Peel Pood Chutney
“Something’s wrong with my head”, I say to my daughter.
I’m actually telling this to myself.
I have come home after a hard day’s work on this cold and blustery Melbourne winter day. As I am preparing to settle down into my favourite chair with a hot cup of tea and my laptop, I find myself feeling relieved and actually looking forward to an entire evening – of answering emails, preparing tasks to delegate so my virtual assistants are kept gainfully employed…
I stop in my tracks, realising the ridiculousness of the situation – coming home from a hard days work and thinking, “Oh good, I have got the evening ahead to finish more work!”
That’s when I realise something’s wrong with my head.
My daughter’s simple question, “Who says you have to be doing something, or anything at all?”
Yes, who says so? Nobody, except myself.
That’s why I say something’s wrong with my head.
I need to feel good. I need to create, innovate, invent...
I turn to the kitchen, my other favourite place in the house and compound this “feel good chutney” with whatever I can lay my hands on.
This chutney combines the idea of using lauki peel for fresh chutneys with elements of the traditional Marathi/Kannada long-life ‘pood chutney’ (powdered chutney).
The stir-fried peel and the roasted Bengal gram give this chutney a moist and softer touch than the original pood chutney, which is kept dry to ensure a long shelf life.
You can serve this with a spot of raw oil with dosas, pesarratus, idlis or hot rice and a drop of ghee.
You could even use this as seasoning for dry pohe, or add some yoghurt to make it a wet chutney. If stuck for any ideas for spicing up your work lunch, sprinkle this on some salad in a roll or baguette to make a hearty sandwich. If you want to jazz up a curry, just add a spoonful of this.
Peel Pood Chutney
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp urad dal
2 tbsp raw peanuts
1 tsp coriander seeds
A small piece of tamarind (remove all stones, hard bark and fibre strings)
1 cup loosely packed bottle gourd peels, roughly chopped
12-15 fresh curry leaves
2-3 dry red chillies (or more)
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp desiccated coconut
2 tbsp roasted Bengal gram
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp grated jaggery (or more)
A large pinch of hing
Salt to taste
Heat the oil in a kadhai and add urad dal and the peanuts and the piece of tamarind. Allow the dal and nuts to start to brown then add the coriander seeds. Take care not to burn any of these ingredients. The tamarind should turn crispy. Then add the bottle gourd peels and fresh curry leaves and stir for a while to coat the peels and leaves with the oil. Let the peels cook on low heat for a few minutes. You may cover the kadhai for just a few minutes. Remove the lid and roast on low heat till the peel and the curry leaves are almost crisp. Then add the dry red chillies sesame seeds and the desiccated coconut. Stir till you smell the toasted sesame seeds and coconut. Then add the roasted Bengal gram, cumin seeds, hing. Take care not to burn the already roasted Bengal gram.
Remove from heat and spread in a plate to cool.
When cool, transfer the mixture into a spice grinder cup. Add the grated jaggery (keep it a little sweet – tastes nice), salt to taste and coarsely grind the mixture. Check the salt and sweetness levels and adjust accordingly.
Store in an airtight jar in the fridge for a few days.