Thursday, April 17, 2008

Chutney: King of the Canned Tomatoes

This Chutney is a fighter.

For one, it's got enough garlic to kill a horse.

For two, I have personally witnessed this chutney submit itself to two months in a Swiss refrigerator, two months in a transatlantic storage container, and then several months in a freezer in the Dominican Republic (where the electricity isn't so dependable), and by the end it was so addictive that I would sneak into the kitchen and eat it by the spoonful in between meals.

I first made this chutney in 2003 as part of a grand Indian feast for my Dad's birthday, two months before my family moved from Switzerland to the Dominican Republic and I went off to college in the U.S. As a preserve, it can keep for many (many!) months refrigerated, and it is so potent that you need only a spoonful at a time. That said, I was pretty impressed that it not only survived but got better after completing a non-refrigerated transatlantic move. I have a hearty respect for this chutney.

Its taste blows my mind away. There's a perfect balance of sweet and sour and garlicky, concentrated. It's assertive, but doesn't usurp your ability to taste other foods like hot sauce does (a point of domestic contention, admittedly. Ask Do about his hot sauce passion/obsession sometime). The texture is definitely jam-like. And, now that I'm trying to eat seasonally more often, I appreciate that it uses canned tomatoes instead of fresh (though you can use fresh if you decide to make chutney this summer). I made a batch on Sunday and have been slipping a spoonful into my lunches all week... along with some peppermint gum so that I don't overwhelm my poor coworkers with my garlicky breath.

Who knows, if we don't finish it all by mid-June, we may submit it to our cross-country move to California. If it's anything like the last batch, the dramatic change of scenery will only make it better. :) But that's if we can resist the temptation to dip into our supply twice a day!

Despite the lack of jars in the photos (the one jar we own is currently being used, so the chutney is being temporarily stored in a very undignified Tupperware), this is a great way to keep tomatoes for MONTHS. So we're sending this over to Rosie and Pixie's Putting Up event. If you'd like to participate, send them posts on your favorite homemade jams or preserves by May 21st.

Madhur Jaffrey's Sweet Tomato Chutney.

28 oz. can whole tomatoes (M.J. claims that 2 lbs of fresh tomatoes could work if you peel them.)
1 whole head of garlic, peeled
A piece of fresh ginger, about 2" long, 1" thick, 1" wide, peeled and coarsely chopped.
1 1/2 cups wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/8 - 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 Tbs golden raisins
2 Tbs blanched slivered almonds.
  1. Put the garlic, ginger, and 1/2 cup of the vinegar into the blender and blend at high speed until smooth. In a heavy bottomed pot with nonmetallic finish, place the tomatoes and their juices, the rest of the vinegar, the sugar, salt, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil. Add puree from blender. Lower heat and simmer gently, uncovered, for about 1.5 - 2 hours or until the chutney becomes thick. (A film should cling to a spoon dipped in it). Stir occasionally at first, and more frequently later as it thickens. You may need to lower the heat as the liquid diminishes. You should end up with about 2.5 cups of chutney, and it should be at least as thick as chutney after it cools.
  2. Add the almonds and raisins. Simmer, stirring, another 5 minutes. Turn heat off and allow to cool. Bottle. Keep refrigerated. It keeps for months.


Lori Lynn said...

Hi Neen - I am inspired to make that chutney. Wish I had a jar of it in my fridge right now.

Canned tomatoes sound like the way to go. I like fresh ingredients, of course, but they are not always the best in every recipe, don't you think? (Take my brisket for example...)

I am so happy that you and Do will be joining us at the Virtual Seder Table. Happy Passover!

Rose said...

Hi Neen,

What a fabulous entry! Thanks so much for taking part of the event and wow, 'enough garlic to kill a horse' lol You convinced me this is certainly a chutney I need to make pronto.


Kate said...

I've never made chutney, but this entry just put it on my "list of things to make"

Lisa said...

You just can't go wrong with Ms. Jaffrey's recipes. Yum, Yum!

Anonymous said...

I have never made chutney but this recipe looks scrumptious... may have to break the chutney barrier soon. :)

Ari (Baking and Books)

Michael said...

Another unexpected advantage of this one: it reduces during cooking into a colloid (dense suspension) that does not turn rigid even when frozen. So you can take that surreptitious spoonful straight out of the freezer!

giz said...

The flavours are so different to what my pallate is used to - I need to incorporate something like this - now that I have the new tagine, this would be a perfect accompaniment to a Moroccan dish.

cook eat FRET said...

very cool blog
love this chutney recipe
i gotta do it

Rosie said...

Hi Neen,

WOW what an amazing entry :) Thank you SO much for taking part in this event!! This is one chutney I NEED to make now :)

Rosie x

Kevin said...

That chutney certainly sounds good. I have been interested in making chutneys for a while now.

Pixie said...

Hi again, thanks again for taking part of the event and hope to catch up on a couple of your posts next week. Just wanted to let you know that the round up is now up.

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katty said...

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Viagra Online said...

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