Thursday, June 02, 2005

Herbal escapades with cilantro- Cilantro chutney with peanuts

After my last escapade with mint, I have decided to make a series with other herbs too, what with the herb season just starting off. Cilantro is my favorite herb and I find it such a refreshing flavor. I know many of you find it overwhelming, soapy and cover your noses because you perceive them to smell like rotten veggies. I feel the same about the overrated parsley. Having grown up with cilantro in everything, I think I can eat cilantro or coriander, as called in Asia, even as a salad. In India, our regular vegetable vendor gives us huge bunches of cilantro and curry leaves free (huge here means bigger bunches than we buy in USA) when we buy other veggies from him. They are so mundane in our daily lives. Cilantro is a flavor enhancer in many dishes but the most common dish where cilantro is the star is in a chutney. Chutney as I know it, is spicy and tart. Never sweet. Several regional variations exist for cilantro chutney. This is a variation from the south western part of India.

Yogurt 1/2 cup
Cumin Seeds 1 tsp
Garlic 1 tbsp
Peanuts 1/2 cup , toasted is better although raw will work
Lemon Juice 1 tbsp
Ginger (chopped) 1 tsp
Tamarind Paste 1/2 tsp or more lemon juice
Salt to taste
Fresh coriander leaves (chopped) 1 medium sized bunch
Fresh mint leaves - a handful (optional)
Green serrano chilies (chopped) 2-3 (2 jalapenos may be used instead)

Mix cumin seeds, garlic, peanuts, lemon juice, green chilies, salt, coriander leaves, mint leaves, ginger and tamarind paste and blend a little until coarsely ground. Add yogurt and a little water and blend together into a smooth, slightly thick paste and serve. Season, if you feel it necessary, with a couple of red chilies, 1/4 tsp each of urad dal and mustard seeds.

I love this with Indian breads. For a light lunch, I like to use this as a spread on sandwiches along with some cream cheese. Yummy!


  1. this looks amazing! usually, i make plain cilantro chutney, without yogurt or tamarind, but that sounds so good that ill have to try it out :-)

  2. Tanvi- I made this version for the first time too. It makes a great Mumbai style sandwich. I think it is maharastrian and taste is like the chutney they serve at restaurants in US with kababs and paneer tikka.

  3. Great recipe. Will try it and let you know.


  4. wey-hey... another coriander chutney recipe to try out! Love the stuff. And totally agree with you about parsley... weird taste.