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Alsi ki Chutney (Flaxseed Chutney)

Flax seeds are tiny powerhouses of nutrition well known for their high content of omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) , an essential fatty acid which means that your body cannot produce it, and so you need to obtain it from the food you eat. It is important to grind the seeds before eating them as the oil is locked up inside the fibrous structure of the seed and it cannot be released when eaten whole. Flax seeds also have high amounts of protein as well as soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels. It also promotes digestive health by feeding your beneficial gut bacteria. When mixed with water this soluble fiber becomes very thick and combined with the insoluble fiber content, flax seeds become a natural laxative, promoting good bowel movement, preventing constipation, and reducing your risk of diabetes. It’s recommended to drink plenty of water when eating these seeds because of their high fiber content. For people who are not used to eating a lot of fiber, incorporating flax seeds too quickly can cause mild digestive problems. These include bloating, gas, abdominal pain, and nausea. Chutneys are a great way to avoiding these problems as they are eaten along with a lot of other vegetables and pulses in our traditional Indian meals.

This is a great way to include omega rich flaxseeds in your diet and the beauty of it is that you can be creative and add or minus ingredients and vary the amount of each ingredient as per your preference. This time I made it without dried coconut as I didn’t have any at home and with only 3 chillies as I didn’t want it to be spicy. This is a great snack eaten with a roti. Some people add a little cold pressed coconut oil to give it added flavor.

Recipe: Darshana Muzumdar

Serves 4 as part of a traditional Indian meal

Ingredients

  • ½ cup flaxseeds
  • ½ cup curry leaves
  • ¼ cup urad dal (black gram dal)
  • ¼ cup dried coconut, grated or small pieces (optional)
  • ⅛ cup sesame seeds (optional)
  • 5-6 red chillies (beydgi variety, and more or less according to your preference)
  • 6-8 cloves garlic (add more if you like the taste of garlic or if you follow a Jain diet, don’t use it)
  • 1 marble sized ball of tamarind
  • 1½ tbsp jaggery or jaggery powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp groundnut oil
  • ½ tsp salt

Method

  • Wash and rinse the curry leaves. Drain them and leave them to dry for a day or two covered lightly in a muslin cloth. Make sure the leaves are spread out so they don’t get spoilt because of the moisture. If you wish, you can also use them without drying them but make sure there is no water or moisture on the leaves after washing them. Dry them thoroughly with a napkin.
  • Roast the flaxseeds in a thick bottomed steel pot on medium to low heat till they start popping. Transfer them to a plate to cool off.
  • Roast the urad dal next on medium to low heat till it is lightly brown. If you want to wash the dal, do so immediately before you roast it or dry it thoroughly for a few hours. Transfer this to the plate to cool down.
  • Roast the sesame seeds till they pop. Sesame seeds get roasted very fast so be careful they don’t burn. Transfer them to the plate to cool down.
  • Roast the dried curry leaves till they are slightly crisp. If you want to use them fresh, there is no need to roast them. Transfer this to the plate to cool off.
  • Heat the oil and add the cumin seeds, red chillies, dried coconut, and cumin seeds and roast them till the cumin seeds splutter and the red chillies are lightly brown.
  • Roast the cumin seeds on slightly higher heat so they pop. Transfer it to the plate.
  • Once all the roasted ingredients have become cool, transfer them to a blender jar. Add the garlic, tamarind, jaggery and salt and blend to a powder.
  • This chutney is best eaten fresh as the taste deteriorates with time. However, it can be stored for up to 7 days after which the flaxseeds will lose their nutritive value even though the chutney may not get spoilt for some more time.

For the Whole-Food Plant-Based (WFPB) version:

Do not use oil. Dry roast all the ingredients one by one.

Use unrefined salt like rock salt.

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