new Things I Ate in Cambodia: tomato chutney! chutney is swell!

Monday, May 18, 2009

tomato chutney! chutney is swell!

Chutney is ubiquitous in India - and "chutney" doesn't always mean the sweet mango concoction favored by British folks and traditionalists. Chutney's encompass a wide variety of ingredients and flavorings, producing one of the most diverse and interesting condiments found anywhere. My favorite chutney varieties include the sweet and tangy flavor of imli or tamarind chutney, the refreshing bite of coriander and mint (Hali) chutney, and the creamy, sweet flavor of Kerala and Southern India's coconut chutneys. Chutney can also be made with meats: many chutneys (especially, it seems, in Goa) are made from dried shrimp and fish. One thing unites them: fresh chutneys are almost invariably delicious, and I find a few good chutneys an integral part of any excellent Indian meal.

Traditionally, Indian chutneys are made fresh with the aid of a mortar and pestle. Nowadays, chutney can be quite easily made in a blender or food processor - or cooked on the stove, as in the case of the tomato chutney I'm demonstrating here.

This tomato chutney recipe comes from the Cooking Club book I've previously mentioned here. It's somewhat ridiculously easy and a great summer condiment, compiled as it of of fresh tomatoes, mint, and red onion, among other seasonal ingredients.

An excellent source of chutney recipes can be found here.

You will need, for 8 servings (and you will want that much):

2 large tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup diced red onion
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic minced
1 teaspoon minced ginger root
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
(Didn't use this as cilantro apparently nauseates my mom from 12 feet away which is a pretty cool trick)

In a saucepan, turn the heat to medium and throw in the tomatoes, onion, vinegar, garlic, ginger salt and pepper. Bring these all to a boil and stir them around a bit. Reduce the heat and simmer the whole thing for about 20 minutes - you'll want the tomatoes to break down and the flavors to meld nicely.

Take the pan off the heat, then put in the chopped mint and cilantro. Once that's complete, put the chutney in a serving bowl: you're done.

The chutney keeps pretty well and can be made a couple days in advance. It's excellent with spicy seafood curries, as well as various Indian spiced grilled meats. I think this would also be tasty with some grilled white fish - halibut, tilapia, and so on. Chutneys are endlessly versatile: experiment with them. I'll hope to try out some more kinds sometime soon.


Anonymous said...

It was swell! Even without the cilantro.

undercover caterer said...

I'll try that when I get some more tomatoes growing.
I've been wanting to make chutney with Asian pears, as I have about a trillion of them growing in my back yard. Ever heard of Asian pear chutney? I am going to have to try to make it up as I go along.
Hints will be appreciated.

Faine said...

Mmm, Asian pear chutney sounds awesome! I think it'd work it like any other compote, just stew it for a bit over low heat with some sugar and some good spices. Please let me know how it goes...sounds like a nice idea.