Friday, July 14, 2006

Too Darned Hot: Mirchicha Chatka

When I saw chillis as the theme for Barbara's event 'The Spice is Right', this image of the non-culinary use of green chillis kept coming back to my mind. For those not in the know: This 'garland'-like thing in the photograph on the left is hung on cars or at the main door of houses/offices in India. It is mainly to ward off the evil and/or to protect the object from jealous eyes. :) I don't know whether it involves *light* black magic or whether there is any scientific explanation behind it. (Although there are rules for making it. Like it can't have just any number of chillis. It should be an odd number like 5,7,9...) I don't really mean to endorse this practise here. It is just that you see it so often at so many places in India that the image gets imprinted on your mind. I am sure, many (or almost all) of my Indian fellow-bloggers and readers will agree with me.

Well, anyway, what I made for this event is a Maharashtrian 'Tondilavane' (chutney-like dish) called 'Mirchicha Chatka'. It is my mother's recipe, and she is 'too darned good' at making it. :)
Now, 'mirchi' is chilli and 'chatka' means a 'burn' in Marathi. That should already give you an idea about this preparation. :) Just in case I am not clear enough, please please please make sure that you don't serve yourself or others more than a teaspoon-full at a time. And please let everybody at the table know that the main ingredient in this one is green chillis...instead of them knowing it the hard way after the first morsel. :) It is still a good idea to keep some water/sweet drink or sugar ready at the table. :) :)

Recipe for Mirchicha Chatka

Makes about ½ cup.

Ingredients:

9-10 green chillis
5-6 tbsp yogurt
½ tsp salt (or to taste)

1 tsp oil
¼ mustard seeds
¼ cumin seeds

Method:

1. Destem and wash the green chillis. Roast (almost burn) them on open gas flame. (Traditionally, they were roasted on hot ambers.) If you don't have gas burners (like yours truly :-( ), bake them for about ten minutes in a pre-heated oven at 180°C. The chillis should turn brown black like in the following picture.


100_6726

Roasted green chillis & yogurt

2. Once cool, mix the roasted green chillis and salt in the chutney attachment/coffee grinder of your food processor and give it just one whirl. We want the chillis shredded in faily big pieces and not churned into a paste.
3. Mix the green chillis and salt with yogurt in a serving bowl.
4. Make Tadka by heating the oil in a pan and letting the mustard and cumin seeds splutter in it. Turn the heat off before the last few seeds pop, because we don't want to add it immediately to the yogurt for it will turn bitter.
5. Once slightly cooler, add the Tadka to the chilli-yogurt mixture. Stir.

Serve 'Mirchicha Chatka' at room temperature and at your own risk. :)

100_6731

35 comments:

Neelu said...

Jabri ! hahha Nav aikuach dolyatun ani tondatun pani yeyla lagla :) lol ...(Its SO Hot Tht just the mention of it makes my eyes water )..I am a fan of this jhatka chatka :)

Ashwini said...

Rickshaws :-)
Cute of you to remember this quintessential Indian thing.
That chatka looks like it will give me third degree burns!!!

Anupama said...

I am going to make this at once

RP said...

I have never seen a garland like that. But grandma does something with the chillies(and salt, I guess) to protect us from jealous eyes.
Nice recipe. Hey, the end result doesn't look like a very spicy dish.

sudha said...

Vaishali. You are right.. 'Chillies and lime garland' has a lot of significance in our culture. Its a common sight in india. Also a Nice combination of cool yogurt and hot chillies.

Vaishali said...

Neelu, jhatka chatka? I love that name. I wish I had thought of it as a title for my post. :)

Oh yes, Ashwini, Rikshaws. They must have 'limboo-mirchi', right?

Do let me know how you like it, Anupama.

RP, just make this dish, taste it and then tell me whether it is spicy or not. Looks are deceptive, Girl. :)

Sudha, 'cool yogurt & hot chillis'. You put it in such nice words. :)

shilpa said...

Vaishali, I never knew there were odd number of chillies in that garland, though I have seen it a thousand times. Thanks for info (No..I am not gonnu hang it out at my home, I dont want my hubby to kick me out :D ).
Had never heard of chatka. It looks scary. But still I wanna give it a try.thanks for sharing

Revathi said...

Nice pick about those garlandy things to ward of evil.. Good thinking...
I am having a thought here to serve this chatka dish to my husband evil evil of me ???No he loves all things hottt...

Revathi said...

Vaishali

Did I tell you ?? You are veryyy sweet. I just hapnd to read ur comment on Aupama's site ( for her post on comfort food ). Even me the hard head did not think of suggesting her to participate in FMR..

Revathi said...

Sorry that was a typo "Anupama" and my third comment in a row :)
Cheers

Priya said...

Thanks for all the caution Vaihsali..hahaha...will definitely make sure there's enough sugar and jaggery at home before I serve this dish !! But I can already imagine eating it with parathas..!! Will try a slightly mild version first :-)

Vinesh said...

Chillies usually have an immediate adverse effect on my tummy :-)
But I know someone who eats raw chillies.. will suggest her this recipe..

Sumitha said...

Ooooh!This is a must try for me!Remember having had this in a restaurant in Delhi once,Thank you so much for this recipe.

Krithika said...

That garland ... stirred some old memories. I remember seeing this on buses and auto-rickshaws along with the tagline 'Buri nazar wale tera mooh kala'. Need to try this. Roasting green chillies should give it a nice flavor.

Vaishali said...

Shilpa, you cook such lovely meals. I doubt whether your husband will ever want to kick you out. :)

Revathi, is that the reason he got married to you then? ;-) ;-)
And hey, thanks for calling me sweet. :)

Priya, adding lots and lots of yogurt helps make it milder. Try it; you'll like it.

Vinesh, welcome to my blog. :)

Sumitha, you had this Maharashtrian dish in Delhi? Strange! :)

Krithika, oh yes, that 'buri nazar...' thing is a must-have on trucks in India. Apart from 'Horn OK Please' that is. :)

Sumitha said...

Yes Vaish, I did have this at a restaurant in Delhi it was served as one of the raitas along with biryani:)

BDSN said...

SUch a cool raita recipe with hot chillies ofcourse:)I love the simplicity of the recipe..will try definitely!!

Annita said...

All i can say is wow!!I'm very much drooling..

Priya said...

Hi Vaishali,
I just tried it out with parathas, but I made a more instant one with just the roasted chilles and salt, I also skipped the coffee grinder step ( I dont have one !!!) but used a small pestle to crush them. It was awesome with the parathas, Thank uuuuu :-)

shammi said...

I'm a chilli fiend. This one's on my immediate must-make list, Vaishali ;) I suspect I'll have to roast/bake the chillies when Pete's out of the house, however!

KrishnaArjuna said...

Quite an interesting green chilly recipe Vaishali!
I do remember seeing these chilli garlands almost at all the stores but I never knew that the number of chillies mattered.

Vaishali said...

Thanks for coming back on that, Sumitha. I know what I can serve it with next time. :)

A very simple recipe indeed, BDSN.

Please make sure that you wipe your key-board in time, Annita. ;-)

I am sure the result was great after crushing it with a pestle, Priya. That is how it was done traditionally. Thanks for the feedback.

Shammi, I knew that chillis could ward off evil. But that they could keep husbands away is something that I wasn't aware of. ;-)

Arjuna, it's funny to know that superstitions can also be strict as far rules are concerned, right? :)

indianadoc said...

this is perfect for me who love to eat even raw chillies!!thanx vaishali...

Varsha said...

zanzanit!!!!

shall try it!!

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