt to taste

For tempering:
1 teaspoon oil
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seed
pinch of hing (asafoetida)
1/2 teaspoon urad dal (optional)
3 curry leaves
1 dried red chili (optional)

Blend all of the ingredients, except for the yogurt and tempering items. You will have to add some water a little at a time though. You want to add as little water as possible to get it blended. Once all blended, mix in the yogurt.

In a small pan, heat the oil at medium heat and toss in mustard seeds, hing and urad dal. Once the mustard seeds start popping and urad dal starts to brown, add the curry leaves and coat with oil. Immediately pour over the chutney.

If you refrigerate, the chutney will become kind of solid so you may have to add a little water to bring it back to the right consistency.

Gooseberry Thokku

1 pound red and green gooseberries, sliced in half
2 tablespoons vegetable, peanut or sesame oil
1 big pinch hing or asafetida
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1/3 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoons red chili powder
jaggery or brown sugar – optional*
salt to taste

In a pan, heat oil under medium heat. Add in the hing and black mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start to pop, add in the fenugreek seeds until they just start to turn golden brown but not dark brown – should be 15-30 seconds. Quickly add in turmeric and then gooseberries. Give everything a good stir and let the gooseberries cook until they start to become soft and mushy – 10-15 minutes.

Add in the red chili powder and salt and cook until the gooseberries are completely broken down and thicken into a chutney-like consistency – about 10-15 minutes.

Cool and then transfer to a glass jar. Keep in the refrigerator and use up to a few weeks.

Note: you can add some sugar while cooking if your gooseberries are super sour or tart.

Thokku is a spicy condiment halfway between a chutney and pickle that you usually eat mixed with hot rice or served on the side of idli or dosa. It can last for a few weeks and is very versatile so you can have it with most anything – with cheese & crackers, on a sandwich, mixed into noodles, etc. It can be made from a variety of different sour or tart fruits like cranberries, tomato and green mango.