Monday, January 26, 2015

Cranberry Chutney; Anniversary special; Meatless Monday



As part of my blog anniversary week, I wanted to bring to you  healthy, yummy, delicious and easy recipes. What better than this tangy, spicy cranberry chutney?




Fall brings in fresh cranberries to our area. Around thanksgiving, it is all about cranberries. I love cranberries. I love the color, the texture, the taste.. Everything about it. I eat cranberries all through the year. Dried ones, of course. I put it in my oatmeal every morning, I add it in my breads, pulav/ pulaf, I even snack on them.I drink cranberry juice quite often. Cranberries are good for you after all. But, nothing beats fresh cranberries!




Last year during Fall,  when I visited my best friend, Phani, I came across this amazing chutney that her mom made. It was love and first sight! Well, I have to tell you about this amazing person that is her mom. I am yet to meet a more efficient, creative, multi-talented, multi-faceted person. Her imagination is amazing! She can make/ create things/ recipes that I could not. Not in a hundred years! Then again, I have very poor imagination! :(
This lady can sow, do wonders with arts and crafts and is a great chef! All this effortlessly, without complaining. She is a lady after my own heart. She perseveres in feeding her family healthy, freshly cooked food. This cranberry chutney is her original recipe. It is super-easy to make and super delicious! It could be eaten as a dip, as a condiment to a meal and as chutney for bread/dosa/idli.




Servings: makes 2 cups of chutney


Ingredients:


Fresh cranberries: 1/2 lb or 250 gms
Urad dal ( split matpe beans): 2 tbsp
White Sesame seeds: 2 tbsp
Dried red chillies: 3-4 count ( you can adjust based on your spice level)
Jeera( cumin): 1 tsp
Garlic clove: 2 small
Salt: as per taste

Tempering ( optional):
Coconut oil: 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves: 1 sprig
Hing powder ( asofoetida ): a pinch


Method:


Rinse and dry the cranberries. Put them in a thick bottomed pan and cook on a low flame with a little salt until completely mushy. Takes about 10-15 mins. When done, turn off the flame and let it cool down.




While the cranberries are cooling, individually dry roast urad dal, sesame seeds and cumin ( jeera) until toasted ( a slight aroma or it acquires a golden hue). Keep aside. Now in the same pan, dry roast the red chillies and keep aside.


Once the urad dal and the sesame seeds have cooled down, powder them using a food processor/ blender/ mixture. Add the red chillies, cumin seeds and garlic. Grind to a fine powder. Now add in the cooked and cooled cranberries. Blend to a fine paste.Add salt as needed.


Cranberry chutney is ready. Tempering is optional.

For tempering:
Heat oil in a small sauté pan. Add mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds splutter, add curry leaves and hing. Pour it on top of the chutney. Mix well before serving.


Store the chutney in an airtight container. Stays fresh in the refrigerator for upto 2 weeks.

Serve with rice/ dosa/idli / bread! I am going to bring this dip to the Anniversary block party at Angie's Fiesta Friday! I don't want the co-hosts Hilda & Julianna to fret because they are out of dips!

Cooking made easy:


Even though I am not a great fan of microwave cooking, in a pinch, you could toast the urad dal and sesame seeds in the microwave. Do it a minute at a time. You could even cook the cranberries in the microwave. This would save time and you don't have to wash too many dishes!

Tip for healthy living:


Cranberry top the list of healthy foods and are considered  "super food". They are extremely "nutrient-dense" and are very rich in antioxidants. Of course, low in calories! Cranberries are especially known for their benefits in preventing/ curing urinary tract infection. They are also known to prevent certain types of cancer , improve immune function and help reduce blood pressure. Cranberries are rich in vitamins C & E and dietary fiber. Cranberries can be consumed in juice form, relish/ sauce or even had as a snack when dried.
References:
http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/cranberries-year-round-superfood
http://www.healthyeating.org/Healthy-Eating/All-Star-Foods/Fruits/Article-Viewer/Article/205/Health-Benefits-of-Cranberries.aspx
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=145
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/269142.php

Food for thought:


The love we give away is the only love we keep. Elbert Hubbard