A condiment tray in a Marathi household’s kitchen is worth checking out. It has a wide range of pickles, relishes, chutneys and condiments that are made from scratch and form an important part of the daily meal. Be it wood apple chutney, raw mango pickle, or thecha, everything is so different and delicious in its own way. For a foodie like me, that’s one of the major perks of getting married into a Maharashtrian family. You get to explore a great deal in terms of food and culinary habits and you learn the techniques you hadn’t imagined before.
The Ingredients and Textures
Thecha is chunky chutney of green chilies. For the sake of simplicity, let’s just say it’s an Indian version of green chili relish. Garlic is the next main ingredient and the rest of it varies from region to region. This thecha recipe belongs to the Khandeshi region of Maharashtra. It gets it characteristic tang from tamarind and sweetness from jaggery. The sweet notes help balance the hotness of the chilies. Apart from that, it has roasted groundnuts that make the texture furthermore intricate. The chilies are roasted on medium heat and tossed constantly. They get a browned and acquire a smoky flavor. You could roast the chilies on open fire if you wish to impart smokiness that’s more intense.
Once you taste this thecha recipe, you would wonder why you ever bought condiment packets when you can whip them up a home without adding any synthetic preservatives.
Storing and Serving the Thecha
Thecha stays good for a week, beyond which its taste begins to change. You can store it in condiment bowls or condiment cups with lids and refrigerate it. When it comes to serving the thecha, you have to be careful. It’s very hot and hence served in very small quantities along with the meals that usually comprise of bhakri and bhaji, i.e., pearl millet flatbread and a vegetable or meat side dish. Taking one teaspoon at a time is the typical norm. If you want to have some more, you can go for a second helping.
Let’s see how to make Maharatrian Hirvya Mirchi cha Thecha now. Hirvi mirchi literally mean green chili in Marathi.
- Green chillies – 50, mildly hot variety, stems removed
- Onion – 1 medium, finely chopped
- Garlic – 10 cloves
- Dried coconut – 2 tbsp, shredded
- Roasted and Ground Groundnuts – 3 tbsp
- Tamarind – 2 tbsp, washed and pat-dried
- Jaggery - 3 tbsp, chopped
- Salt – to taste
- Oil – ¼ cup + 1 tsp
- Heat 1 tsp oil in a skillet.Add garlic and sauté it on medium heat till it gets golden-brown spot and loses its raw smell. Remove it onto a plate.
- Add the green chilies in the remaining oil and sauté them on medium heat till they get some brown color. Remove them onto a plate.
- When the chilies cool down, grind them along with the garlic and dried coconut to a coarse mixture.
- Heat ¼ cup oil in a skillet. Add the onion and sauté till it begins to turn golden.
- Add the chili mixture and sauté on medium heat for 2-3 minutes stirring often.
- Add salt, jaggery, tamarind and roasted and ground groundnuts.
- Mix well. And cook till the jaggery has melted. Mirchi cha thecha is ready.
- Serve in small quantities with your meals. Enjoy!
Mirchi cha Thecha Recipe with Step by Step Pictures Below
For the preparation for thecha, take 50 green chilies of mildly-hot variety. Rinse and pat them dry. Also, remove their stems. Chop the onions and lay out the other ingredients out on a plate in advance.
Heat 1 tsp oil in a skillet. Add 10 cloves of garlic.
Sauté it on medium heat till it gets golden-brown spot and loses its raw smell. Remove it onto a plate.
Add the green chilies in the remaining oil.
Sauté them on medium heat till they get some brown color. Toss often. Remove them onto a plate.
When the chilies cool down, transfer them in a grinder jar and add the garlic and 2 tbsp dried coconut.
Grind it to a coarse paste.
Heat 1/4 cup oil in a skillet. Add 1 medium finely chopped onion and sauté till it begins to turn golden.
Add the chili mixture and sauté on medium heat for 2-3 minutes stirring often.
Add salt to taste, 3 tbsp jaggery, 2 tbsp tamarind and 3 tbsp roasted and ground groundnuts.
Mix well. And cook till the jaggery has melted. Mirchi cha thecha is ready.
Once cooled, transfer it to small condiment jars. Serve in small quantities with your meals. Enjoy!