Chennai summer – which begins in March 🙂 – is still roasting us, but that also means that mangoes are available in plenty. This year also I received mangoes from my neighbours. I was looking for new recipes as I had exhausted my family recipes. I found this interesting recipe for mango chutney in the 1,000 Indian Recipe Cookbook. I was fascinated by the use of onion seeds (kalonji in Hindi) – we don’t use these in Tamil Nadu. When I first tried out this recipe, I found that the flavour of cumin and onion seeds dominated the chutney so much that we could eat it only with curd rice. I have reduced the amounts by half to one-eighth to suit our palate. Though the chutney is spicy, the amount of sugar used masks the strong spicy flavour. This chutney is ideally suited as an accompaniment to Chicken Biriyani, Tomato Biriyani, and Turkey Biriyani.
The inspiration for this recipe came from one of my students who was presenting a lecture demonstration on a diet for diabetics using bitter gourd. Bitter gourd is popularly known to be good for diabetes (it isn’t!) which is why she used it, but she sprinkled sugar all over it! I pointed out that this would not be suitable for diabetics to which she responded cheerfully that bitter gourd by itself is, well, bitter, and the sugar would make it palatable. I had to lower her marks as she had missed the point totally, but I came up with an interesting idea for a Sweet and Sour Bitter Gourd Curry.
My father’s sister, Cynthia, was a wonderful cook. She would prepare delicious meals with a variety of dishes in the menu, with a minimum of fuss. She did have a maid, though, to help her with the pre-preparation and grinding, which I don’t have. Therefore, I have reworked the recipe in a way which allows one to make it simply and easily.