Zesty Green Tomato Chutney
Bengalis love green tomato chutney either sweet or sweet ‘n’ sourfor although it is made from a plebeian ingredient, it has a wonderfully delicate flavor. In this century-old recipe from Bir Nagar, saffron and lime juice beautifully set off a green tomato-papaya combination. Bengalis are fond of both unripened mango and papaya, and many cooks might toss in a handful of diced fruit about halfway through the cooking. A relative new comer to greengrocers shelves and roadside stalls, yellow tomatoes make a fine golden variation in summer.
Preparation time (after assembling ingredients): about 30 minutes
• Green or yellow tomatoes (about 1 ¼ pounds/570 g) – 4 medium-sized
• Ghee, or corn or mustard oil – 3 table spoons (45 ml)
• Minced yellow banana chilies, or 1-2 seeded and minced hot Serrano chilies – 1 table spoon (15 ml)
• Black mustard seeds – ½ teaspoon (2 ml)
• Curry leaves, preferably fresh – 8-10
• Saffron threads – 1/8 teaspoon (0.5 ml)
• Finely chopped candied ginger – 2 table spoons (30 ml) each
• Peeled and diced green papaya or mango and papaya or other slightly underripe fruit – ½ cup (120 ml)
• Salt – ½ teaspoon (2 ml)
• Coarsely chopped fresh coriander – 2 table spoons (30 ml)
1. Plunge the tomatoes into a pan of boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain immediately and peel the tomatoes. Cut each in half crosswise and squeeze out most of the seeds. Dice the tomatoes.
2. Heat the ghee or oil in a heavy frying pan over moderate heat until it is hot but not smoking. (If you use mustard oil, bring it to the smoking point for about 5 seconds to make the pungent oil docile). Drop in the black mustard seeds and fry until they turn gray and sputter. Add the curry leaves, and in seconds carefully add the tomatoes and saffron. Stir and cook for about 15 minutes over in seconds moderately low heat.
3. Add the candied fruit, diced green fruit and salt. Stirring often toward the end, cook for about 15 minutes or until fairly thick. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the fresh coriander, and let cool. Serve at temperature, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
About 1 cup (240 ml)
About 1 cup (240 ml)
By Yamuna Devi Dasi