Gujarati lili chatni (green chutney) is a beautiful thing. As green as the greenest grass, it is a shiny, sparkling emerald pool, spicy, satisfying, and versatile. This recipe is my mother’s, and lili chatni has been a regular fixture in her fridge for as long as I can remember. Everyone, including my children, devours it! During family get togethers, it is eaten with such speed and frenzy that it often runs out. Believe me, not matter how delicious my mother’s food is (and it always is), when there is no lili chutney, something seems to be missing.
Lili chatni soothes the soul, cures the blues, and awakens the digestive enzymes. It can be stored in the fridge for 8-10 days, or frozen in small batches in ice cube trays. The recipe makes enough to use as part of a family meal and have plenty left over. Lili chatni is traditionally eaten as an accompaniment to many Indian snacks, both hot and cold, such as red onion pakoras, which I made for my recent charity Ayurvedic Seasonal Supper Club. You will soon realise there is nothing you can’t eat it with. Some tried and tested combinations are:
Spread over melted cheese on toast.
Thinly spread on hot, buttered toast- a great revitaliser after a late night.
A large spoonful on top of a vegetable curry just before serving.
Please try your own combinations though, and let me know!
Lili chatni enough to serve many, and freeze to use later
2 large bunches fresh coriander leaves, chopped (discard the thick stalks but keep the finer ones)
2 small green chillies, chopped
1 inch piece of fresh ginger
4oz unsalted peanuts
3 tbsp desiccated coconut
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 tbsp lemon juice
6 ½ level tsp. sugar
1 ½ tsp. salt
Grind everything except the coriander and salt in a liquidiser, adding small amounts of water to allow the smooth movement of the ingredients. Once it starts to grind more readily, add a small amount of the chopped coriander leaves, stop and open the lid, and using a spatula, mix everything together. Again, add a little water as needed, and liquidise once more.
Now add the rest of the coriander in small batches. Get into a rhythm of liquidising, adding coriander and just enough water to allow the smooth movement of the ingredients. The water should not be seen so much as a main ingredient, so be careful not to add more than is needed to help blend to the correct consistency.
The chatni should be smooth but not watery, the consistency of custard. If you find it too thick, add a little more water.
Add the salt, check and adjust lemon juice, sugar and salt, and liquidise once more.
Utterly wholesome, moreish and delicious.