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Cooking was never ever my passion. I had always thought of it as something you need to do just to survive. I used to wonder why people spend hours and hours perfecting that one dessert, why after dinner at my grandma’s place she would start preparing for next day breakfast.I always thought why so much hype for one meal?

I remember those days when my mom used to go out, I would feed my dad n myself on toasted bread and omelette. That was a staple if I was cooking or should I say that was the few things I knew how to cook well. I did try my hands at few things but they never really tasted good and they never made me go back to cooking.

Things changed once I came to US. That was the time I wanted to do something different. I wanted to fully enjoy every moment of what I do. People ask me how did cooking happen? To be honest I myself don’t know the exact answer. I know that this changed my life and my attitude towards living. I  finally found something I am ready to devote my life to.

This made me realize that personal happiness is more important and that there is no right or wrong. It all depends on us.

These memories reminded me of my mom’s take on spicy tomato chutney. Whenever she would make this, we would eat this with every possible thing available. It tastes specially good when served hot with fresh rice. My personal favorite. It can also be enjoyed with Indian flat bread, tacos and chips.

Spicy tomato chutney

Serves 2-3

  • 2 medium tomatoes, washed and cut in small pieces
  • 4-5 green chillies, chopped ( You can reduce the number of chillies as per taste. My version is very spicy.)
  • 1 tbsp oil ( any cooking oil like canola, sunflower, mustard oil but avoid using olive oil)
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 4-5 chopped sweet neem leaves (optional, use if easy to find)
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder

Heat a pan on medium heat. Add mustard seeds and let them splutter. Once they are spluttered, add neem leaves, green chillies. Mix them and add tomatoes. Mix it all nicely and add salt,red chilli powder. Mix it all and cover it with a lid and let it cook on low-med flame for 7-10 minutes.

Serve hot or warm.