Green Chutney (Indian Mint & Cilantro Sauce)

I first moved into my apartment about six years ago. I hadn't met Eugene yet, and was living the life of a single girl in Manhattan. Although I cooked pretty regularly (certainly much more than the average single girl in Manhattan), I did also do my fare share of ordering in.

My favorite spot back then was an Indian restaurant that let you do the ordering online through their website. I would often come home exhausted after a long day, pull out my laptop, and order up my favorite dinner of lamb kheema (a ground lamb dish), naan, lamb samosas, and gulab jamun--a sticky sweet dessert that I'm still completely addicted to.

The food would arrive in about half an hour--a pile of steaming styrofoam containers (I know! I know. So bad.) topped off with a little bag filled with condiments--yogurt raita, a sweet chutney, and my favorite--green chutney. I would tear into the bag while sitting on my lumpy purple couch, and inhale the meal as I watched Sex and the City reruns.

The perfect single girl evening.

For a while, I didn't actually know that amazing sauce was called green chutney; I just knew that I loved it in all its spicy tangy green goodness, and wanted them to send more than the usual single tiny plastic container of it. So I got online and googled "spicy green Indian sauce" to find out the name.

And there it was--green chutney. A condiment similar to pesto or chimichurri made by grinding or pureeing fresh herbs (mint and cilantro/coriander) with garlic, coconut, ginger, acid, and chiles.

From then on, all my orders included the phrase "Extra green chutney, please!!"

Unfortunately...they didn't always comply with my request...

So, I learned to make my own. (And now you can, too.)

What to do with green chutney: while there are many variations of this lovely condiment, this is my favorite. A batch of this will keep refrigerated for a week to 10 days, and can be used with grilled meats or vegetables, as a spread in sandwiches, and whisked into yogurt to make a great dip. It's also a wonderful marinade (I love it with shrimp and white fishes like halibut).

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Green Chutney Recipe
Makes about 2 cups

1 large bunch cilantro (also known as coriander), ends trimmed (about 3 cups, loosely packed)
1 small cup fresh loosely packed mint leaves
1/4 cup ground unsweetened coconut (substitute 1 teaspoon honey if you don't like coconut)
6 cloves garlic
1 jalapeno
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Combine cilantro, mint, coconut, garlic, jalapeno, lime, cumin, ginger, and salt in a food processor or blender, and puree until smooth. Add water a few tablespoons at a time to loosen the mixture until smooth (you want something similar to pesto in texture). Taste and adjust salt as desired.

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