Family food is a collection of treasured recipes – from family members, neighbours, friends and even acquaintances – that have improved my cooking skills, but more importantly taught me life lessons like generosity and the joys of sharing.
The humble chutney sandwich is such a staple snack for most Indians – so much that few maybe fed up eating it. Most church gatherings, in particular, will have some form of this green sandwich for the hungry souls – a comforting snack that I have never shy away from. But not all chutney sandwiches are created equal, getting the green chutney right is so important! For me, it is (another precious ‘Grandma’ neighbour) Aunt Fiola’s sweet and sour green coconut chutney that ticks all the essential checkboxes for creating the perfect chutney sandwich.
It is the use of raisins, kismis as we call it here in India, that I believe gives this chutney its unique sweet flavour. That topped with spices like cloves and ginger, and generous squirt of the lemon juice, which add heat and sourness to the chutney. An umami of flavours are at work here.
What I really like about this recipe, besides the spot-on flavours of course, is that it doesn’t go bad as most other coconut-based chutneys do. So you can make a tub-full of these and store it in the fridge and use it throughout the week to fix different kind of snacks and appetisers.
Like this crazy-easy appetiser, which is simply cracker biscuit topped with the chutney, grated beetroot and peanuts. That’s it! (Detailed recipe below)
Then of course, there is the quintessential cucumber sandwich – with a little twist, it can be transformed into an evening snack. Top some toasted bread cubes with chutney and cucumber slices, with a final sprinkle of salt, pepper and chilli flakes.
I learned this recipe as a college kid and is the only one I follow when I make green chutney. A big thank you to Aunty Fiola for sharing this recipe and for being an adorable ‘grandma neighbour’.
- 1cup freshly grated coconut
- 1.5 cup fresh coriander, leaves and tender stalk
- 6 garlics, skinned
- 2-3 green chilliies, deseeded and deveined
- 1inch ginger, skinned
- 2 cloves/lavang
- 6 peppercorns
- 2 tbsp kismis/raisins*
- Juice of one lemon
- ½cup water (approx.)
- Salt to taste
- Cracker biscuits
- Boilet Beetroot, grated
- Extra Virgin olive oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Cheese (optional)
- Salted peanuts and coriander leaves for garnish
- Put all the ingredients in a mixer and pulse until well combined. It will resemble somewhere between a smooth paste and coarse mix.
- Use fresh or transfer the chutney in to a clean container. Store it in the coolest section of the refrigerator. Keeps well for about two weeks.
- To make the appetiser: add a few teaspoons of olive oil to the grated beetroot, season with salt and pepper. Spread a thin layer of butter over the cracker biscuits, this will prevent the cracker from going soggy. Top it with a spoonful of chutney, followed by the grated beetroot. Add grated or pieces of sliced cheese on top (optional) and finally garnish with peanuts and coriander leaves.
The chutney keeps well in the refrigerator for almost two weeks. To make sure it remains good for long, do not let it stand at room temperature for too long, especially during summers. Simply scoop out the desired quantity and keep the rest back in the fridge immediately.
*If you are out of raisins, substitute it with 1tbsp sugar or jaggery.