Making the Perfect Chutney — May 23, 2021

Making the Perfect Chutney

While we’re on the topic of mango and Indian food, there is no way that I could even think about not bringing up mango chutney…the standard Indian condiment…as standard to that cuisine as ketchup…(or catsup…really, people(?!))is to ours here in America.

The word “chutney” derives from the Hindi word meaning ‘to lick’ or ‘to eat with appetite’…and the Hindi people must really have a great appetite for chutney because in India, chutney is as common as ketchup is here in America. They served chutney a dipping sauce for naan, a condiment for curry, spread it on toast…kinda like vegemite and Australia.

Chutneys have actually been concocted as far back as 500BC….where the people in India began to grind down any medicinal plants, plants that they believed to have health benefits, into chutneys…adding spices to the ground down plants…making a wet paste with the mixture…and sauteeing it in oil…in order to keep the overabundance of fruits and veggies from going bad…

But first of all…what exactly is chutney…and what’s the difference between a relish, a chutney, a marmalade…

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Chutney…The What

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Chutney are savory condiments that can be made from a variety of fruits and veggies—such as coconut, mango, tamarind, apples, rhubarb—that have been slow-cooked along with vinegar and spices.

The idea of making chutney originated in India, but over the centuries has expanded to the point where today almost every country has its own interpretation of this versatile condiment.

Chutneys found in India typically consist of roasted dried lentils, spices—such as coriander, ginger, garlic and cumin, dates, coconut, onions, prunes, tomatoes, chili peppers, limes, mango, and peanuts.

Chutneys from South Africa feature apricots.

Chutneys from England feature apples and vinegar.

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Chutney or Jam

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Chutney differs from jam because jams and jellies are sweet…while chutney is savory because of the spices and vinegar that have been added to the fruit.

Recipes for jams often require pectin in order to creates a thick texture….whereas chutney recipes never call for added pectin.

Chutney is typically chunky and full of pieces of dried fruit and raisins whereas jams are typically blended until smooth.

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Chutney or Relish

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The difference between chutney and relish are not as clear. Perhaps the main difference is the fact that chutneys combine various fruits…whereas relishes typically focus on one primary ingredient.

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Making Chutney

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You can easily make your own chutneys by slow-cooking fruit or vegetables with other ingredients—such as garlic, chil peppers, and vinegar. Then you can use your chutney as a unique, flavorful condiment served along various entrees and appetizers that your guests will be sure to remember.

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Types of Chutney

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As talked about briefly earlier, once the concept of making chutneys found its way out of India and into other countries and regions around the world, this condiment came to no longer be a recipe, but a conglomeration of any and all sorts of ingredients…more of a concept, rather than an actual recipe.

Today perhaps the four most common chutneys are Major Grey’s Chutney, mango chutney, mint chutney, and tomato chutney.

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Major Grey’s Chutney

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Major Grey’s Chutney…This type of chutney is very similar to mango chutney, but milder…and with two more key ingredients—raisins and lime juice. Typical ingredients of Major Grey’s chutney include mango, raisins, vinegar, lime juice, onion…some sort of sweetener…and some blend of spices.

Supposedly the recipe for this variety of chutney was first created by a British Army officer…(probably named Major Grey…go figure)…and is the most popular type of chutney here in America today.

Two brands of Major Grey’s Mango available for sale in the US and Canada are Patak’s, Sharwood’s and Crosse & Blackwell…(the last of which if owned by Smucker.

  • 5 firm mango, about 3C
  • 1C sugar, brown sugar, or other sweetener
  • 1C vinegar—apple cider or white
  • 1C seedless raisins
  • Fruits/Veggies—2 small onions, chopped fine…1/3C cup fresh ginger, grated or chopped fine…1/2″ piece Mexican lime, little, thin skin…3/4″ piece serrano chile, small…one large onion, chopped
  • Spices…
  • 1tsp each—salt, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • Other…
  • 1/2C slivered almonds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard 
  • Peel mangoes. Cut into 1/2″ segments. Put the vinegar in a heavy kettle. Tie the spices in a muslin bag large enough to allow swelling. Add this bag of spices and sugar. Simmer gently 30min, stirring often. Add fruits/veggies/other and half of the mango. Simmer two hours, stirring and watching carefully. Add the rest of the mangoes. Simmer two more hours. Remove the spice bag. Pour mixture into hot sterilized jars. Seal. Let set in a cool place for several weeks before using. This chutney can be kept for years.

