Tomato chutney

From: (Shankar Bhattacharyya)
Date: Sat, 11 Sep 93 10:37:52 EDT

Here is a recipe for a dessert version of tomato chutney, extremely
popular in Bengal.

It is be served towards the end of the meal, followed by yogurt, and
then any dessert proper. That is how it is in Bengal, anyway.

The basic spicing is done with panch phoron. This five spice mixture
contains approximately equal quantities of fennel, mustard, and cumin,
and rather less nigella, and even less fenugreek, all as seeds. For
chutneys I prefer a bias towards fennel and mustard, and away from
fenugreek. The basic technique is applicable to a variety of chutneys.

The mustard should be the purple stuff one gets in the South Asian stores.
Don't get heavy-handed with the cumin.

Estimated time : about 30 real person-minutes, about 1 hr by the clock. If
you are really efficient, you could cut it down to about 15 person-minutes.
Allow extra time to refrigerate the product.

The units are American. Quantities are not critical.

1 teaspoon = 5 ml, 1 tablespoon = 15 ml, 1 cup = 237 ml, 1 lb = 454 g,
within precision sufficient for any kitchen needs.


  ghee or oil            1 to 1.5 tsp
  panch phoron           generous pinch
  finely minced ginger   1.5 tsp  (strongly recommend a very sharp knife)
  tomatoes               2 lb
  dried hot red pepper   1      (Cayenne, probably)
  raisins                3 tbsp
  sugar                  0.5 cup to 0.75 cup
  salt                   0.5 tsp
  water                  0.25 cup
  lemon juice            1.5 tbsp

For an elegant preparation, peel and seed the tomatoes. For a more
everyday preparation, do not. If you do peel and seed them, recover the
juices by straining off the seeds and set the juices aside. Allow extra
time to do this. I usually get some unfortunate slave to do this, so it
is not real time, anyway. I hope none of my friends see this, or I will
have recalcitrant slaves the next time round.

Ideally, slice the tomatoes into thin wedges. Alternatively, chop
coarsely. When I am lazy, I just drop them in the food processor and abuse
them for a few seconds. They should *not* get homogenized, just chopped

Heat the oil, add the panch phoron. Stir fry for a few seconds.

Add the tomatoes, ginger and red pepper, and cook at high heat for 2 min.
Note that some spattering may occur when you add the tomatoes to the hot

Add any reserved juices, water, sugar, and salt. Cover, and cook gently
for 10-15 min, or until the tomatoes are tender. Add the raisins somewhere
along the way, depending on how cooked you like your raisins.

Uncover, and heat at high heat to thicken the chutney. A gauze cover may be
useful, since this will bubble and pop like thick pasta sauce while you
are boiling it down.

Remove from heat.  Add lemon juice. Refrigerate and serve, either by
itself, or with puris. Failing puris (which are a fair bit of work), nan,
which you can buy, or warmed pita bread, at a pinch.

Puris go especially well with thick implementations, served as a snack. My
judgment is that those implementations need a bit more sugar.

Yield: 3 cups, serves six people.


The tomatoes need to be of good quality. Many of the tomatoes one sees in
American supermarkets simply don't have enough flavour. Poor tomatoes
cannot be overcome.

The final product should have just a hint of pepper. And it should be mildly
tangy, but not seriously sour.

The consistency of the refrigerated product should be such that it pours,
with just a suggestion of gelling. If it is intended as a snack, it can
be thicker.


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