A few months ago, a friend of mine came over to teach me how to cook a few Indian dishes, which we then shared with a bunch of our friends. I wrote about the Baingan Bharta that we made, back in September, but there was one more dish from the evening that I have been meaning to make again ever since. While we were cooking, I was making sure to take some notes so that I would remember the spice and flavour combinations. I wasn’t overly organized, so I scratched it down on a paper bag that I had lying around the kitchen. I have held off throwing out the paper bag for months for this chutney recipe. When she first described a cashew date tomato chutney, I had no idea what to expect. Little did I know that the sweet, slightly tangy, mildly spiced side dish would actually enhance all of the other ones. With every bite I took of the dal, the baingan bharta, the kofta, I added a bit of the chutney to the spoon and it enhanced every single one of the dishes. I don’t really know why it’s taken me so long to get my act together and re-make it but this was the week, and I was so happy that I could finally recreate it.
As I mentioned in my previous post, a few weeks ago my friend came over and we cooked an Indian feast for 16 people. While I was happy to have everyone over, I was mostly interested in learning about how to make tons of different dishes from my friend who is an expert Indian cook. Although she would probably disagree with me, there is a knack that you have to have with spices and balancing flavours to be able to cook like she does. While I might have that knack with different cuisines, I can’t tell you how excited I was at the prospect of some of her skill rubbing off on me over the course of the day. Although we didn’t measure anything, throwing spices, tasting and adjusting as we went (totally my style of cooking when it’s not for this space!), I took some notes as we cooked so that I would remember the base flavours of every dish. There are some pictures of most of the dishes we cooked, below, but I am sharing the recipe for only one of them today. It’s taken me until now to finally recreate (and accurately re-measure!) one of my favourites of the night: the ubiquitous eggplant dish, Baingan Bharta.