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Mango Chutney

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Mango Chutney…Mango chutney is very similar to Major Grey’s chutney, but milder and sweeter. Here is Alton Brown’s recipe for mango chutney…

4# fresh mangos, peeled

3Tbsp vegetable oil

Spices…1tsp chili powder…1-1/2Tbsp curry powder…salt and pepper

Fruits/Veggies…1/4C minced fresh ginger…1C red bell pepper, diced…1/2Craisins

Other…8oz unsweetened pineapple juice…4oz cider vinegar…1/2C brown sugar…1/2C macadamia nuts, roughly chopped and toasted

Cube the mango. Heat the oil in skillet. Add spices, onion, and bell pepper. Saute 2min. Add mango. Cook for one more minute. Combine pineapple juice, vinegar, sugar, and curry powder in a separate bowl. Add this mixture to the skillet. Stir to combine. Simmer for about thirty minutes, stirring frequently. Add raisins and nuts. Season with salt and pepper.

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Mint Chutney

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  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1-½C fresh mint leaves
  • 1 green chile pepper
  • ½tsp salt
  • 1 medium onion, cut into chunks 
  • 1Tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼C water
  • Combine cilantro, mint leaves, chile pepper, salt, onion and lemon juice. Process to a fine paste, adding enough water to achieve a thick sauce.

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Tomato Chutney

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Instead of serving plain ketchup, try a zesty tomato chutney with your burgers and french fries…such as the following recipe…

  • 8 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2C apple cider vinegar
  • 2Tbsp olive oil
  • Spices…2 garlic cloves, minced…1tsp cumin…1tsp cumin…1 tsp dry mustard…1/2tsp turmeric…1tsp chili powder…2Tbsp brown sugar…1/4tsp salt
  • Fruits/Veggies…2 green chilies, finely chopped with seeds removed
  • Add the olive oil to a saute pan over medium heat. Add spices, chilies, and garlic. Cook for one minute. Stir in the tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, and salt. Simmer over medium heat, uncovered, for about twenty minutes.
Making the Perfect Baked Apples — July 8, 2020

Making the Perfect Baked Apples

The perfect baked apples are an apple lover’s dream…and a chef’s pleasure to make whenever they are too lazy, like me, or don’t want to take the time to make an actual apple pie.

 

 

 

The perfect baked apple pie is a sweet, warm, and delicious apple….topped with delicious spices like cinnamon, fresh ginger, and nutmeg…and finally served with a generous portion of vanilla ice cream or homemade caramel sauce (see recipe below)…

 

 

 

The perfect baked apple a a simple, old-fashioned dessert that has all the deliciousness of the filling of an apple pie…yet takes a whopping five minutes to make.

 

 

 

Not only are baked apples definitely a treat to eat, but they also fill your home with a great aroma.

 

 

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Gather Your Ingredients

1/4C brown sugar

1tsp spices—such as cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg

2Tbsp butter

3/4C boiling water or apple cider

7 apples

2Tbsp lemon juice

Optional Ingredients…1/4C chopped walnuts or pecans, chopped raisin, dried cranberries

Choose the Right Apples

In order to make baked apples, guess what you must first have…

 

Apples…duh(?!)

 

But how do you decide which apples to choose?!

 

You want to make sure that you don’t choose an apple that will turn to mush so fast they explode out of their skins…but you also want to choose an apples that stays too firm.

 

Instead the apple that you choose to make your baked apples should be able to become nice and soft inside, but still maintain its shape.

 

Typically the best apples to choose are firm, crisp and tart apples—such as Gala apples, Fuji apples, and Granny Smith apples.

 

You’ll need one apple per person….which means that you can cook anywhere from one to one hundred…if you have a baking dish that will actually hold one hundred apples.

 

 

 

 

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Hollow Out Your Apples

Peel and core apples.

 

 

First use a paring knife or apple corer to carefully remove the core of the apple…and then to thinly slice the apple lengthwise.

 

 

Be sure not to slice all the way through the apple…if you do, you will have sliced apples…not an apple that you can actually stuff with sugar and spice and everything nice…instead leave about 1/2″ of the apple intact at the bottom.

 

 

Remove the core and seeds. You can do this with either the sharp edges of a 1/2tsp measuring spoon or a small melon baller.

 

 

Place apples in big enough dish that will hold all of your apples without the apples touching each other.

 

 

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Fill Your Apples

Now for the sugar and spice and everything nice…

 

I guess you could really fill each apples with whatever you want…whatever spices, butter, sugar, currants, chopped raisins, chopped pecans, dried cranberries, walnuts

 

Stir these together in a large bowl andf then add a pinch or two to each apple.

 

Top each stuffed apple with 1/2 Tbsp butter,

 

 

 

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Bake Your Apples

Pour about 1″ of liquid around the apples. This not only will keep the apple from charring and sticking to the baking dish as it bakes, but will also help make your apples turn out softer—such as water, apple cider, a splash of bourbon or brandy.

