What is your favourite side dish with idlis and dosas? Today, I’m going to tell you about my personal favourite, Verkadalai Chutney. This, apart from my love for dunking idlis and dosas in Udupi-style sambar. 🙂
What is Verkadalai Chutney?
‘Verkadalai‘ in Tamil refers to peanuts. ‘Verkadalai Chutney’ is, therefore, chutney made using peanuts. It is a delicious confection, flavoured with tamarind, green chillies and ginger, and very easy to make too.
This chutney is quite commonly served in restaurants in Bangalore, alongside idlis, dosas and paniyaram. However, the restaurant version is on the runnier side. The chutney in the picture above is more thick.
This Verkadalai Chutney is different from the groundnut chutney I had shared on the blog, a couple of years back. Both the chutneys are made using peanuts as the base, but the flavour profiles are quite different.
How to make Verkadalai Chutney
Here is how I prepare it.
Ingredients (makes about 2 cups):
- 3/4 cup peanuts
- A small piece of tamarind
- A 1-inch piece of ginger
- 3 green chillies or as per taste
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 1-1/2 tablespoon chana dal
- 1-1/2 tablespoon urad dal
- Water, as needed
- Salt to taste
For the tempering:
- 1/2 tablespoon of oil
- 3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 sprig of curry leaves
- 2 pinches of asafoetida
- 2 dry red chillies
1. Soak the tamarind in a little boiling water, for at least 15-20 minutes, for it to soften. Set aside and let it cool down.
2. Dry roast the peanuts on medium flame, in a heavy-bottomed pan, for 4-5 minutes or till they turn crisp. Take care to ensure that they do not burn.
3. In the meantime, peel the ginger. Chop the ginger and green chillies roughly. Keep them ready.
4. Transfer the roasted peanuts to a plate. Allow them to cool down completely.
5. Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon oil in the same pan we used earlier. Add in the chana dal and urad dal, and reduce the flame to medium. Roast on medium flame till the lentils start browning and start emitting a nice fragrance. Take care to ensure that the lentils do not burn. At this stage, add in the roughly chopped ginger and green chillies. Roast on low-medium flame for about a minute, then switch off gas. Transfer the roasted ingredients to a plate and allow them to cool down completely.
6. When all the roasted ingredients have completely cooled down, transfer them to a mixer jar, along with the roasted peanuts. Add in the tamarind along with the water it was soaked in. Add in salt to taste and enough water to help with the grinding (if required).
7. Grind everything together to a smooth paste. Transfer to a mixing bowl. If needed, add in more water as needed, to bring the chutney to a semi-thick consistency – this is purely optional.
8. Now, we will temper the chutney. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a small pan. Add in the mustard seeds, and allow them to sputter. Now, add in the curry leaves, asafoetida and dry red chillies. Allow these ingredients to stay in the hot oil for a few seconds, taking care not to burn them. Switch off gas.
9. Transfer this tempering to the chutney in the mixing bowl. Mix well. Your Peanut Chutney is ready. Serve it with idlis or dosas.
Chutney Special at the Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge
I’m sharing this recipe in association with the Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge.
The Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge is a group of enthusiastic food bloggers who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme, every month. The members are grouped into pairs, and each pair exchanges two secret ingredients that are then used to cook a dish that fits in with the monthly theme.
The theme this month is ‘Chutneys’, suggested by Priya Vijayakrishnan, author of Sweet Spicy Tasty. Do check out the lip-smacking Raw Mango Chutney that she prepared for the theme!
My partner for the month was Poonam, a very talented chef and the author of Annapurna. She assigned to me the two ingredients of ‘peanuts’ and ‘tamarind’, and I decided to use them to make this Verkadalai Chutney. I gave Poonam the ingredients ‘red chilli powder’ and ‘jaggery’, and she used them in a beautiful Bengali Tomato Khejur Amshottor Chaatni. Yum!
Tips & Tricks
1. Adjust the quantity of tamarind, salt and green chillies as per personal taste preferences.
2. Make sure the tamarind is free of seeds, strings and other impurities before using it in making the chutney.
3. Add as much water as needed to bring the chutney to a semi-thick consistency. If you want to keep the chutney thick, you may avoid adding the water.
4. Make sure the ingredients do not burn while roasting, as this might alter the taste of the chutney.
5. Make sure the roasted ingredients cool down fully before using them in making the chutney.
6. Sesame oil goes best in this Verkadalai Chutney. However, if you don’t have it, you may use any other variety of oil you prefer.
7. This Verkadalai Chutney recipe is completely vegetarian and vegan, suited to those following a plant-based diet.
8. This chutney is not gluten-free as it contains asafoetida. Most commercial brands of asafoetida available in India do contain wheat flour and are, hence, best avoided if one is following a gluten-free diet. However, if you can get your hands on 100% gluten-free asafoetida, you can definitely go ahead and use it.
Did you like the recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!