Apricot Chutney with Currants
This is outstanding chutney, especially when the apricots are tree-ripened, sweet and fragrant. For those of us resorting to fruits sold at supermarkets or corner grocers, look for barely ripened fruit with a fragrant smell. If they are absolutely without smell, use dried apricots which require an overnight soaking in lime juice and water and a slight increase in cooking time. American dried apricots little resemble their shriveled Indian counterpart, aloo bookhara, but they are almost as tasty as the fresh fruit.
Preparation and cooking time for fresh apricots: 30 minutes
Preparation, soaking and cooking time for dried apricots: overnight
• Dried apricot halves – ½ pound (230 g) (quartered and soaked overnight in 3 table spoons (45 ml) lime juice and 2 cups (480 ml) hot water; or)
• Seeded and Sliced fresh apricots – 2 pounds (1 kg)
• Lime juice – 3 table spoons (45 ml)
• Water – ½ cup (120 ml)
• Ghee or butter – 2 table spoons (30 ml)
• Cinnamon stick – 3-inch (7.5 cm) piece
• Kalonji or black sesame seeds – ½ teaspoon (1 ml)
• Scraped fresh ginger root, minced – ½ table spoon (7 ml)
• Dark raisins or currants – 2/3 cup (85 g)
• Maple sugar or brown sugar, packed – ½ cup (75 g)
• Salt – ¼ teaspoon (1 ml)
• Cayenne pepper – 1/8 – ¼ teaspoon (0.5-1 ml)
1. If you are using dried apricots, drain the soaked fruit in a strainer and collect the liquid.
2. Heat the ghee or butter over moderate heat in 3-quart/liter stainless steel or enamel saucepan. When it melts, add the cinnamon, kalonji or black sesame seeds and ginger, and fry for about ½ minute. Stir in the remaining ingredients, raise the heat slightly, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer, stirring now and then, especially in the last 10 minutes, until the chutney is thick and glazed, about 30 minutes for fresh apricots and 45 minutes for dried. Serve at room temperature, or refrigerate, covered, for 2-3 days.
1 ½ cups (360 ml)
1 ½ cups (360 ml)
By Yamuna Devi Dasi