I have a Kashmiri friend who does a version that's different from how my mum did it, so I tend to do a hybrid of both of theirs.
- 1 large bunch cilantro, washed extremely well
- 2 limes, zested and juiced
- 1 small onion (white) chopped
- 5 - 8 green thai chiles (I remove the stems, but my mum keeps them on, because they're going in the blender anyway)
- 5 mint leaves (OPTIONAL)
- 1 stalk of curry leaves (OPTIONAL, if you can get them)
- 3 cm piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
- 1 TB oil
- 1/4 tsp cumin seed
- 1/4 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
- Water, in reserve, as necessary
In a small pot, heat the oil. Add the cumin and coriander seeds, and allow them to pop. As soon as they pop, dump them into the jar of your blender. Immediately top with the lemon juice and lemon zest. Add the onion, thai chiles, ginger, mint, and curry leaves. Pulse a few times until you get a paste.
Add the cilantro (stalks and all), a bit at a time, and grind. Don't add more cilantro until the previous batch is ground. The reason being that you don't want to add excess water if you can help it, and grinding in batches helps avoid that. If the blender sticks, add a bit of water, about a tablespoon at a time to loosen up the mixture.
Some people like to add a few pinches of salt, but I tend to avoid it, because the food will be salted already. Some people leave out the curry leaves, but bump up the mint leaves. Some people like to add garlic, but I don't care for it with the subtle taste of the herbs. Some people leave out the onion, and substitute hing, but I prefer the freshness of the onion. If you want a creamier chutney, add a tablespoon of daliya (roasted channa daal), and it'll give a fantastic flavour and texture. Just add the daliya early on, so it grinds down completely. If you can't find lime juice, you can use lemon juice. If you want the most authentic taste, you'll track down Key Limes, which taste much more similar to the Indian limes than the typical green ones. To combat the slight bitterness found in American limes (and because that's what those people like to do), Gujarati recipes will frequently call for a bit of sugar. I hate sugar in my hari chutney.