Monday, November 4, 2013

Sonth ki chutney

I did not grow up knowing what sonth is let alone sonth ki chutney. Well during the teenage years there was a sudden freedom of indulging in street food. My parents had this awful rule of keeping street food away from me like the plague and so with my new found freedom I started exploring golgappa stalls and chatwallas etc etc . It was a whole new world. I was thrilled.

For a while I had even started discarding some of our wonderful Bengali snacks due to the then new love. One of the worst banished snacks was the samosas and only because Bengali shops did not provide that dark rust coloured chutney. For years I have tried replicating it at home but without proper guidance I was falling miserably in the dark, every time there was somethign which was missing. Then came my college years and paying a visit to Annaras for their delicious chaats was a regular affair. For the first time I was introduced to samosa chat, dhokla chats which meant crumbled snacks with homemade garlic chutney and sonth ku chutney on top along with some hara chutney and the friendly gentleman soon became our friend and one day I asked him about the tangy rust coloured chutney. Good fellow that he is , he gave me the recipe for the chutney :) Its a basic thing. You need sonth which is dried ginger. Of course by that time I had cooked a number of Kashmiri gohst recipes all of which called for sonth and I had a fair idea that sonth meant dried ginger.

Ever since that day of enlightenment  sonth ki chutney has found a place in my cupboards or refrigerators depending on the weather . Easy to make this one is a magical condiemnt

What goes in

1 ping pong sized balls of Tamarind pulp soaked in 250 ml of warm water for 1 hour
2 ping pong sized balls of Gur/ Jaggery which when pounded makes for 6 tsp gur
A pinch of asafoetida
1 tsp of crushed saunf
1/2 of cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard oil for frying
2 tsp Cumin powder
2 tsp Coriander powder
Pinch of garam masala
Pinch of ajwain
Rock salt as per taste
4 to 5 Dried Red chilies broken in half
2 heaped tsp Sonth
1 tsp chili powder

Soak the tamarind in warm water for an hour and then heat oil and add the hing and then the cumin seeds and when it splutters add the tamarind water before the spices get burnt and do it carefully because a lot of steam is generated. Slowly one adds the rest of the powdered spices and the crumbled gur . I suggest adding the gur bit by bit bringing things to boil and simmering it so that it all mixes well and adding more if required as per tatse. Well my in-laws from down South like it extra tangy while people up North prefer it sweet and sour and tangy and spicy so adjust as per taste. Clarifying my above sentence, that is the general taste , there are peopel everywhere with taste buds of connoisseurs who like a wide range of  tastes :) Add rock salt . Simmer till desired consistency is reached. It should be of a single thread syrup. ENJOY IT ANYTIME WITH ANY Indian snacks be it the samosas, kachoris, dahi bhalla,  , pakodias etc etc

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