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Sunday, 28 May 2006

Too much mint? Impossible! (Mint/Coriander Chutney; WHB#34: mint)

Filed under: crossblogging,food & drink,posts with recipes,side,WHB — ejm @ 07:01 EDT

go directly to the recipe

recipe: fresh mint, coriander leaf, green chilli chutney

WHB#34: mint (Mentha spicata??) revisited

(click on image for photos of mint in the garden)
mint I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… one can never have enough mint! How is it that people complain about mint taking over their gardens? Our mint never gets a chance to take over because we’re always harvesting it!

I love our garden in the spring! It is full of so much promise with the forsythia, spirea and ornamental apple tree bursting into bloom. And the excitement when the miniature lilac bush shows its first little flower buds. It never ceases to thrill me when the sweet woodruff blooms and old friends like mint start poking their heads out of the earth.

(click on image for photos of mint in the garden)
mint And yes, it’s true. Mint is invasive. It’s sends its tap roots everywhere so in the spring we find mint coming up through the paving stones. It’s easy to pull up the errant shoots (and throw them into salad or tea.) And if other invasives like sweet woodruff are planted beside mint, the two invasives keep each other in check.

But it’s always such a relief when we can use mint from our garden instead of supermarket mint. The flavour is much more intense and satisfying.

After reading about Barbara’s (Tigers and Strawberries) “green“, we were inspired to make some mint chutney of our own. The first one that we made, we added sugar and after tasting it, decided that the sugar was unnecessary. It was still really good but the onion and cider vinegar lend enough sweetness.

We recently made the most spectacular one to go with rice, dahl, steamed green beans, julienned grilled red pepper and grilled meat patties, which were also laced with mint. (Remind me to post T’s recipe for these fantastic Iranian-style meat patties.)

Mint/Coriander Chutney
measures are approximate

  • ¼ c mint leaves
  • ¼ c coriander leaves (aka cilantro)
  • 2 green chillies (Thai)
  • 2 Tbsp minced onion
  • ½ tsp minced ginger
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • dash cider vinegar (just enough to wet things)

Whir in blender or mash with pestle and mortar.

Happily, there was some left over for our picnic lunch yesterday: slices of buttered bread, cold meat patties and mint chutney. We went for a bike ride and on the way, sat under a flowering horse chestnut tree in one of the city parks, happily eating our feast and watching families playing on the swings and slides nearby.

Did I mention how much I love this time of year?

(Read more about mint here)

weekend herb blogging - © kalyns kitchen Weekend Herb Blogging

Usually hosted by Kalyn (Kalyn’s Kitchen), WHB has gone on the road this week. WHB #34 is hosted by Lucullian Delights

edit 29 May, 2006 @ 12:41 EDT
Weekend Herb Blogging #34 – The Recap

  • Ivonne

    Agreed on the mint issue, Elizabeth! I actually love how it spreads through the garden and pops up here and there. We also harvest it so often that it spreading isn’t a problem.

    Lovely chutney recipe.

  • CAM

    How about generating a list of things to do with mint? We have a takeover problem in our garden.

  • Ilva

    I have mint all over my garden but I hardly ever use it. Until this year when I’m going minty! Great WHB post!

  • MrsBrown

    shhh, I snuck some mint into the garden. shhh MrBrown doesn’t know but he’ll like it when I make mint pesto. shhh

  • ejm

    What all do you do with mint to keep it in check, Ivonne?

    CAM, off the top of my head:

    • mint tea (iced or not)
    • mint pesto
    • mint with steamed peas
    • mint in Thai curries

    I know there are more….

    edit: Kalyn’s post this week is about mint as well and she gives a list of dishes she prepares with mint, as well as tips for keeping mint in check: Kalyn’s Kitchen: WHB#34 – mint

    Thank you, Ilva. I hope you don’t irradicate your mint now… :jump: (That’s what almost happened to us when we discovered the wonders of mint pesto.)

    Mum’s the word, MrsBrown.

  • sher

    Compared to other “weeds” mint is almost a pleasure when it takes over a section of my yard. The smell is so wonderful. What a great chutney that would be–and a use for the mint! Can’t have too mnay mint recipes.

  • ejm

    Oddly enough, a couple of summers ago when we were making gallons and gallons of minted iced tea, we DID have too many mint recipes. We almost irradicated the mint from the garden. :lalala:

    And yes, it does smell wonderful, doesn’t it, Sher? When it flowers, I fill vases with the mint flowers so that indoors smells minty fresh too.

  • Lera

    I just stumbled upon your blog and would like to try a couple of your Indian dishes. They call for dried chilis and I am wondering exactly which dried chilis you use. I have small very hot ones and some ancho chilis. Am I close?

    I also love mint and have it growing in my garden where ever it likes.

    Thank you for your help.

  • ejm

    Thanks for dropping by, Lera.

    If your small hot chillies are dried piri-piris, I’m thinking they are probably a bit closer to what we use than the anchos.We use dried cayenne chillies for Indian cooking – they are quite hot. They are red and two to three inches long and perhaps half an inch wide. We get them in bags at the Indian grocery store.

    (Here is a handy page on dried chillies: )

    If your small ones are piri-piris (or birdseye??) and are those insanely hot tiny chillies, just use fewer than we call for in our recipes.

    Have fun and I hope the recipes are readable! Do let me know which ones you try and how they turn out.

  • Lera

    Thanks so much. I think your recipes are very readable and quite clear on the directions. I’ll come back and let you know how things turn out. Thank you.


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