Indian food is a potpourri of flavors. Every food item placed in a plate has a significance and it balances the taste, texture and nutritional value of our meal.
Like main course, relishes too play a pivotal role. Pickles and chutneys constitute what is known in Indian cuisine as relishes. The word relish has another associated meaning to it, which is described in Merriam-Webster –” Enjoyment of or delight in something that satisfies one’s tastes, inclinations, or desires”. Relishes in Indian cuisine fulfill this very role of satisfying tastes, inclinations or desires. It is a condiment eaten with other food to add flavor.
An elaborate vegetarian spread is unimaginable without a chutney- my memory is drawn to recollect a fiery and piquant garlic chutney that would find its place prominently on my school friend’s lunch box. Another more common analogy would be a travel experience through National Highways in Maharashtra, an item that one routinely finds on the menu card of the Dhabas is Pithala Bhakri and with it, is served Hirwya Mirchicha Thecha. It is one of the most gratifying meal experience that one could have- and the taste of thecha is bound to linger on your mind and your taste buds for a while.
Every Indian region has its own repertoire of accompaniment & relishes and these recipes are the perfect examples how the lifestyles are affected by and adapt to the climatic conditions of that region. Allow me to exemplify this statement- The regions like Rajasthan, Kolhapur that reel under scorching summer prefer their chutneys and pickles high on spice quotient, so that a person can sweat more and maintain their body temperature. In Marathwada, one of the most drought-affected region of Maharashtra, scarcity of water is the major problem. Hence, they abstain from wasting any nutritious and edible parts of plants, and from this compulsion was born a delicious chutney recipe-made up of peels of ridge gourd.
In South India, besides the usage of lentils in Sambar & Rasam there are huge variety of accompaniments like Salads, Chutney, Podis that use lentils in the preparation. I have vivid memories of my walk back to home from our school in Dadar in Mumbai, with my friend. Walking through those narrow lanes, we would cross an Udupi restaurant named, “Sadanand Udupi Hotel”– a modest sized eatery operated by an equally humble man in his mid-thirties and who we would fondly call ‘Anna’. One of our favorites on the menu that we would order quite often was Batata Wada Chutney. Though, the Wada served was admittedly quite ordinary, what really stood out was unlimited serving of arguably one of the best chutneys that I ever had. A perfect balance of roasted urad dal, tamarind and jaggery in that chutney made the batata wada sell like a hot cake! Standing under a tin roof, we would watch fascinatingly, hot wadas come out from simmering oil in the pan, wrapped in a newspaper and served with urad dal chutney- all this for meagre sum of 5 rupees. I seem to be struck by a bout of nostalgia, aah good old days!
With such simple yet great food memories, I am sharing here the recipe of Tuvar-Toor Dal chutney (Togari Bele Chutney) from Karnataka Cuisine that can be relished with Idli, Dosa, Wada or Adai and even on your hot steamed rice paired with desi ghee which is the most traditional way of eating this chutney in Karnataka Madhawa Brahmin community.
Enjoy the chutney and share your feedback with us in the comment section below.
Find more such delicious accompaniments
- 100 grams=1/2 Cup Tuvar Dal (Split Pigeon Peas)
- A Pinch of Asafoetida powder
- ½ tsp. Mustard Seeds
- 1 tbsp. Cooking Oil
- 8-10 Curry Leaves
- 4 Dried Red Chilies
- ½ Cup grated fresh Coconut
- 1 tsp. Jaggery
- 1 tsp. Tamarind
- Salt to taste
- Heat 2 tbsp. Oil in a pan. Add Mustard Seeds, Asafoetida Powder, and Dried red Chilies. Add Tuvar Dal and fry until it becomes slightly brown in color.
- In 3-4 mins, Tuvar Dal becomes slightly brown in color. Now add Curry Leaves and switch off the heat and let it cool down.
- In a grinder jar, put fried ingredients. Add grated Coconut, Tamarind, Jaggery, and Salt to taste. Grind into a fine and thick paste, using sufficient water.
- Tuvar Dal Chutney-Togari Bele Chutney can be relished with Idlis, Dosas. Togari Bele Chutney can be relished with steamed rice and ghee. You can store it in an air tight container in a refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Click here to watch recipe video