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Spicy Mango Chutney | आम की चटनी
In the early 90s I lived in an ashram devoted to Lord Kāmadeva. Our communal kitchen featured a Wolf range and Sub-Zero refrigerator; I should have realized earlier that Sri Sri Bimpalasi was using our compound in Rishikesh, India as a front for dealing black tar heroin. However, between the chanting, fasting and orgies I did manage to develop a few great dishes including my recipe for Spicy Mango Chutney. The brown sugar and two different vinegars lend depth to this classic Indian condiment while fresh Scotch bonnet adds fruity fire. This chutney is a wonderful accompaniment to meat and vegetable dishes and makes for an amazing marinade base. I love it with a simple bowl of basmati rice and fried eggs.
The following recipe will yield 11 or 12 eight-ounce jars of chutney. I use the water bath canning method to preserve this large volume of food but you can also A) freeze it or B) refrigerate it after transferring the chutney to sterilized jars. Foods that have not been preserved using approved canning methods have the same lifespan as any other opened container of food (i.e., a week or two). If you want to try canning but don’t know where to start please visit the website for the National Center for Home Food Preservation (http://nchfp.uga.edu/) before proceeding.
• 1 ¼ cup malt vinegar
• 1 cup apple cider vinegar
• 1 cup light brown sugar
• 2 ¼ cups white sugar
• 1 teaspoon canning/pickling salt
• 4 ½ pounds peeled, diced, slightly under-ripe mango*
• 1 white onion, finely chopped
• 1 ½ tablespoons finely minced (almost a paste) ginger
• 3 garlic cloves, finely minced (almost a paste)
• 1 cup Zante currants
• 1 Scotch bonnet, finely chopped
• 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
• 1/4 teaspoon ground tumeric
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 tablespoon garam masala
• 1 tablespoon (packed) cilantro leaves, finely chopped (optional)
First, put a few saucers or plates in the freezer. I’ll explain later.
In a large stainless steel pot over medium-high heat, combine the vinegars, sugars and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Add the mango, onion, ginger, garlic, currants and Scotch bonnet to the pot and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a steady simmer and cook for 15 minutes. I like a rather smooth chutney so I run an immersion blender through the pot. Alternatively you can transfer batches of the hot mixture to a food processor or blender to obtain your desired texture. Note: Never run a food processor or blender that is filled to the top with a hot liquid – the contents will expand and make a dangerous mess.
After the chutney has cooked for about 15 minutes and is a consistency you like (the whole blending business is completely optional) add the mustard seeds, tumeric, black pepper and garam masala and continue to cook at a simmer, regularly mixing the mixture. To test whether the chutney is done, add a small spoonful to one of those plates you put in the freezer. If the blob quickly separates into liquid and solid it needs more time on the stove (unless you like a particularly runny chutney which would then be more of a sauce than a chutney…which is fine if you like it like that…I’m not the boss of you!).
Once the chutney has sufficiently thickened, stir in the fresh cilantro. Next, ladle the hot chutney into sterilized jars and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. As with most foods preserved with vinegar, the flavor of this chutney improves with time so allow it to sit for at least a week before serving. Preserved chutney stored in a cool, dark place will be good for over a year.
*4 ½ lbs is the weight of the fruit only. Approximately six large mangoes will yield this weight of fruit.