With the weather cooling down, I thought it would be a good idea to post a much loved recipe for a HOT chilli spread/relish.
I use the recipe for Green ChilliesThokku from the book titled Cook & See by S.Meenakshi Ammal. This book is an important part of the "dowry" that a South Indian Iyer bride takes with her to her new home. My mother still has her dogeared copy and I too have one.
The beauty of this preserve or relish is you can choose how hot you want it depending on the pepper you choose! Sometimes I like using Anaheims and sometimes Jalapeños...so it is up to you. Bell peppers also are a good choice if you want it to be very mild, just cook the peppers a bit longer to make it as dry as possible.
Uses of the relish are so many, I spread it with cream cheese on my panini sandwich or on my bagel! I heat a slab of Haloumi cheese and spread some on top and have it with a salad...yumyum! I eat it along with roti or nan, or the traditional way of yoghurt rice and thokku.
1 lbs or 1/2 kg green chilli or peppers of your choice, stalked, rinsed, dried and chopped
1/4 cup skinned black gram/urad dal
2 tsp + 1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp Tamarind paste
1/3 cup sesame oil ( not the dark Chinese variety, but the light colored ones found in Indian stores)
2 tbsp jaggery/brown sugar
1 tsp asafoetida/hing powder
Salt to taste
Heat half the oil, add hing and skinned black gram dal until a pale reddish color, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. In the same pan add more oil if necessary an add green chillies and cook for a few minutes, until the chillies do not have much moisture.
Grind to a paste the dal, tamarind, salt and jaggery adding a little water, just until a smooth thick paste. Add chillies and grind to a coarse paste.
Heat remaining oil, add 1 tsp musturd seeds and add the ground paste. Cook until the paste forms a ball or does not stick to the side of the pan.