I have said this before. A spoon (or more ) of chutney after meals is a must in all traditional Bengali meals. Known to have a sweet tooth, it is not limited to just desserts – the meal must end in a sweet note too. Which is really nice & fulfilling I would say. That craving for a dessert is eliminated, that hunt around the house for a broken piece of chocolate is longer a compulsion.
There is a special kind of chutney which is served during Bengali Weddings & in any other big ocassions – it is made of tomatos, amshotto(sun dried ripe mango pulp). dates & raisins with a lot of sugar & a teensy bit of spice added to it. And it is served with the strangest partner you could think of – A piece of Deep Fried Papad. Well strange it might sound, but we kind of grew up seeing that, so the chutney is pretty incomplete without the papad. It is as if the savory is required to balance that intense sweet.
Back home, my mom would ALWAYS have a bowl full of chutney whatever kind it be. We used to have a special bowl for chutney, & I almost never saw it empty. She would use up any of the seasonal fruits to make the most delicious chutneys. I have kept up the tradition, & make chutneys pretty often with whatever fruits I can lay my hands on. I have not limited my chutneys to a after meal spoonful, but use them in sandwiches & crackers with very spicy cheese.
These are the little Tea Sandwiches I had made with Pepper Jack Cheese layered with the Chutney. The picture above (& all the unused ones in this series) had been taken with CLICK! RED in mind. When I saw the color of the Chutney CLICK! RED was all I could think… but the “look” did not turn out the way I had wanted.
- 2 large Tomatos, Chopped
- 2 Cups of Chopped Strawberry (Fresh or Frozen)
- 2 Plums (Take out the pit & chop them)
- 1/2 Cup Pitted Dates
- 1/2 Cup Rasberries ( & I had thrown in some blackberries I had too)
- 1 Red Apple chopped into small pieces
- 1 teaspoon of Mustard Seeds
- 1 Red Dry Chilli
- 2″ Cinnamon Sticks
- 2 Hot Green Chilli Peppers
- 1″ Ginger Peeled & sliced into very thin slices or grated
- 1 Cup Sugar (or Brown sugar)
- 1 Tablespoon Vinegar
- 1 Cup Orange Juice
Note: You can use any juicy fruits. Raisins, craisins, prunes & other dry fruits can be added too.
Heat a pot. Add the mustard seeds, Red Dry Chilli & the Cinnamon sticks.
When the mustard seeds start to dance, add all the other ingredients and simmer at low heat, till the Fruits are soft & mushy & the consistency gets thick enough to coat a spoon.
Pour the Chutney mixture into sterilized jars whilst still hot. Fill to ½ inch below the top. Cover with an airtight, plastic lid. Do not use a metal lid, because the action of the spices and vinegar will cause corrosion.
This fruit chutney may be used in particular with curries, but also with any dish, which has rice or pasta or bread as an accompaniment. Try this Fruit Chutney and Spicy Cheese combination in a sandwich or on crackers & you’re in for a delicious treat. It tastes great with Grilled Meat too. Sending this to the Chutney/Dip Mania hosted at Mane Adige.
Apricot Jalapeno Chutney