Strawberry Chutney

July 18, 2011

Recipes ›

As a young girl growing up in an Indian home outside of Philadelphia, we had what every other family (or so I thought at the time) had on the block: a patch of mint growing in the backyard.

It was off to the side under the kitchen window, along the house itself and purposely planted in a barren dirt patch.

This small spot of green would swell by the minute in the spring and summer - after, mind you, surviving the onslaught of winter. Nothing can kill mint. If you've ever grown the stuff, you know that it's as aggressive as a weed and impossible to control.

That is, until I was sent by my mother to tackle it.

Armed with an oversized stainless steel bowl and a pair of kitchen shears, I was always instructed to enter the 'mint zone' just hours before any big weekend party. In those days (the 70s and 80s and before catering became a fad) mom cooked almost everything from scratch for our some 30 guests -- Indian friends in the area that were even closer at times than the blood relatives thousands of miles away in India. It was a group  that took turns at the time throwing weekend get-togethers on a regular rotation.

I would carefully clip the stems to the bottom in bunches, throw them in the bowl, and strip each stem naked with fingers that turned green by the end of it. All the leaves would then be carefully washed and primed for a quick crush in the blender. Some lemon juice, onion, ginger, garlic, a green chile pepper, salt, and red chile powder was all it took to make a deeply fragrant mint chutney.

The word chutney, derived from Sanskrit, means so many things to so many people. It can be sweet. It can be savory. It depends on which region of Indian you are from and how you'll be using it. It's traditionally used as a garnish for a meal or as a condiment on sandwiches and crackers.  Our leftover mint chutney was slathered on bread along with butter for a chutney sandwich which the thought of, to this day, still makes my mouth water.

Some chutneys are made completely from fresh ingredients, relying on a simple splash of lemon juice for acid. Others have you pour a light tempering of heated oil and spices over your fresh ingredients. And still others have you cook all ingredients together with sugar and vinegar to create a jelly-like result. Mango chutney is the best example of this last one. The possibilities, frankly, are endless.

This summer, after having access to fresh, local strawberries in my Irv and Shelly's Fresh Picks shipment, I decided to give Strawberry Chutney a try. The result was an amazingly easy, delicious treat. I hope you'll try it out yourself.

 

Strawberry Chutney
Yield: 1 cup

1 pound strawberries, hulled and chopped (about 3 cups)
2 tablespoons (30 mL) distilled white vinegar
1/3 cup light brown sugar (slightly more if you like it sweeter)
1 (1-inch) piece of ginger, peeled and grated
2 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
3 whole cloves
1 green cardamom pod, lightly crushed
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick 1 pinch garam masala
1 pinch red chile powder or cayenne
1 pinch salt

1. Put all ingredients except salt in heavy, deep pan on medium-high heat. Stir to ensure the sugar dissolves.

Easy Indian Strawberry Chutney

2. Once the mixture comes to a boil, turn the heat to medium and allow it to continue to simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

3. Add the salt, remove whole spices, and cool for about 20 minutes before serving. You  can refrigerate for about two weeks. Eat as a snack with crackers, use a dollop in your yogurt parfait, use as a filler for muffins and crepes, try it on pancakes and waffles...the possibilities are endless.

Note: If the strawberries are the small, locally-grown variety, I like to keep them whole. But, if they are the conventionally store-bought size, I prefer to chop them up to make it easier to use the chutney as a spread.

Try This! Use the mixture as a spread with butter or Nutella on your favorite bread.



Anupy Singla
Anupy Singla

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12 Comments

Roasted Cumin
Roasted Cumin

July 26, 2011

Ok..final taste testing notes – only on the panchrathna ki daal – so the idea of 5 daals together is a great one, and just sounds so healthy! I really liked the combination of daals (which 5 were in there again?), and it was a really creamy dish. It reminded me of a daal makhani without the cream/oil factor. I sprinkled a bit of salt on top after tasting, but like you said above, salt/spice levels can be such an individual taste issue. There was a flavor I detected that I could not pick out until I saw the whole cardamom pod. Its not something I’ve used in daals, and I think it’s a Gujarati thing. Is that common in Punjabi daal (or other dishes?) Just curious. Can’t wait to try whatever is next!

Carey Montserrat
Carey Montserrat

July 22, 2011

About to try this recipe with locally grown organic sour cherries. Will keep you posted . . . .

