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Simple Tomato Chutney

19 May

This is a simple tomato chutney or Tamatar Chatni made with fresh tomatoes and a light Indian spicing. The flavour is delicate, sweet with only a hint of heat. It goes wonderfully with all kinds of dishes.

  • 3-4 large ripe tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1-4 dried red chillis (to taste)
  • 1 tsp cumin seed
  • 3cm stick of cinamon
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Roughly chop the tomatoes discarding the cores. Heat the oil in a saucepan and when it is hot put in the chilli, cumin and cinamon and fry until the chillis start to turn brown. Add tomatoes sugar and salt and cook for about 15 minutes until the tomatoes are cooked down and the chutney is fairly thick.

This chutney is ready to serve immediately, it is not a preserve but it does last for a couple of weeks in the fridge.

Source The original recipe came from The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking by Yamuna Devi.
Note the original recipe cooked the tomatoes in ghee but I prefer to use sunflower or vegetable oil and I also added more dried red chilli but that really is up to your taste buds it is also nice to add fresh green chillis thinly sliced green chillis for extra punch.


Tamarind Chutney

20 Mar

If you have never tried tamarind chutney before give it a go; it is a quick with no cooking involved and absolutely delicious. If you can get your hands on fresh Tamarind pods by all means use those otherwise tamarind can be bought in blocks shelled and compressed.

  • 200g tamarind block
  • 1-2 tbsp sugar (or to taste)
  • 2 cups half litre hot water
  • 1-2 tsp cumin roasted and ground
  • 1-2 tsp ground red chilli (to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp Indian black salt (optional if you can get it)
  • ½ tsp grated ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Soak the tamarind block in the hot water for 20 to 30 minutes. Push it through a sieve along with the soaking liquid, make a few passes to get a thick puree. Stir all the remaining ingredients into the tamarind puree, taste and adjust the quantities to get a good balance. As simple as that. It will keep for 2 months in the fridge.

VariationI also make a version of this with black plum puree instead of tamarind which is really delicious.

Coconut Chutney Preserve

25 Jul

Tart, sweet, hot and full of delicious coconut flavours it is a wonderful accompaniment to curries, potato dishes and dals or Indian breads and snacks. This chutney is more of a preserve and quite different to the fresh Indian style coconut chatni or pachadi I make. I used to buy something like this in jars when I worked in London, from a South Indian grocer, and this is my best effort so far in replicating it.
Makes 3 small jars

  • 2 cups desiccated coconut
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup mild white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • handful dried curry leaves, crumbled
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seed
  • 4 dried chillis, crumbled
  • 1 tsp salt
  • chilli powder to taste

Pour the boiling water over the dry coconut and set aside until the water is absorbed. In a pan heat the oil then throw in the mustard seed, curry leaves, fenugreek and chillis as soon as they start to pop add the vinegar and sugar. Stir well to dissolve the sugar and boil for 5 minutes or until it thickens slightly then add the coconut, salt, and chilli to taste. Cook for 10 minutes or so then spoon into warm sterilised jars and seal.

Cooks Note if you can use a fresh coconut, miss out the first step and simply grate the flesh and use it along with the milk, the chutney will be much better. Also I think I need to use Indian sugar rather than granulated for a more authentic taste. The chutney I was trying to copy (it is at least 10 yeas since I have even seen a jar of it) so if memory serves I remember it as being more green in colour when may have been colouring but may have been achieved by using fresh curry leaves or fresh green chillis.

Preserved Lemons

12 Jan

This is one of those ingredients that can transform a dish. Indispensable in North African cooking salt pickled lemons are easy to make and last for ages.

Heres how I make them.

  • 6 lemons
  • Juice of 3-4 lemons
  • 1 tsp salt for each lemon+1 tbsp salt
  • boiled water

Choose small perfect lemons wash each lemon in hot water and leave to dry fully before using. Meanwhile sterilize a large jar that will hold 6 whole lemons, I find kilner jars are perfect for this pickle. Put a tbsp of salt in the bottom of the jar along with the lemon juice and give it a good shake. Now prepare the lemons; remove the tip of the branch end and with a sharp knife cut a slit vertically through the lemon, but not all the way through, then make a second slit vertically to make a cross keeping the bottom end intact. Put a spoon of salt into the centre of each cut lemon and place in the jar, push the lemons down as you go until the jar is full. Add more lemons if there is room. Cover with boiled water that has been left to cool, close the lid and give the jar a good shake then set aside to mature for 4 weeks. Give the jar a shake every day.

