The first time I heard the word ‘thecha’ was from my dear friend Manisha who is from Nagpur and is an awesome cook. Her authentic Maharashtrian dishes are all fiery and simply spectacular just like her 🙂 I like to call her a Pataka….a firecracker! Lovingly, of course 🙂
Thecha is Marathi for ‘smashed or pounded’.And in Maharashtrian cuisine, it refers to a spicy relish/chutney made with chillies and garlic mainly along with some other ingredients. For example, there is red chili thecha and green chili thecha. Peanuts are also added sometimes. Having made so many different kinds of chutneys over the years, I appreciate the good old pounding method. As Manisha says, for some reason, a thecha won’t be a thecha if you make it in a food processor. The pounding works to release all flavors in a way that a food processor is unable to. And the consistency of the chutney – the coarse texture can only be achieved by pounding. So you absolutely need to bring out your mortar and pestle for this one. Or at least use a chopper so that you get a coarse consistency.
Now that I am following a diet restricting all sour foods, I yearn for my ‘pickle’ jar during meals. That’s when I thought of Manisha’s thecha. I needed something to spice up my meals even if I couldn’t eat any pickles or sour chutneys. And Manisha, the kind soul that she is, was quick to share her recipe. Oh the joys of ‘whatsapping’! She uses lime juice too in the end to kick it up a notch further but for me this was perfect even without the lime.
Mind you, this is one fiery chutney…definitely not for the ‘faint hearted’. Actually, ‘thechas’ are meant as a relish and just a tiny bit in your tongue can get your tastebuds to go on a mad frenzy! The pleasure is so intense that you could also sob. yeah…this one can bring tears! So here is the recipe – Try it at your own risk! Keep a glass of cool milk or yoghurt by your side!