Sunday, June 27, 2010
Apple and raisin chutney
Originating from India, chutney is truly one of the best condiments there is. No sauce can truly compare. Sweet or spicy, chutney is your food's best friend. Southern Indians eat idli (steamed rice cakes) and thosai (Indian pancakes) with spicy chutneys -- usually coconut, tomato or mint. Though dhal curry is also often added to make the meal less dry, chutney is undoubtedly the main attraction.
Sweet chutneys are quite different and are almost always made from fruit -- mango is a popular Indian sweet chutney -- and are eaten with Indian breads and also rice.
From India though it may be, the popularity of chutneys also spread to the West. As stories go, chutney was imported from India to Western Europe in the 17th century. These are primarily the sweet chutneys, not so much the spicy ones.
Let's focusing on sweet chutneys for now. Actually, they're sweet-sour. The consistency of chutney is similar to salsa or relish . It almost always contains fruit or vegetables (crushed or mashed), sugar, vinegar and onions. Other ingredients like spices are also added: cardamom, mustard seeds, cinnamon ... the choices are endless.
Basically, the ingredients are mixed and then simmered in a long, slow process. Time is what you must have when you embark on a chutney project.
The good thing about chutney is you can practucally use any fruit you wish: from strawberries to apples to tomatoes and mango -- you can create a fruit chutney of your choice and chances are it'll turn out great. You can also use blemished (not rotten) fruit: the fruit will be crushed and cooked for a looooooooooong time so it's ok.
Chutney can be chunky or smooth and can keep refrigerated for about a month.
Apple raisin chutney (from One Perfect Bite)
4 cups cooking apples (like Granny Smith), peeled, cored and chopped.
1/2 cup water
1 cup finely chopped onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 can (14.5-oz.) peeled, chopped tomatoes, undrained
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons curry powder
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
Place apples in a 3 quart pan with water and cook, covered for about 20-30 mins or until apples are soft.
Meanwhile, combine onions, garlic, tomatoes, vinegar, raisins, sugar, curry powder, mustard seeds and salt in another heavy bottomed saucepan, low heat. Stir to mix well.
Once apples are cooked, mash apples and add to mixture in saucepan. Mix well and bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Keep stirring occasionally, reducing the heat. let it simmer for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Stir often to keep the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan. The chutney should be thick (though still slightly wet) when done.
Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature. Transfer to lidded jars. It will keep in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. It will keep in freezer up to 6 months.