For my 70th birthday (some time ago now) my daughter treated us to a glorious trip around Rajasthan in November and December of last year. We were so lucky to make it before the pandemic. I learned a great deal to add to my knowledge of cooking Indian food.
In Udaipur, a lovely woman called Sashi, shared with us her recipe for amchoor chutney. Now in India, chutney refers to a great many cold sauce like accompaniments to dishes such as dosa and vada, it in no way resembles the preserve that we in the West tend to enjoy with cheese or cold meats.
Sashi was asking us about our lives back in the U.K. and assumed, on learning that I was a widower, that my daughter lived with me and looked after my every need. We explained that whereas I live in Norfolk, my daughter lives and works in London..... “but you go home each weekend” she suggested, when my daughter told our host that she usually pops up once a month, this poor woman was quietly horrified and realised she didn’t know what then to ask so that she could make sense of it all....... we got on with cooking....
For this recipe you will need;
2 tablespoons of Amchoor powder
3 medjool dates
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 teaspoon of Garam masala
1/2 to 1 teaspoon of chilli powder
1 teaspoon of Marigold bouillon powder or 1/2 teaspoon of salt
500ml of water
Begin by placing all the ingredients in a blender and blending well until the dates have succumbed and are no longer visible as small pieces.
Transfer everything to a small saucepan and stir over a low heat until the mixture thickens and comes to a gentle boil. Stir and cook for a few minutes then allow to cool.
This sauce is ideal served cold, as a dip for papadum, onion bhaji, vada or even crisps if you find the lockdown has caused you to lose the will to live.
Of course I shamelessly interfered with Sashi’s recipe as soon as I came back to Norfolk. In the original, sugar was used and I decided to replace it with dates, I might even try pomegranate molasses next time. When using sugar, then use cumin powder rather than whole cumin seeds and you can omit the use of the blender.
This sauce keeps well for a week in the fridge.