The original version of this recipe from Archana Pidathala’s kitchen is truly potent and produces a variety of chutney powder perhaps suited only for folks with a strong stomach lining. So I added half a cup of flax seeds, partly to take away the extreme spice element but also because flax seeds are healthful and rich in fiber (flax-seed chutney powder is also the rage now, says Pidathala). Though traditionally chutney powders are eaten with rice, they also work well as condiments to spice guacamole or even hummus.
Store it in an airtight container, where it will last for a few weeks. It keeps, when stored in the fridge, for more than a month. Take care not to tightly pack it while storing in the fridge, else you run the risk of caking it up (which doesn’t alter the taste, but breaking it into granules does get annoying).
- Heat a heavy-bottomed pan until very hot; reduce the heat to low and add the yellow lentils and flax seeds. Dry roast for 1-2 minutes till the raw smell disappears. Remove and set aside to cool completely.
- To the hot pan, add the dried coconut and dry-roast on low heat for about 30 seconds, stirring continuously. Once completely cool, grind the dried coconut along with the roasted gram to a fine powder in mixer/food processor. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in the same pan over high heat until very hot. Reduce the heat to low and add the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and dried red chiles. Sauté for about 1-2 minutes or until the chiles crackle, taking care not to burn any of the ingredients. Transfer to a plate to cool completely.
- Now grind the roasted ingredients to a powder in a mixer/food processor. Add the salt, sugar, and garlic and pulse a few times to coarsely crush the garlic. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the coconut and lentil powder. Serve with hot rice and a dollop of ghee.
Prathap Nair is a freelance writer based in Stuttgart, Germany, who writes stories exploring the intersection between food and travel. His byline has appeared in The Guardian, BBC (Future), Vice (Munchies), and various Indian publications. He grew up in southern India and misses his dosas, a savory crepe, from his homeland. He tweets/Instagrams at @thesunlitwindow.