Taking another walk down the memory lane, we were brought up in a small town near the famous city of ruins - Hampi, in North Karnataka. My great-grandfather was instrumental in forming a committee in honor of the famous saint-singer-composer Shree Purandharadasa. The tradition of being part of organizing religious events and music festivals on a regular basis has been handed down from generation to generation in the family - carried on till date. For most of similar events, there are committees that manage the functions and other activities like pujas, Aaradhane (anniversaries of saints), music festivals etc . Some of the committees are traditionally well funded, some well funded by members, some not, public contributions and things keep them going. As a kid, I remember us eating a few times at these functions at temples and Mutts (religious establishments usually with a seer heading them), where the number of people who are fed during these events are by the hundreds.
Most of us are no strangers to these kinds of kinds of mass gatherings where the food is prepared in gigantic quantities, by dozens of people who seemingly have boundless energy. Kilos of rice and chopped vegetables, gallons of rasam and sambar are cooked over raging wood fire. Preparations begin since the dark hours of the day in order to feed crowd in the noon - more often than not, going on till evening. The food thus cooked on wood fire, has a distinct aroma of smoke and eating this meal on a plantain leaf adds to it. Many a times, the menu also includes some dishes which require lesser effort and time, not to mention cost and the feeding capacity quotient. You got to feed the sea of people and serve in batches and batches! One of these dishes commonly made is something called as Kayyi Chutney which literally translates to 'hand-chutney' meaning a chutney which doesn't need to be ground. Its made simply by sauteing green chillies, sometimes greens, coriander and hing, then coarsely crushing them by hand in a mixture of yogurt, gram flour, salt. The mandatory tempering goes into it and there you have a really quick, tasty accompaniment to rice. Unexpected shortage of rasam or sambar and kayyi chutney is dished up to quickly feed the anticipating hundreds.
This is a chutney made in a number of households too, when you feel lazy and need something quick to go with rice while its cooking. Or when you have an unexpected guest and you want to add another dish to the rest of the meal. At home kitchens, the green-chilli mixture is normally ground to a coarse paste in the mixer and mixed in fresh yogurt and gram flour. But be warned, this is quite spicy, no, very spicy and doesn't have that wow factor if it isn't spicy enough. If you like your food fiery, you will love this one and make this part of your regular menu.
Green chillies - 5-6 medium sized ones
Fresh coriander leaves, chopped and measured - 2 tablespoons
Hing - a pinch
Oil - 2 tablespoons
Fresh, thick yogurt - 3/4 cup
Gram flour (not roasted) - 3 tablespoons
Salt to taste
For the tempering
Mustard seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Urad dal - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric - 1/4 teaspoon
Curry leaves - A few
A dash of hing
Procedure: Stem and wash the chillies, pat them dry. Slit them vertically and cut into two parts. If you use them whole, they will pop in the hot oil and may cause injury. Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the chillies. When they blister and change color, they will also soften enough for you to crush them with your hand if you so wish. Take them out and place on a plate. Now add the coriander leaves and hing, saute for just a few seconds till the leaves wither. Remove on to the plate. Turn off the heat. You will be using the remaining oil for the tempering in the same pan. Allow the chilies and coriander to cool. Crush this by hand, this will give you chunks of chilly in the chutney. Or grind to a coarse paste in the smallest jar of your mixer.
Whisk the yogurt, salt to taste and gram flour in a small bowl. make sure there are no lumps of flour. Add the crushed /ground green chilli paste. Heat the remaining oil, add the mustard seeds, when they splutter, add the urad dal and allow it to turn golden. Add the curry leaves, hing, turmeric, saute for a few seconds till the curry leaves turn crisp. Turn off the heat. Add the tempering to the yogurt mixture and mix.
Serve with hot steamed rice and a spoon of oil. Keep any leftovers refrigerated or it will turn sour.
Please note : The above quantity makes about a cup which is enough to serve 3-4 people. You can't eat this fiery chutney like sambar you see! The chilli will not be soft enough to crush with your hands if there isn't enough hot oil to dunk them in. Don't skimp on the oil, even if you chose to grind in a mixie. You could use slightly less number of chillies, but too little will make the dish bland and tasteless.
I could eat kayyi chutney and rice as a meal in itself. Given that I am the only person at home who feasts on this, I often make, store in the refrigerator for 2 days.