Even before I was addicted to that amazing spicy tomato jam, I had a thing for savory yet unconventional condiments. Many years ago when I lived in Jackson Heights, Queens, I purchased almost all of my groceries at the Indian shop on the corner. As a result, it was not unusual for me to cart home 10 lbs. bags of rice, bottles of imported shampoo, and parathas from the frozen food case. Of my many exotic discoveries, however, my favorite by far was a shockingly bright condiment: cilantro chutney. If you’re in the “cilantro tastes like soap” camp, this may not win you over, but for me it was love.
When I moved out of that apartment, I feared that this affair was doomed, but as it turns out it was a simple enough thing to make at home. Good thing, too, since once I have a jar within reach, I find myself slathering it on everything I eat. Your sandwiches will never be the same!
Fresh Cilantro Chutney
adapted from Manjula’s Kitchen
1 large bunch cilantro, washed well (no need to remove stems unless they are particularly thick and woody)
3 green chilies, split and seeds removed unless you can stand the heat
2 tsps. minced ginger
3 T lemon juice
1 tsp. canola oil
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
Pinch of asafetida
Place all ingredients except for the cilantro in the bowl of a food processor and blend for a minute or so, until peppers are well minced. Add the cilantro (in batches, if needed) and continue to process until all ingredients are evenly incorporated. Adjust seasoning as needed.