Onion-Garlic-Masala a.k.a. MisaLaleli Chutney
This is actually known as MisaLaleli(mixed) Chutney in Satara-Kolhapur-Sangli-Solapur region. Everyone I know makes supply that lasts for 6 months to a year. It is a very labor intensive job but saves time in daily cooking. Usually this is done just after Diwali taking advantage of October heat or in summer before Monsoon starts.
Process starts with getting masala ingredients needed for garam masala and dried red chilies. I have given almost whole procedure when wrote the garam masala recipe. Red chilies are spread on polythene sheet or bed sheet in the sun for a day or two then stems are removed by hand. This should be done while chilies are crispy. Sometimes chilies break and seeds come out. These seeds are collected separately. Even though seeds bring needed spice to the whole masala, it also makes color of the whole chutney little lighter. To avoid that spicier variety of chili is used. My mom likes to use Sankeshwari and Byadagi variety, first one gives spice and the later gives color. Removing stems is very time consuming and can make your fingertips sting. Once all the stems are removed, it is taken to the Kandap Machine to make chili powder. Next thing is to make Garam Masala. Once masala and chili powder are ready then next one on the list is to slice onions, grate more dried coconut, peel garlic. And that itself sometimes can take one full day!
As I said earlier, every household has their own proportions and I am sharing my mom's proportions. We do not enjoy very spicy food so this version suits the best for us. We use this for almost all the sabjis and usals and amatis at home. My mom almost never uses any other masala for her daily cooking. Some sabji's my mom makes are - stuffed eggplants, ambat chukyachi bhaji, Kolhapuri misal, ghevaDyachi bhaji etc.
Let's see how my mom makes the misaLaleli chutney -
1 cup Garam Masala
5-6 cups Red Chili Powder
1 lb (0.5 Kg) Red Onions
1 Large Bulb Garlic
1 cup Dry Coconut Grated (loosely packed)
1/4 cup Salt (or as per taste)
1/2 cup Oil (Divided use)
Peel and thinly slice onions. Heat 2-3 tbsp oil in a large pan. Add sliced onion and start sauteing on low flame. You have to cook the onion without burning it. It can anywhere between 45 min to 1 hr. Add more oil, 1 tbsp at a time, if needed. This step is very important in the whole masala making process so please do not try to save time here. Otherwise the whole masala can go bad in just few days.
When onion is cooked well, it looks caramelized and tastes sweet.
Once the onion is cooked well, let it cool completely. Do not put it in the refrigerator to cool it faster.
Now dry roast grated coconut and set aside to cool and then grind to fine powder.
Grind garlic to fine paste with little salt if needed. Do not use water.
Once onion is cooled completely, grind it in batches to fine paste. Do not use water.
Now all the ingredients are ready for mixing.
Divide everything in 4 to 5 parts and add one part of each ingredient in food processor with 'S' blade. Run the food processor to mix thoroughly. Once its mixed taste test for salt and add if needed and mix again. Remove it in a large mixing bowl.
Repeat the process for remaining parts.
Now mix everything in the mixing bowl and adjust salt if needed. The final product will feel damp to your hands and that is the correct consistency. If you put more oil then it might feel wet.
- To save time, you can cut onion, sun dry it for a day or two and then fry it in oil to avoid cooking for long time. But this method needs more oil.
- If you do not have food processor, use food safe gloves and thoroughly mix with hands.
- If you accidentally use more oil then cut down oil when using this masala in sabjis.
- If you accidentally make this masala salty then adjust salt when preparing the sabji etc.
- Spread this chutney over fresh jowar bhakri and generously spread oil is a very favorite breakfast for lot of people in the region.
- If you have access to KaraLe/Thistle seeds/Nyjer seeds, you can dry roast about 1/2 cup and grind to fine powder and mix it in. Final product will have black speckles.