Tomato Chutney (Hot Mustard)

7 Oct

This Indian inspired, fresh tasting, tomato chutney is fantastic. It is HOT and not for the faint hearted. It is a savoury chutney with no sugar added, the preserving qualities are in the oil and once opened it is best kept in the fridge. Perfect for adding a dash of taste bud tingling zing to any meal but especially curries, rice, lentil and vegetable dishes.
Makes about 5 x 250g jars Prep 20 min Cook 1 hour

  • 1 kg Tomatoes (skinned, de-seeded and chopped)
  • 5 fat cloves garlic
  • 200-250g (about 20-30) fresh red chillis, seeds and stalks removed
  • 100ml mustard oil (or peanut oil)
  • 3 tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 10-15 curry leaves
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp nigella seeds
  • 1/2 tsp aesafoetida
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground dried cayenne chilli (optional)
  • extra oil

Put the tomatoes, garlic and chillis in a food processor and whizz to a fine mush. Heat the oil in a large heavy pan. If using the mustard oil make sure it gets very hot, until it starts to smoke, which will cause the oil to mellow and be less acrid. Throw in the mustard seeds and curry leaves and pull the pan off the heat immediately. Add the tomato and chilli paste carefully to avoid getting splattered with hot oil. Add the turmeric, ginger, nigella, asafoetida and salt but leave out the cayenne powder until the end of cooking to check taste.
Cook uncovered over a low heat stirring every now and then. The chutney should reduce and become thick and the oil will float to the top. This takes about 1 hour. Check the heat level and add the cayenne powder if you wish, bearing in mind you want this chutney to be hot. Pour into sterilised jars leaving a 1/2 cm gap, top with oil and seal.

Cooks Note We often run out of this chutney way before next seasons tomato harvest so we improvise and make batches with tomato conserves. You can use frozen peeled tomatoes or canned tomatoes for this recipe and dried chillis if you are making it out of season and the results are good.

Originally posted Mas du Diable 21/03/08

Tomato Chutney (sweet chilli)

7 Oct

This sweet and spicy tomato chutney is great served with grilled sausages, kebabs or anything else you want to add a little zing to. It is a classic Anglo-Indian style chutney with the preserving qualities in the sugar and vinegar. It can easily be made milder by reducing the quantity of chillies used.
Makes 1 Kg Prep 30mins Cook 45 min – 1 hour Shelf-Life 1 year+

  • 5 tbsp peanut oil
  • 300g onion, grated
  • 1 bulb garlic, grated
  • 3 dried red bird chillies
  • 8cm piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 kg of tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 4-6 fresh red chillies
  • 250ml red wine vinegar
  • 125g natural brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cardamom seeds crushed (about 10 pods)
  • 1/2 fenugreek seeds (optional)

Peel the onions, garlic and ginger and grate or wiz to a rough paste in a food processor. Heat the oil in a large non-corrosive pan and the dried chillis and when they darken add the onion paste, fry until the mixture starts to brown. De-seed the chillis and mince 3/4 of them,  cut the remaining 1/4 into long thin strips. Add the tomatoes and minced chilli and cook until the tomatoes are mushy. Add the sugar and vinegar, stir well and cook until the chutney turns a darker colour then add the cardamom and strips of chilli. Cook until the chutney reaches the desired thickness. Pour into hot sterilised jars and seal immediately. Ready to eat in about 1 month.
Recipe Source The original recipe came from Oded Schwartz but I’ve mucked about with the recipe to make it hotter and more Indian in flavour, so this is where the recipe ended up and it is pretty good.

Green Tomato Chutney

5 Oct

Green Tomato chutney is a great way to use up those green tomatoes that won’t ripen now. There are so many versions and variations of this classic relish and they all taste a little different. This one has developed in my kitchen with tweaks and changes each time I made a batch so I have no idea where the original recipe, or even if there was one, came from. In my notes it says Oded Schwartz but having looked up his recipe this bears little resemblance other than the standard ingredients, so who knows. Suffice to say this version is pretty tasty, a bit like Branston Pickle which is what I was after.

Makes 4kg (8 lb) Shelf-life 2 years+
*1kg green tomatoes, chopped
*1kg tart apples, peeled, cored and chopped
*250g onions finely chopped
*750g brown sugar
*550ml vinegar (red or white wine, cider or malt)
*3” piece ginger, grated
*10 dried apricots, chopped
*4 tsp coarse sea salt
*2 tsp black pepper corns, ground
*1tsp allspice berries, ground
*2 tsp cloves, ground
*1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
*2 cloves garlic

To make life easy I bung the onion, tomatoes, apples and apricots in a food processor and blitz to get a fine chop. Some people prefer chutney to have distinct chunks in which case it is best to chop by hand to the kind of shapes you want in the chutney. I grind the whole spices in a coffee grinder to a fine powder. Combine all the ingredients except the vinegar in a stainless steel pan. Add 6 tblsp of the vinegar and cook over a low heat adding the remaining vinegar gradually as the mixture boils. Stir as the mixture thickens for 45mins to 1.5hrs. When thick, transfer to sterilized jars and seal. Store in a cool dark place. It will be ready to eat in 1 month and will last for several years.

