That night, I put together the pasta salad that was my Big Discovery of last summer. A year later, I am still surprised at how much everyone loves it.
A few leftover roasted tomatoes were stashed in a small container. What followed was a weekend of such rare and spectacular perfection that it makes me worry about the future. By the law of averages the rest of the year will have ghastly weather. But I digress. Luxurious weekends are just the thing for the dosa ritual- soaking, grinding, fermenting- and the resulting dosa deserves a tasty chutney to accompany it.
Chutneys are so remarkably versatile. The traditional formulations are wonderful, but you can always invent a new one based on the unique contents of your fridge. I usually use a sauteed vegetable (tomatoes, onions, zucchini) or an herb (parsley, cilantro) with some coconut (frozen, defrosted)and some roasted gram (called phutane in Marathi and dalia in Hindi) to thicken the mixture and help the grinding process. The chutney gets some heat from fresh green chillies or red chilli powder, and of course some salt and some fresh lemon juice to brighten the flavors. A sizzling tempering of mustard seeds, asafetida and curry leaves provides the final savory touch to bring it all together.
Roasted Tomato Chutney
1. Grind together to a thick paste, using some warm water as required (all quantities are flexible):
1 cup roasted tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh (or defrosted frozen) coconut
1/4 cup roasted gram dal
Red chilli powder to taste
Salt to taste
2. Make a tempering, pour it on the chutney and stir together:
2 tsp. oil
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 sprig curry leaves
pinch of asafetida
brown rice dosa. I love her idea of microwaving the rice for just a few minutes to soften it up and make grinding easier. Dosa is the perfect vehicle for brown rice and I have now switched entirely to using brown rice in all dosa recipes.
Wait a second...Dale is saying something.
Dale is the self-appointed sheriff of the backyard. He watches over his little kingdom from his vantage point on the porch. If he sees any threats to law and order, such as squirrels squabbling in the high branches or kitties walking along the fence, he leaves his sunny spot and makes a mad dash to bark sharply at them.
For now, the yard is quiet and peaceful and all is well with the world.