Roasted Cumin
Roasted Cumin

July 25, 2011

Here are taste-testing comments:

1. Peach Chutney — I can’t get enough of the stuff! First, I had it with my lunch (like 30 minutes after bringing it home). The lunch was a paneer subji with some bread, and the chutney worked well with it, kind of like ajar or some other accompanying side. But then, I had it just on toast and it was even better. Very well balanced and I wouldn’t change a thing. The spice level was just enough to make it tasty, but not over powering. It is like a curious twist on mango chutney. A friend suggested having it with cheese (goat cheese?) and cucumbers, on toast/bread — which sounds perfect!
2. Green Beans with Chana Daal - This one, I saved for the hubby and my 4 year old to try with me. I like the combo with the chana daal, it added texture, but I could use some more of them in there since I enjoyed them. I could just a bit more salt, and a bit more spice, but that could just be me as I like things on the spicy side. Both hubby and kid enjoyed this, I think hubby agreed on spice/salt issues, but said it was also fine the way it was.
3. Moong and chana daal (with red pepper flakes)- Again, I liked the combo of the two daals, I’ve never done that before, so it was interesting. My 4 year old was licking it off her plate :) Again, I could use just another pinch of salt, but that could just be me and my “salty” ways. The kid ate it up and didn’t seem to mind the spice.
4. North Indian Rasam — This was the last thing I tasted, and it was after a whole lot of indian food, so I might need to try it again alone. It was on the tart side for me, with a kick of spice at the end (which was good).
5. the 5 daal thing (panch something) I have yet to try, its in the fridge for lunch though!

Anupy Singla
Anupy Singla

July 25, 2011

Thank you ‘Roasted Cumin’ for some great feedback. Seems like I can pull up salt levels a little bit? That’s good news because I’ve been pulling them down, esp. after some feedback that they were high for others from my first book. Tho, I do love my food salted well and also emphasize that I don’t eat must process food at all in my week, so am a little less concerned about table salt than maybe the average diner that eats out more. At the end of the day, making food at home means you can adjust salt and spice to your tastes. I’m so glad you inhaled the peach chutney. That was a total creation!:)) I love the idea of having it with goat cheese….Until next time…

Get Skinny, Go Vegan
Get Skinny, Go Vegan

July 19, 2011

ChicoVegano……Dad! I was talking about the Squash, not fenugreek strawberries! The squash you sent home with me!! And it was out of the world amazing. Seriously the stuff was amazing. I would use Coconut sap for the sugar dad…..and fancy meeting you here!

Anupy Singla
Anupy Singla

July 19, 2011

Wow. I just got goosebumps!:)))))

Anupy Singla
Anupy Singla

July 19, 2011

And what was amazing? The Squash? Get Skinny…I’m confused!

Carey Montserrat
Carey Montserrat

July 19, 2011

Fantastic. Thanks for sharing, Anupy!

Chicovegano
Chicovegano

July 19, 2011

Oh, how so right about the mint being a weed. Do you use spearmint or peppermint?, or does it make a difference? Get Skinny, I didn’t see any Fenugreek in this recipe, but if you need some we have both ground and whole that you can have, it just doesn’t come up in recipes that often.
Try the Strawberry Chutney and let me know. Any way to use less sugar?
Anupy, thanks for being such a creative drive in Indian cooking.

Anupy Singla
Anupy Singla

July 19, 2011

Chicovegano…we use Spearmint. I tried making the chutney with Peppermint once and did not have the same luck with taste. What Get Skinny is referring to is the fenugreek seeds used in my pumpkin/squash dish from my cookbook. I’ll be posting a recipe for sprouted fenugreek seed salad – so stay tuned. Thanks for taking the time to read this post and comment. I really appreciate and value all the wonderful feedback. Ooops, almost forgot. Absolutely use less sugar, I’m always up for that. It will be more tart – but I prefer that myself. I do think this recipe balanced the sugar so that it’s just enough to create that sweet element most want – without overdoing it. Can’t wait to hear Get Skinny’s feedback too…

Get Skinny, Go Vegan.
Get Skinny, Go Vegan.

July 18, 2011

Looks Awesome! Am going to pick up some strawberries from the market this week. Think I am going to try your Indian Squash recipe today. Folks sent me home with crates full of veggies and I finally located my cumin seeds (which apparently I need to order in super bulk because one pound of cumin goes by FAST with your book), and Fenugreek. Can’t wait for your next book!!

Anupy Singla
Anupy Singla

July 18, 2011

Can’t wait to hear how it all turns out. Isn’t Indian great for using up all your veggies? I love it. The next 2 recipes I’ll be testing that will be going into the next book as well are string beans with chana dal and Indo-Chinese fried rice. I know your mouth is watering, because so is mine!

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