Quick Cupboard Chutney
I wanted to create a quick, open-pan chutney without making a special trip to the Indian grocery. I have a pretty well-stocked spice cupboard but, like most of us, there is no mustard oil, fenugreek or kalongi (black cumin) in my pantry. Here’s what I devised, based on a recipe by popular cookbook author and actress Madhur Jaffrey’s “Quick and Easy Indian Cooking,” (Chronicle, 1996). Essentially, this sweet-spicy mixture consists of a half-dozen ingredients: oil, aromatic spices, ginger, mango, salt, sugar and chilies. You can add additional fruit and nuts, if you have them. Use whatever versions of these you have on hand, as Indian home cooks do.
- 2 large mangoes, any degree of ripeness from green to ripes
- 1/4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
- 3 teaspoons mixed spices (see SYT Tips on the side)
- 1 (2 1/2-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger, thinly sliced crosswise
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, preferably sea salt, kosher salt, or Hawaiian salt
- 5 tablespoons sugar (brown or white) or honey or syrup
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup orange or apple juice (or water)
- 1 teaspoon ground cayenne (or use 3-4 small, hot chiles or chili paste or chili pepper water)
- Cut off the mango cheeks and cut away the peel; slice into strips. Cut around the seed, cut away peel and slice into strips. Set aside.
- In a sauté pan, heat olive oil and fry spices over medium-high heat for a minute, until they’re fragrant (mustard seeds will pop).
- Add ginger and sauté until ginger changes color. Add salt, sugar, water, fruit juice and mango. Cook 25 minutes until syrup is thickened.
- Add cayenne or other peppers gradually, cooking and tasting for a few minutes until the mixture achieves the desired level of heat.
- Makes about 1 1/2 cups, 4 generous servings. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for a week or so.