 

Bake the apples at 350°F oven for about 40 to 45 minutes, until they are soft, but not mushy. Test them by piercing them with a fork.

 

 

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Serve Your Apples

Once your apples have finished baking, take them out of the oven and let them sit for five to ten minutes.

 

 

Baste the apples with the juices from the pan.

 

 

Then serve with something cold and creamy—such as heavy cream, ice cream, or yogurt.

 

 

Baked apples are best when served fresh, but leftovers can last in the refrigerator for up to four days or in the freezer up to a month.

 

 

To reheat your baked apples, either cook them  in the microwave or bake at 350 until warmed through.

 

 

Vegan Chocolate Mousse Pie — June 17, 2018

Vegan Chocolate Mousse Pie

Now that my husband has been officially declared as a type 2 diabetic, one of my priorities as far as our family meals has been to start cooking healthier than my Mississippi ancestry and love for foods such as Paula Dean’s Sour Cream Pound Cake have always taught me.

I have started exploring options to ordinary cane sugar, such as agave nectar and coconut sugar. Lately I have starting experimenting with date sugar.

But how do you use date sugar to make an awesome dessert…especially on holidays such as Father’s Day and the 4th of July?

So I have started my quest for new desserts to put in my recipe box to replace my recipe repertoire…such as this chocolate mousse pie made with a homemade vegan pie crust and coconut whipped cream.

Vegan Pie Crust

  • 1-3/4C flour
  • 3/4tsp salt
  • 3/4tsp sugar
  • 6Tbsp cold vegan butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 6 Tbsp shortening
  • 5 Tbsp ice water

Instructions

  • Fill a small bowl with water and a couple of ice cubes.
  • Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl.
  • Add the cold butter. Use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the dough.
  • Add the shortening to the bowl. Use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the dough until the butter and shortening pieces are about the size of peas.
  • Incorporate tablespoons of additional water as required for the crust to stick together when pressed between your fingers.
  • Dump the pie dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Shape the dough into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerate at least thirty minutes.
  • Place the wrapped disk on a large smooth surface. Unwrap. Sandwich the dough between two pieces of Saran wrap. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into a 13″ diameter circle.
  • Generously grease a 9″ pie dish. Remove the top piece of plastic wrap. Invert the crust into the pie dish. Carefully remove the other piece of plastic wrap. Fit the crust into the pie dish. Lightly press the dough around the edge of the pie pan. Use scissors to cut excess dough from the edge, following the edge of the pan. Fold the dough over to make a double-thick rim of the crust. Use a fork to crimp the edges.

Chocolate and Date Mousse…This chocolate mousse has a delicate sweetness, an incredibly smooth texture, and best of all—it’s healthy for you.

  • 1/2C Hershey’s Cocoa…(Cocoa can actually be good for you because, depending on how the cocoa has been processed, it often contains a high concentration of antioxidants)
  • 1/2C Sunsweet pitted dates…(In a previous post, I shared the health benefits of dates and date sugar…so not going to reiterate…look here at this post instead).
  • 1-1/4C coconut cream
  • Optional ingredients…(use one or more of the following if desired)…a pinch of sea salt, vanilla extract, some cinnamon, more cocoa, cayenne pepper, a few drops of peppermint extract or fresh mint, finely chopped pineapple, rum, orange zest or extract, chocolate chips, chopped nuts, coffee, Kahlúa, raspberries

Instructions

  1. Refrigerate the can of coconut cream overnight. This allows the cream to solidify and separate at the top of the can, leaving a clear liquid at the bottom. Once you are able to shake the can and no longer feel liquid moving, the coconut cream is ready.
  2. Carefully turn the can upside down. Open and discard the transparent liquid.
  3. Stir the dates with 1Tbsp water in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave one minute. Drain. This allows the dates to not be as dry and helps your mousse to have a smooth consistency.
  4. Blend ingredients together until smooth.
  5. Taste and add any optional ingredients until you get the “flavor of the day.”
  6. Spread the mousse into a pie crust.
  7. Refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight.

Coconut Whipped Cream

  • 14oz can coconut cream
  • 1Tbsp sugar substitute
  • 1tsp vanilla

    Chill the can of coconut cream for at least one day to allow it to separate and harden. Refrigerate your mixing bowl and beaters for thirty minutes.

Take the can of coconut cream out of the refrigerator. Scoop out only the hard coconut cream that should has settled at the top of the can.

Whip ingredients together until fluffy. Add any additional extracts, spices, and/or cocoa powder as desired.