mostly about food and cooking, but also the stories about the Bread and the Butterflies!

Til Chutney (Sesame Peanut Chutney)

In Chutneys, Dips and Spreads, on the side, Under 30 min! on December 21, 2006 at 12:03 am

Til Chutney

Just a nip in the air and we start craving winter foods. Yes, it gets cold here in Delhi. We have already touched 6 C, and it will get colder. I must remember to bring the plants that are not frost-hardy inside because the mornings will get frosty soon.

Just like the seasonal winter bounty of vegetables, there are other foods that make an appearance only in the winters. As the body craves warmth we gravitate to the foods that are considered ‘warming’. Peanuts, sesame seeds (til), and jaggery are just made for this numbing weather. On cue appears the moongphali-wala (peanut seller) with his heap of roasted peanuts-in-their-shells topped with the small terracotta pot with a bit of coal or upla (dung cake) in it to warm the peanuts. Snacking on the warmed peanuts while endlessly waiting for the DTC buses is a memory etched in the minds of many Delhi-walas.

However heavy a meal, you can never pass on a piece of crunchy moongphali-ki-patti (peanut brittle) made from plump roasted peanuts and jaggery, or gajjak made from sesame seeds mixed with jaggery and ghee, pounded and then stretched and pulled till it cooled and hardened to a flaky, crunchy glob of gold. The til patti (sesame brittle) and rewdi (sesame drops), both made from sesame and sugar or jaggery, hold their own with the made-in-Meerut being the most sought after. You have to have eaten the unbelievable sesame-seed-thin til-patti to understand the joy of what I am talking about.

And one of the things that marks the arrival of winter in our household is the jar of til chutney at the table. The chutney can be as hot or as mild as you like. A little garlic adds to the ‘warmth’. This time I was using the Himalayan Red Chillies I bought at the Nature Bazaar at Dilli Haat. These gave my chutney a paler colour but packed in quite a punch. I usually make a small batch for myself with extra red chillies and some garlic as well. Yum.


This chutney is a great accompaniment to any Indian meal and can perk up plain dal-chawal. It is also good sprinkled on sandwiches, toast or paranthas. As the sesame and peanuts are barely crushed they add a nutty crunch to the meal.

Til Chutney
(Sesame-Peanut Chutney)

Til Chutney

2 C sesame seeds
½ C peanuts
7 hot dry red chilli peppers (or to taste)
a few garlic cloves (optional)

Roast the peanuts in a pan or in the microwave (2 min). Cool and skin. Roast the sesame (with the red chillies) in a pan till popping and aromatic (2 min or so). If using garlic, grind it first in the jar of your dry grinder. Add the red chillies and blitz till you see flakes. Add the peanuts and pulse till coarsely powdered. Remove. Pulse the roasted sesame seeds for just a few seconds – the sesame seeds must remain mostly whole. Mix everything and season with salt. Store in a clean dry jar.

I would think it has a shelf life of at least a few weeks but this quantity lasts just about a week in our house. Go on, get into winter! Happy Holidays!

Tags: winter foods, sesame seeds, til, peanut, groundnut, chutney, red chillies

  1. I love these kind of spicy chutneys with plain rice and little gingelly oil. Peanut + Chutney is a nice combination. Will try this out this weekend and let you know.
    Do I have to roast garlic or just grind them fresh ?
    Happy Holidays !!

    Priya: use fresh garlic. This chutney is also traditionally served with gingelly oil, but I skip that.

  2. the spicy chutney looks delicious. I’ve been coming back to your blog for glimpses of delhi – dilli haat, DTC thay all sound so familiar, yet so distant!

  3. haha, even I gravitatd to the sesame peanut combination with jaggery, what you say is so true. I just bought a jar of ‘Panshikar’s’ peanut chutney as one of the ‘local’ goodies to carry for my inlaws in Madras- leaving tomorrow.

  4. sounds spicy
    love spicy stuffs
    will try n let u knwo how it came out

  5. I love this one!!!!! My MIL also adds a bit of grated coconut and cumin powder….. try this as a variation next time. 🙂

  6. Wish u and ur family very hapy holidays!HAPPY NEW YEAR!
    Did I tell u , ur blog really makes me nostalgic for the dilli things? I had a favorite chikki shop in lajpat Nagar which has the best I have had yet!!Crunchy yet sweet!

  7. my best wishes you and your family have a great xmas and a fab new year…have fun okay

  8. Check this link –
    The photograph looks just like your Modur Pulao.

    Yes, it is! So, now we all know how it feels! In fact, the pic is still id-ed ‘modurpolav’! Maybe I can write to Blogger since there is no e-mail on her blog…

  9. Hi ,
    I just saw the above post.. checked out the site mentioned where your image has been copied… there is actually an e-mail address on her blog…. maybe you missed it… It is
    Hope that helps you.
    BTW, nice blog…great pics, great recipes… keep up the good work!

    Thanks. I have written her – let’s see how she responds.

  10. I e-mailed her too. The pic has been removed….

    Thanks ‘alias’. Thanks for reading too!

  11. hello,
    Am a new blogger.I dint know that I should not even use the snaps what you have given in your blog.At that time of posting kashmeri pulov, I was not knowing that I should not use the pictures.Anyway, thanks for visiting my blog often to see whether, anymore pictures are added to that.That wont happen again.Cheer up..

    Hi Sowmya. I am glad you have taking it in the right spirit. The WWW is a wonderful place to share – and if you ask you will rarely hear a ‘no’. It is a basic courtesy to out fellow users that we seek their permission and acknowledge when using something that has been borrowed.

    I am sure you were truly unaware since India has a very long tradition of ‘community knowledge’ that we have all freely borrowed from. Most of our ancient epics and treatise do not even have any author names…But…

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