Spicy Tangy Colocasia Chutney

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19.7.11

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It’s green and wet everywhere. Weather is gloomy and cold. Monsoon is in its full glory here.

It’s been raining all day and night long for several days in row. Pitter patter sound of rain drops is the only thing we hear other than the crickets and the frogs! It’s the perfect weather for hot soups, spicy curries, deep fried snacks and Sleep!

When one can’t step out of the house for days together all you can do is eat and sleep. But not stepping out of the house also means no access to markets and shops! Most monsoon recipes in my home town use simple ingredients which will always be in your pantry with veggies that grow in your backyard.

One such plant is Colocasia! Growing in abundance in monsoon, these greens are a monsoon favorite. I am sure any Indian who grew up eating this will have fond memories of delicious curries and snacks cooked with colocasia.

 

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Colocasia is a tropical plant which grows in wet areas with large green leaves. There are several species of colocasias all over the world. It’s wild and grows by itself during monsoon.  It’s cooked in many parts of our country and is delicious if cooked in the right way. Colocasia plants are a little tricky to cook with. Since it contains calcium oxalate crystals in it, it’s itchy if touched when wet. The trick is to dry it well after leaning it and cut it with absolutely dry hands. Also it is always cooked with tamarind, never undercooked to avoid the itchiness.

The recipe I am sharing with you all today is colocasia chutney, known as ‘Karkli’. Cooked with tamarind this chutney is tangy and spicy.  Green leaves are finely chopped and cooked with fiery chilies till it disintegrates and then ground into a fine paste. This tasty chutney is great served with some hot rice and ghee or Indian flat breads. It will be delicious as a spread in sandwiches, on crackers and breads or as a dip with bread sticks and veggies.  There is a considerable amount of oil used in the recipe but not more than a table spoon of this chutney is consumed at a time so I believe it’s alright. Also using so much oil helps it stay well for weeks if refrigerated which is great.

I am pretty sure this recipe can be made using almost any green leafy vegetable. But look out for colacasia in your market next time and try this chutney.

 

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Ingredients:

  • ½ cup + 2 tbsp Coconut oil
  • A big bunch of Colocasia leaves
  • 1 cup of thick tamarind pulp
  • 8 -10 spicy green chilies
  • 8 -10 cloves of garlic

 

Wash and dry colocasia leaves. Keep the leaf upside down and carefully remove thick veins of the leaf. If the veins are not removed it’ll turn itchy and irritating when cooked. Chop the colocasia leaves as finely as possible.

Heat oil in a pan. When hot add finely chopped green chilies and finely chopped colocasia and cook till it wilts. Now add some salt and tamarind pulp. Mix everything well and add a couple of cups of water. Cover and cook for 20 to 30 minutes in low flame. Check every 10 minutes and If the mixture starts sticking to the bottom of the pan add a cup or two more water and continue to cook. Colocasia leaves need to be cooked for a very long time to get rid of its itchiness. Do not be tempted to reduce the cooking time. Let it simmer till the leaves are completely cooked and start to disintegrate.  Turn of the heat and let it cool down. When cool blend it into a smooth paste.

Tempering – Heat oil in a different pan. Add finely chopped garlic and fry till it turns deep golden brown. add it to the colocasia chutney and serve hot with some hot rice.

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