Skip to main content

A matter of 'Spice Thyme' - to cover a million grains of rice!

The first time I made this recipe, my Iphone 6 was still halfway through its 2 year contract, and the only container available to stash it away was nowhere near photogenic. And perhaps, there was a sliver of uncertainty whether I wanted to post the recipe without giving it a second shot (which wasn't going to happen until I finished off the first batch). Nevertheless I faithfully recorded the proportions on my laptop, and let the whole recipe slip back to the recesses of my memory centers.

The first batch got polished off soon enough, mainly by my other half  'G', who seemed to absolutely love it with fresh hot plain rice drizzled with sesame oil. Chutney powders by definition, tend to be 'reserves' in a 'Tambrahm' home (as opposed to Telugu households where they are a mainstay), and needless to say, the relatively extended storage period gave me an idea about how long I could store the powdered blend at room temperature - and yes, I'm a scientist by training and long term storage is an implicit part of all my recipe testing. 

I kept buying fresh sprigs of thyme in installments and faithfully drying them out in the oven and packing the tiny dried leaves in airtight bags until I had enough for the recipe, but it turned out that the other ingredients ended up being re-purposed (my post from last week is one such example). It finally took an afternoon of forced home-stay, thanks to my car giving out on me,  that got me into a compulsive creative mode. and while it took me a while to find the recipe I had scribbled down, it was a spot on recreation of the original. 

Spice-Thyme Chutney Powder.
You need:
  • 1 cup fresh thyme leaves packed (stripped from the stems)
  • 1/2 cup Tuvar dal / split Pigeon peas
  • 1/3 cup urad dal
  • 1/4 cup coriander seeds
  • 6-8 Dried red chiles
  • 15-20 whole peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup dried Omani Lime
  • Salt to taste
Spread out the sprigs of thyme in a single layer on a  baking sheet lined with parchment and dry out completely at the lowest temperature in the Settings (175 F / 80 C), strip the leaves off the stems and measure out one packed cup.

Toast the tuvar and urad dals in a skillet on low heat until they emit a nutty aroma. transfer to a bowl and allow to cool. Similarly, toast the coriander and the whole peppercorns until the coriander turns to a golden brown color. Lastly toast the arbol chiles along with the salt (Its a tradition I blindly follow, its supposed to minimize any acrid fumes emitted from the chiles. I find it also reduces any residual moisture from the salt). Allow to cool completely

Combine and powder the ingredients together in a dry grinder (I use my workhorse Vitamix for the purpose), the dry jar used to grind flour is perfectly suited for such dry chutney applications. Sift though a sieve to ensure uniformity of the blend You may need to put the lentils through another turn in the blender to grind them down to size.

Store in an airtight jar. To serve, drizzle hot melted ghee over freshly prepared plain rice and sprinkle as much of the chutney powder as you desire. Fold in the rice to coat uniformly and serve with a side of Papad or potato chips.

Bon Appetit!


Popular posts from this blog

Product Review: Ninja Mega Kitchen system and a recipe for Masala Dosa

 One of the biggest reasons for attending conferences is the priceless experience of meeting fellow bloggers and get an invaluable exposure to all things  culinary. This includes vendors with new products to savor and get inspiration from. I had no complaints about whatever appliances I had for making traditional Dosa (Traditional South Indian rice & lentil crepes) batter, a sturdy tabletop stone grinder that you could add the Urad dal, turn the timer on , and 30  minutes later, come back to a container full of fluffy, batter with the consistency of whipped egg whites. The The cons of this is the cleaning up, of the various parts, the roller, the grinding bin, the multiple trays on which the rollers need to be placed while transferring the rice & lentil batter, the invariable drips of thick batter on the counter.... you get the point, It takes quite a bit of time. I was pleasantly surprised when the appliance company, Ninja asked me if I'd like to try any of their

Tweaking techniques for the twenties - Idli

  Just because something works doesn't mean it cannot be improved  - Letitia Wright (Shuri) , The Black Panther The iconic Idli has and always will be a signature Indian dish. As  a child, I'd watch my mother seat herself in front of the grinding stone  (attukal in Tamil) and spend the next couple of  hours making two different batters - one with parboiled soaked rice and the other - with hydrated Urad dal.  The starch batter usually went first, and was done relatively quick. the next one - with the lentils for some reason, took over an hour. By the time I grew up, the old grinding stone had been replaced with a blender. and my mother would ever so often wax nostalgic about the old stone ground batter and how the blender heated up the batter and made the idlies lumpy instead of the fluffy spongy ones she'd eaten as a child growing up in rural Tamil Nadu. As a teenager I once had the chance to make batter the traditional way and it was one serious workout but the texture of

Summer Grilling - Grilled Halloumi with herb/avocado spread and pineapple

Depending upon cultures, its interesting to see how people react to the advent of summer. In India, It was to confine yourself indoors for the fear of getting a dark tan, stepping out with an umbrella to shield oneself from the intense sun and a host of 'cooling' foods such as Yogurt rice, and chilled fruits. The very idea of grilling anything out in the blazing sun would send a shudder down the spine. Grilling over coals was confined to cooler months and the rainy season when vendors would stroll the streets with carts full of corn to be roasted in a 'Sigri' (a Coal oven made of sheet metal). In sharp contrast, With the advent of Memorial Day in the US of A, there's a scramble to get the  grills and  barbecues readied for cooking foods the way our   cave men ancestors used to. Meat, Meat & more Meat, with a tiny footnote for grilling veggie burgers and marinaded vegetables.  Well, if you can't beat 'em, Join 'em! While that rallying