Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Kumquat-Mango Chutney with Curry Leaves

With a bag full of fresh curry leaves in the refrigerator and about a dozen kumquats lacking any direction and purpose, I did the only thing I could do: make chutney!

Chutney can be confusing because there are so many different types, and you can make it with just about any fruit or vegetable. It generally contains spices, sugar and vinegar as well. Plus, it can be either cooked or raw. Lots of room for interpretation, right?

And what to do with all these chutneys? My thought is this: if you think a particular chutney will taste good with something--whether meat, sandwiches, desserts, breads or cheeses--then it probably will. Sweet, sour or spicy chutney can serve as a flavorful addition to just about anything. And I know for a fact that almost everyone reading this has eaten chutney. Your favorite Thanksgiving cranberry sauce (canned hunks of jelly excepted) or as some call it, "cranberry relish," certainly qualifies as chutney.

I'm loving my curry leaves and other Indian ingredients at the moment, but you can make this or any chutney with supermarket staples. Use oil instead of ghee; use whole or ground spices (allspice, cloves and cumin could easily be at home here); stir in some fresh cilantro or mint at the end instead of the curry leaves; use any kind of dried and/or fresh chiles you prefer. And finally for tons of chutney inspiration, look here and here.

Has anyone made chutney (besides cranberry sauce!) before? What did you use? Was it Indian-spiced or totally different?

Kumquat-Mango Chutney with Curry Leaves
With a bunch of curry leaves to use, I tried to exploit their flavor as much as possible in this chutney; if you can’t find them, leave them out. With relatively little sugar, the flavor is a bit savory, a bit sour, a bit sweet, and spiced. You can make chutney a million different ways—it’s really just spiced fruit and/or veggies—so feel free to add or omit ingredients for your own spin. This was delicious with sockeye salmon and roast pork tenderloin.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 Tbs ghee
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1/4 tsp coriander seeds
1 dried red chile
1 jalapeno chile, finely chopped
1 Tbs chopped fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, chopped
20-30 curry leaves, chopped, divided
12 kumquats, thinly sliced crosswise, seeds removed
1 firm mango, peeled and chopped
Water, as needed
Crushed seeds from 4 green cardamom pods
Cayenne pepper to taste
3 Tbs sugar
3 Tbs white wine vinegar
Salt to taste

Heat the ghee in a medium saucepan on medium-low heat. Add the onion, mustard, coriander and red chile; cook until seeds start to splutter. Add the jalapeno and ginger; continue cooking until onion is soft. Add the garlic and half the curry leaves; cook until garlic begins to color, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the kumquats, mango and 1/2 cup water; bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Add the cardamom, cayenne, sugar and vinegar. Cook until fruit is very soft and almost breaking down, and chutney is slightly thick, 30 to 40 minutes. Stir frequently and add water as needed to prevent chutney from sticking to the pan. Add remaining curry leaves about halfway through cooking. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired and add salt to taste. Cool and transfer to an airtight container. Keeps refrigerated for about 1 week.


Joanne said...

I love chutney for exactly this reason - it tastes good almost no matter what you do with it! I love the mango chutney idea...definitely going on my to-try list!

Eleanor Hoh said...

Hi Julie, did you move from Florida? Congrats getting listed by Food Thinkers today. Love mango chutney, what a great idea adding curry leaves, smell is so addictive. I like to spread chutney on crispbread, then top with cheese as a snack.