Monday, January 24, 2011

Pineapple & Mango (But Mostly Pineapple) Chutney

Chutney: no self-respecting Indian meal would be without a generous dollop of the stuff. For those not in the know, a chutney is a combination of fruit and veg, slow cooked in vinegar with sugar and spices, and then stored for a long period of time to intensify its flavour. Chutney, in all its many and varied forms, is but one of the many gifts the fine people of the Indian subcontinent have bestowed upon the world. Taking its place alongside Buddhism, call centres, using rocks down at the river to do your laundry, chess, and the largest film industry on the planet, chutney is indeed a bright star, doing its motherland proud. All this, and tasty, too.

Why pineapple and mango chutney? Well, the fruit was dirt cheap. Quite a lot of imported tropical goodies have been making an appearance around town, thanks largely to the Christmas/New Years holiday. Recently, one of the local supermarkets was selling pineapples for $2 each, so I grabbed a few with the thought of making a chutney, something I've not made before. I had a couple of mangos sitting in the fridge which needed to be used up too, so they went in as well.

Making chutney is a simple process, certainly nowhere near as involved as jam-making. The key thing to remember though is to cook your fruit out slowly, over a low heat.

The recipe is somewhat westernised, the original probably using a wider array of spices, but it's still pretty good. You will need:
  • 2 pineapples, cubed
  • 2 mangos, green, cubed (any other colour will be far too soft & a pain to use)
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 8 tbspn white wine vinegar
  • 10 cloves
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 4 tspns ground cumin
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1.5 cups brown sugar
  • 5" long piece of ginger, peeled & grated
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 large red chili, deseeded & finely chopped

I didn't have ground cardamom or cumin - just seeds. Remove any pods/casings and toast lightly in the oven (keep an eye on them so they don't burn). Grind to a powder in a mortar and pestle, or place on a chopping board and crush with the bottom of a pot.

Put all ingredients into a pan except the garlic, ginger, mango and pineapple. Heat and stir to dissolve brown sugar. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. Do not cover.

Add remaining ingredients and gently simmer until the fruit is soft, by which time most of the liquid should have evaporated. Allow at least a couple of hours (remember: low heat + long time = great chutney). Again, do not cover.

At this point, the chutney should be thick and smooth. Taste, and season with salt and pepper.

How did it taste? It was pleasantly warming and spicy, with a distinct pineapple flavour; unfortunately, you couldn't taste the mango at all. While it's hot, pour into warm, sterilised jars, seal and store in a cool, dark place. You could eat it now, but as with most preserves, the longer you leave it to sit and develop, the more flavoursome it will be (at least a month, and longer is better, as most women will tell you). Serve alongside curries or with fried fish; I tried a bit with some small, whole flounder dredged in seasoned flour: very win!

Linky goodness:


Mary said...

Nigel, what a handsome colour! I'm thinking this would be perfect for a meal I am planning to celebrate the end of salami 'season' (where anything but pork is on the menu). Indian flavours aren't lost on la mia famiglia. They love the intensity of the spices. The fact that they are totally different spices to what they are accustomed make it a real treat!

pierre said...

Hi Nigel
It's been a while I did not visit you !!
Nice chutney here It would warm us up as here in Paris cold is back
I cant' stand it anymore !!!
Cheers from France !!!
Pierre de Paris

Nigel Olsen said...

Mary - Hello! It's good to hear from you :) Your littlie is going to develop quite the sophisticated palate. My sister & husband-in-law will be wandering around Italy come the(northern hemisphere) summer; I really envy them.

Pierre - Bonjour, my son! The last few days here have been cold too, although nowhere near as bad as you guys. Did I tell you I'm visiting France for a week this March? First stop Paris, Versaille, then off to Bordeaux & the Loire Valley - I aim to put on some weight!

hungryandfrozen said...

Gorgeous colours, a nice way to keep a bit of summer going for months to come. I find that (unless I'm just eating it as is) mango flavour can be a bit vague - not surprised that the spices and more full-on pineapple flavour overwhelmed it. But then I bet it gives the chutney great texture, and maybe in a while the flavours will develop?

Nigel Olsen said...

Laura - yeah, you're probably spot on with the texture but I'm not hopeful about the flavour - I guess time will tell. I have today off work, so I'm going to make your chocolate sorbet!

Anonymous said...

Love chutney too and whole spices you used will just make it that much better. Must make a batch since we have a curry club group who would appreciate it.

Nigel Olsen said...

Alli - A curry club - that's brilliant! Yeah, whole spices are so much better, largely do the presence of their oils which impart more flavour than dried out powders.

Emm said...

Yum, I love chutneys and relishes. I am waiting for more of our tomatoes to ripen so I can make my famous tomato kusundi.
Also thanks for your lovely comment today, don't you worry I have no intentions to stop blogging while we are living in Perth :-)

Nigel Olsen said...

Emm - You'll certainly have lots to write about. As for kusundi, my landlord drops of chutneys & relishes every once in a while - last year, she gave me an apricot kusundi - well tasty!

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Nigel,
i just love a good chutney. There are so many lovely and tasty ones at our local farmers market. We always have a few awesome ones in the fridge, and I have taken to having some with almost anything! Nothing better than coming home for a quick lunch and starting a snadwich with a generous dollop of rich and tasty chutney. Hard to mess it up after that. Making my my own is the next step. Glad to see you back, and always enjoy visiting your inspirational place e hoa.

Nigel Olsen said...

Cheers, Robb. They're always handy to have when wanting a little something extra to fire up a sandwich, or a plate of leftovers. As for farmer's markets, they're the perfect place - locally made, traceable ingredients, & invariably tasty. Ta for dropping by :)

Mairi@Toast said...

That sounds so good, love all the spices. And yes much prefer using the seeds/whole spices, they just have so much more flavour ....especially love cardamom. Just getting to that time too when I want to keep a little of summer bottled up for winter.

Nigel Olsen said...

Hi Mairi. Now's the perfect time to be doing it; fruit & veg are cheap & readily available.

spikybombshell said...

Hi Nigel, thanks for your comment! This chutney looks so yum, best time of the year to make it, you will be set for the winter! You guys are lucky in Hawkes Bay, plenty of fresh produce to use! Hope you enjoy some with some cheese and crackers with your friends, nothing like home made relish and chutney. Have a great week!

Plum Kitchen said...

Hi Nigel, lovely blog, and this looks fab. I am tackling tomato sauce today, then will give this a go, thanks for the recipe!

Alessandra said...

Well, with pineapple is a first for me :-).

Nigel Olsen said...

Alessandra - You should try it :)

Plum Kitchen - I'm glad you like it! I've been following your blog for a while now. My condolences too, on the loss of your dad. I know exactly how it feels.

Spikybombshell - You're most welcome, & I hope you'll come again :)

Mairi@Toast said...

Hi, I agree with Mrs PK, a lovely looking blog so please head over to Toast...a little surprise for you.

Zo @ Two Spoons said...

Hi there,
I am helping promote the Taste Farmers Markets New Zealand Awards 2011 (, and we are also going to promote NZ food bloggers at the same time. There's free publicity and a foodie prize pack up for grabs! Please contact me at[at]gmail[dot]com if you're interested, and keep up the fantastic blogging!

Nigel Olsen said...

Mairi - Cheers, Mairi, you're the best :)

Zo - Aaargh, sorry, I'll be in touch soon.