Monday, July 10, 2017

Zucchini Chutney for Idlis

Among gardening types (sadly, I am not a member of that club), it is well known that come summertime, zucchini is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it grows in such abundance with relatively little effort, and a curse because you have to come up with ways to use up the abundant zucchini. The zucchini bumper crop is apparently such a phenomenon that August 8 is designated as National Sneak Some Zucchini Into Your Neighbor’s Porch Day. Mark your calendars!

I kind of had zucchini snuck into my porch by my neighbor already in July- she was leaving on a long overseas vacation and texted me to say would I please use up her crisper vegetables so they won't be wasted. Of course I gratefully accepted, and next thing I know, her kid is hoisting a bucketload of zucchini onto my back porch- harvested from neighbor's mother's garden in Southern Georgia.

So zucchini found itself in everything from dal to tacos that week. Certain dishes lend themselves to endless adaptation and chutney is prime among them. That's how four specimens found themselves being given the Southern treatment of a different kind.

Zucchini Chutney- South Indian Style

Chop 4 large zucchini into large pieces. I peeled mine and removed the seeds because my zucchini were tough mature ones but you don't need to do this if the zucchini are tender.

Chop a small onion into large pieces.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a saucepan. Saute the onion and zucchini with salt until the veggies are tender. Let them cool slightly.

Grind the following to a smooth chutney in a powerful blender or food processor:
Cooked onion and zucchini
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
2-3 tbsp. sesame seeds
1-2 tbsp. tamarind concentrate
1 tsp. jaggery
1 tsp. red chili powder
Salt to taste.

Make a tempering (tadka/ phodni) by heating oil and spluttering:
Mustard seeds
Asafetida (hing)
Chana dal
Urad dal
Curry leaves.

Stir the hot tempering into the chutney. Serve with idlis or dosas.

We loved this impromptu chutney! Now if zucchini was a rare, exotic and expensive vegetable as it is in some places, I wouldn't blitz it into a chutney. But when it is abundant and needs to be used up, this is an excellent way to do it.

What vegetables and fruits are in season in your neck of the woods? The kids are loving watermelon and peaches. My parents are visiting and enjoying fresh cherries. 


  1. OK are you reading my mind? Or watching my house? ;-) Coz we have an abundance of squash here in our garden - not yet at the sneak onto neighbour's porch level but definitely at a "zuchini again!?" level.

    The last two I harvested today will become chutney this week.

  2. I look forward to cherry season - mandarins are still good and we have lots of brassicas about - I am not much of a gardener but cooks are always helpful to gardeners - your chutney sounds like an interesting way to deal with the abundance

  3. Great timing! I have a bunch of zucchini to use up. I made zucchini tots (like tater tots) yesterday and froze a bunch. I hope they defrost okay since it was the first time I froze them, but my daughter enjoyed eating them.

  4. A zuchini post in the middle of July! Great timing, Nupur! I had been staring at my harvest of zuchini for the past few days. I'm not sure why I planted them this summer since we aren't exactly fans of this vegetable. I've been browsing over zuchini bread recipes lately and am hoping to be motivated to try it. Chutney sounds good. My grinder is busy grinding away Idly batter as I type here so am planning to definitely try your recipe some time tomorrow.

    We enjoyed eating our plums and peaches from our backyard as we do every summer. Also love to eat mangoes bought from Costco and local Indian grocery store. Other than that, cherries and berries from the local farmer's market. I'm sure Lila and Niam are having a great time with their grandparents. :)

  5. Hi Nupur,

    We are enjoying the Kent Mangoes from the Indian stores here in SoCal. The stone fruits like peaches, nectarines, plums and cherries are also in season now and are sweeter than other times of the year. We also enjoyed the loquats and mulberry from our neighbours and friends.

    Zucchinis also work well in the Kerala style yogurt/coconut based curries.


  6. We are getting a ton of beans from the backyard. The peach tree began fruiting this year, YES! Yellow squash has started showing up too. Hoping to harvest dudhi, eggplant and karela in the coming weeks. Tomatoes are ripening as well.

    I think shredded zucchini would be a great addition to adai batter. I think your recipe for cucumber-rice dosas would work with zucchini too (in place of cucumber).

    Stay cool and hydrated. :)

  7. Btw, I am ALWAYS looking out for non-coconut chutneys, so I am super happy to see this recipe. Thanks, Nupur.

  8. I am going to try this. I have run out of ideas for Zucchini. Such an apt post. BTW, any recommendation for grinders for indian cooking? Love your blog. Rain

  9. Oh Nupur you made me laugh -- National Leave Your Neighbor A Zucchini Day!? LOL And on the porch too -- perfect. Hope all's well with your little family -- just playing some blog catch-up here and as usual it's amazing what I've missed. All the best! :)

  10. My mom makes a similar chutney (it's called thogayal in tamil) - Her recipe is a simple one. Saute zuchini, Add some tamarind and then add a tbsp of the ubiquitous (at least in tamil households) molagapodi. It tastes amazing with coconut based curries.

  11. Hi nupur,
    Another favorite of ours is to slice zucchini thru a mandolin into medium thick slices and shallow fry until tender. Cover for a min if needed. Then put inside samdwiches coupled with crunchy onions, tomatoes. Easy Peasy !!


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