Carrot and mango chutney: Of grandmothers and thokkus

“Kobbari thokku” (coconut chutney)
“Inkoka rakam kobbari thokku” (another variety of coconut chutney)
“Marinkoka rakam kobbari thokku” (Yet another variety of coconut chutney!
“Maree inkorakam… “ you should have got it by now. As also added two words to your Telugu vocabulary!
This is an extract from the diary that my grandmother wrote for me a couple of decades ago when she spent a few days with me and at my request, jotted down a load of hardcore Andhra recipes in her spidery crawl. Even now I only have to look at the diary to bring memories of a sweet, soft as butter outside, tough as torsteel inside lady – smelling of Chandrika soap and “punugu” (musk) of which she always had a tiny bit stashed away in a little silver thumb-box in her steel trunk.
That steel trunk was a source of all sweet things in my childhood – lovely smells, soft saris and always a small surprise hidden away for grandchildren, of which she had many. Ammamma taught us many lessons about generosity and sharing through her stories and her deeds.
Inspired by her, I went on to experiment with many unusual ingredients for chutneys until now. My family has learnt to dread the question: “Guess what thokku (hey, you learnt the word in the first paragraph, remember?) this is?” The answers vary from vodka to old shoe leather but that’s only to shut me up – I promise they’re not a reflection on the thokkus!
Here goes a new one which goes with dosas and idlis and even as a sandwich spread!
Carrot-mango thokku
Grated carrot – 1 large
Grated raw mango – 1 cup
Green chilis – 2
Red chili powder – 1/2 tsp
Jaggery – 1 tsp (more or less depending on how sour the mango is)
Salt – 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Urad dal – 1 tbsp
Asafoetida – 1 pinch
Chopped fresh coriander – 2 tbsp
Sesame oil – 1 tbsp
Heat oil and drop in mustard seeds. Let splutter. Add the urad dal and the asafoetida and the dal brown. Add the green chilis and fry for a few seconds. Add the mango and carrot mixture and stir for a couple of minutes. Switch off, add the coriander, salt and jaggery. Let cool. Grind to a not-too-smooth paste with a little water.
Ready to make up “inkoka rakam” carrot-mango thokku on your own?