Fresh Coriander Chutney

-Recipe from Yamuna mataji

        Fresh herb chutney is as popular in the Punjab as pesto is in Genoa. In one of its simplest forms, fresh herb chutney might be a handful of trimmed leaves, several green chilies, salt, lemon juice and water, stone-ground to a wet pulp. This type of chutney is sharp, hot and nose-tingling. Chutney aficionados highly prize a subtle play of supporting flavors, balancing astringent, acid and sweet overtones. They might add unripened gooseberries or mango for a sharp contrast. Most newcomers prefer a tempered version, much like pine nut pesto, cut with coconut, nuts or sour cream to subdue the bite. Serve it as a dipping sauce for a fried savory.

Preparation time (after assembling ingredients): 10 minutes
Makes: 1 cup (240 ml)

1 teaspoon (5 ml) cumin seeds
3 table spoons (45 ml) sesame seeds
cup (25 g) freshly grated coconut or cup (40 g) chopped almonds
1 cup (240 ml) trimmed fresh coriander, slightly packed
1-2 hot green chilies, seeded
-inch (1.5 cm) piece of peeled fresh ginger root, chopped
2 table spoons (30 ml) water
up (60 ml) sour cream or yogurt (optional)
1 table spoon (15 ml) raw sugar or jaggery
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt

1.    Combine the cumin seeds, sesame seeds and coconut or nuts in a heavy frying pan and place over low heat. Dry-roast, stirring frequently, until the coconut or nuts darken a few shades.
2.    Combine the coconut mixture and the remaining ingredients in a food processor fitted with the metal blade, or a blender and process until smooth. (The texture should resemble runny applesauce; you may need more water to reach this consistency). Transfer to a bowl and serve, or cover well and keep refrigerated for up to 2 days