How To Make a Wonderful Spicy Tomato Chutney
Quick, Before the End of Tomato Season!
Several weeks ago I made a recipe for tomato chutney from Atul Kochhar's Indian Essence Cookbook. It was a hit. I have had friends begging and even offering me money for more. After my first batch, smart arse that I am, I decided Kochhar had the recipe completely wrong and that I would show him how it would better be done. So I made a version where I started by deskinning the tomatoes in advance, greatly reduced the sugar to almost zero (this is meant to be a sweet chutney, folks), turned up the heat and lessened the vinegar. (I had decided his chutney was too sloppy). My second batch wasn't as good as the first, so on my third attempt I split the difference between his and mine for a chutney I am pretty happy with the results of.
This chutney is first and foremost sweet, before it kicks you from behind with some chili heat and delivers the taste of some whole spices that are mysterious enough to add some intrigue. The mustard seeds, fennel, cumin and onion seeds you'll be using in this recipe fill the kitchen with their aromatic scents as you simmer the chutney for over an hour. The result is sloppy - there is no way around that unless you want to reduce your mixture so much that you'll be disappointed by the loss of volume. The more of this condiment you have, the happier you'll be.
So about that sugar; you will have to note that I am using late season dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes which by their very nature are incredibly sweet. So I have almost halved the amount of sugar from the original recipe. If you are trying this out with less sweet tomatoes, you might want to consider increasing the amount of sugar again to compensate.
The following recipe makes enough to fill about 8 jars. It is easily halved.
8 tablespoons of vegetable oil
2 tsp mustard seeds (brown or black)
2 tsp onion seeds
2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
4 dried red chilis
1 tsp red chilli powder
2 cups raw organic cane sugar*
2 1/2 cups white distilled vinegar
4 1/2 lbs sweet dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes
salt to taste
8 x sterilized 8 oz canning jars
- Measure all of the ingredients out first and core the tomatoes.
- Gently heat the oil in a large high-sided pan (the spices will spit)
- Add all of the seeds, the chilis and powder to the oil.
- Cook one or two minutes until the seeds start to pop.
- Reduce the heat to low and add the vinegar and sugar stirring until dissolved.
- Add all of the tomatoes, bring to a simmer for an hour.
- After an hour, whilst the chutney is simmering away, pick out as many skins as you - can with a pair of tongs. The skins should, at this time, be separating themselves away from the tomatoes and floating to the top almost like discarded condoms.
Continue cooking until the tomatoes have evenly broken down. Total cooking time about 1.5 hours.
- Pick out the 4 x whole chilis and discard.
- Transfer the chutney to the jars according to the manafacturer's instructions. Keep for up to two months. Refrigerate and consume within 2 weeks after opening.
You may now lick the spoon (but be careful not to burn your tongue!)
PS - On this occasion I didn't actually can my chutney correctly, darn it. I only found the Weck instructions after I thought I had proceeded correctly, which I hadn't because I am an idiot with a memory like a sieve. So, looks like I might have to give this batch away sharpish, or maybe even freeze it, and make yet a.n.other batch this coming weekend, to stockpile me into the winter.