Nettle-Coconut Chutney with Sorghum Dosas
Nettle now occupies a comfortable spot as an ingredient in my kitchen. In fact, it has quickly become one of my favorite greens. I enjoy that it's taste can hold up to bold flavor combinations, but without any cabbage-y or lemon notes that you might get from other greens. In fact, as time goes on, I'm beginning to think that nettle tastes a bit more like a sea vegetable because it has a salty, mineral-rich flavor.
I had started off wanting to make French-style crepes, with a nettle filling and a tarragon sauce. But my crepes looked so startlingly like dosa, that I decided to take my nettles in an Indian-influenced direction instead. That's how it works in my kitchen. The dishes that arrive on the table are completely unpredictable, and driven by a variety of factors - what ingredients are on hand, how hot/cold the weather is, what has gone right or wrong, my (lack of) desire to do dishes.
Remember when your elementary school art teacher told you that there are no mistakes in art? Meaning that you weren't allowed to erase, but had to make do and learn to incorporate your mistakes. A certain degree of that attitude is terribly handy in the kitchen. It allows for both ease and flexibility, and cuts down on the worry factor. Life is to short to fuss so much over cooking. Sometimes your French nettle crepes morph into dosa with nettle-coconut chutney. In the end, beauty is in the mouth of the beholder.
Using gloves, remove the most tender tips and leaves from your nettles (save the stalks and tougher leaves for making nourishing nettle tea). Heat up a few spoonfuls of lard in a heavy pan, add some onion, some salt, red pepper flakes, and a pinch each of mustard, cumin, fennel, nigella, and fenugreek seeds. Cook until the onion is translucent and the spices are fragrant.
Add your nettle leaves, stir around to coat with oil, then add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan, cover, and let cook until the leaves are tender, and the water has evaporated.
Look at the amount of cooked nettle in the pan, and add half that amount of shredded coconut. Stir and heat through, allowing the coconut to absorb the flavorful juices and oils.
Whiz up in a food processor, along with a tiny spoonful of tamarind paste (if you have it), until the mixture forms a chunky paste. Adjust salt. Scoop up tasty bites of this chutney with tender dosas.
Sorghum Flour Dosas (because that's the flour I had on hand)
Mix together 1 c. sorghum flour, 1/2 c. rice flour, a spoonful of arrowroot, and a pinch of salt with enough water to make a thin pancake batter. Let sit for an hour.
Ladel onto a hot griddle. Cook until ever-so-slightly brown and bubbly on one side. Flip, and cook just long enough to dry out. Keep warm in a towel or tortilla warmer.
I'm sharing these recipes with Fight Back Friday, and Hearth and Soul hop.