Have I ever told you how much I love curry? Oh I have? Well then, I won’t bore you with another post about curry. No, I’ll tell you all about curry’s best friend, tomato chutney, instead. Muahhahhah.
So what is tomato chutney?
Chutneys have been around for a long time, and come in all forms and guises. Made from virtually any type of fruit or vegetable, the style of chutney varies wildly. In India, chutneys were often made and eaten fresh with just a little (if any) sugar for sweetness, whereas British style chutneys were often kept preserved for weeks or even months at a time. That preservation required much more sugar, and in today’s industry (India included) many manufactured chutneys contain SO MUCH SUGAR. I mean, seriously. We’re not against a little sugar at the right time (check out the Angry Chef’s investigation if you haven’t already), but in many chutneys nowadays it’s the main ingredient. THE MAIN INGREDIENT! Sure it tastes good, but you might as well buy jam instead.
So what should a tomato chutney really be like?
What we’re looking for here is to make a chutney based on the best of both worlds. We want something made with fresh ingredients, that’s not sour but a little sweet, and made with only minimal sugar. As always, we want our food quick, and it would be helpful if the chutney would also last in the fridge for a couple of weeks. This is tomato chutney.
Of course, tomato is the primary ingredient here, mixed with a little sugar and some raisins to hit that sweet note. A little chilli give us a hint of warmth while the vinegar makes sure we have a taste of sourness without going too far. The cardamom pods complement everything perfectly.
And how do I eat chutney?
Chutney comes from the Hindi word ‘to lick’, and that’s a pretty good place to begin. While I don’t recommend you start licking plates in restaurants, chutney is a great dip for bread, cheese or pickles, and is the perfect accompaniment for any of these ‘finger foods’. I personally recommend any sort of naan bread or poppadoms, flatbread or pita bread. Naturally, chutney goes well with nearly any type of curry, and I highly suggest making chutney the Raja of any curry night. Along with a pint of pale ale, obviously 😉
To save future time, make a double or triple batch and seal it in a clean jar (sterilised is best) with a little oil on the top. It’ll be good for a couple of weeks in the fridge. You can also add or remove spices as you like, depending on how strong you like your flavours. And if you fall into that small but vocal group of people that doesn’t like cardamom, swap the pods for a teaspoon of curry powder. If you need a curry recipe itself, then look no further than the incredibly popular chickpea curry. It’s immense. Enjoy!
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 handful basil leaves
Chop the garlic cloves and the red onions. In a deep pan pour the oil, add the garlic and onions and fry on a low-medium heat until transparent.
- In the meantime, cut the ripe tomatoes into small pieces. Add to the pan and fry for two minutes on high heat. Add the raisins, the white vinegar, the brown sugar and the spices: sweet paprika, chopped chilli peppers and the cardamom seeds. Simmer all the ingredients into a medium heat, uncovered for 20 minutes or until thickened.
Blend all in a food processor or with a hand blender. Easy.