Originallyposted Mas du Diable25/11/07

Aubergine Chutney (hot&sour)

1 Oct

Hot, sour and oily this Indian style aubergine chutney is really rich and will add a touch of luxury to a simple meal. Perfect with Indian breads, dhal crackers, pulses, potatoes, greens and rice dishes. I’ve got the last of this years aubergines that need to be used and one of my favourite things is chutney so I’ve been experimenting and came up with this beauty. Loosely based on Aubergine Chutney (Goan Style) in terms of spices but this one is fried in wonderfully pungent mustard oil and soured with vinegar and tamarind, it also has lots of freshly ground cayenne chilli powder.
*500g Aubergines
*150ml mustard oil
*5cm piece ginger, peeled
*10 cloves garlic, peeled
*10 dried curry leaves (optional)
*175ml white vinegar
*1 tsp salt
*4 tbsp tamarind pulp or 1-2 tsp tamarind concentrate
*2-4 tbsp sugar (to taste)
*3-5 fresh red chillis, sliced into thin rounds.
Spice mix
*1 tbsp mustard seeds
*1 tsp fenugreek seeds
*1 tbsp cumin seeds
*2 tsp turmeric
*1 tbsp ground dried hot chilli (cayenne)

Grind the ginger and garlic with a little of the white vinegar to help form a paste and set aside. Dry roast the whole spices, cool and grind to a powder. Mix the powder with the turmeric and chilli powder to make the spice mix and set aside.
Wash the aubergines and remove the stalks. Cut into thin matchsticks. In a large sauce pan heat the mustard oil until it starts to smoke then throw in the prepared aubergines in batches to fry (it should only take a few minutes for each batch if the oil is hot), then remove each batch with a slotted spoon and set aside. Once the aubergines are done, make sure all the debris is out of the pan, add the garlic & ginger paste and fry that for 2 or 3 minutes. When the raw garlic smell starts to disappear add the spice mix, stir well and fry for a minute or two then return the aubergines to the pan along with the remaining ingredients. Cook for 15-20minutes until the oil rises to the top and the aubergines are starting to go creamy. Spoon into warm sterilized jars. This chutney is not ready to eat right away because it has quite a bit of vinegar in it as a preservative. I’ve been munching on it with papadums as I can’t wait it is so delicious, but it would be better to let it mellow for a month or so before eating. If you want a chutney you can eat straight away don’t use the vinegar, you could use more tamarind and lemon juice instead. As always if you don’t want something as hot as this just cut back on the chilli powder or fresh chillis.
Originally posted 27/11/2008

I made this recipe once with aubergines I bought rather than grown in my garden and they behaved very differently soaking up all the oil and not releasing it again. If you are using spongy aubergines I would suggest changing the cooking method as follows fry the curry leaves and spices in the oil then add the garlic ginger paste then add all the aubergines at once and cook as original recipe.

Chilli Pickle (Pepperoncini)

1 Oct

This chilli pickle is for the faint hearted, a mild version of a classic Indian hot chilli pickle. Pepperoncini peppers are thin fleshed mild frying peppers that have a wonderful aniseed flavour but not too much heat. This pickle, whilst still hot, is not as madly hot as those made with hot chillis. It is ready to eat immediately but will keep and mellow with age.

Makes 1 pint Keeps refrigerated for 3-6 months
*250g green pepperoncini peppers (or small sweet green peppers)
*2 tbsp yellow mustard seed
*2 tbsp fennel seeds
*1 tsp turmeric
*1 heaped tsp chilli powder (use less for a milder pickle)
*Juice of 1 lemon
*1 tbsp salt

Slice the peppers into chunky rounds discarding the end with the seeds. Roast the fennel seeds in a dry pan then grind with the mustard seeds. Mix all the ingredients together well in a large bowl then pack into a sterilised jar(s). The pickle is delicious and can be eaten immediately, to mellow the flavour cook in the sun for 3-4 days by putting the jar on a sunny window ledge and bringing it back in at night. Keep refrigerated and it will store for 3 months or more.

Recipe Source Tarla Dalal’s Book on Indian pickles and breads Achaar aur Parathe and I’ve changed the recipe to use milder peppers and the ratio of spices to peppers.

Note I grow lots of lovely mild pepperoncini which we normally eat green simply pan fired with oil and salt in the classic Spanish Tapas style.

Originally posted on 21/8/2008 I am republishing it here as I have a fresh batch of peppers to make this pickle with

Fig & Tamarind Chutney

23 Sep

This is a soft smooth chutney inspired by the classic Indian tamarind chutney, perfect to serve with papadums or as a side relish for curries or grilled food. It was an experiment that worked, I like it even better than the classic tamarind chutney.

  • 8 rip figs
  • 3/4 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp tamarind concentrate
  • 1 tart apple peeled and grated
  • pinch salt
  • pinch of chilli powder to taste
  • 100-200ml water
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, roasted then ground
  • 3 tbsp sugar

Wash and roughly chop the figs, put into a pan with all the other ingredients and gently simmer until you have a soft jam like consistency. Add more water if it is too thick and check the taste add more chilli to taste and adjust salt level if necessary. Using an electric liquidiser, I have a little hand held one that is very useful for this kind of job, whizz until smooth or use a fork or something to hand and beat it to a smoothish paste. Use immediately or bottle into sterilised jars. I have no idea how long it will keep and I doubt I will get the chance to find out. So I’ll have to make another batch and see how long it will actually last.