Tomato Dried Cranberry Chutney!
Bengali Chaatni or Chutney is a sweet and tangy condiment/side with a mild kick of spice. Traditionally it is served towards the end of the meal and eaten by itself. But I prefer to eat it as a side with my main course-usually rice, dal and some vegetable curry. This lip smacking chutney can oomph up even the most boring or bland foods.
Bengali food culture is the only one of its kind in India which has multi course dining cuisine. The first course usually served is rice with a vegetable curry with predominant bitter flavors- recipes like shukto or saag. The second course is rice with dal and a vegetable curry like cauliflower, paneer, cabbage etc. Most vegetable curries/stir fries in Bengali cuisine are made without any onion and garlic. The third course is rice with any non vegetarian preparation like fish curry, mutton or chicken curry. Then its time for the sweet and tangy Chaatni. Followed by dahi/yogurt and lastly a dessert/sweets/mishti. After which you will likely go into a food induced coma and need a long afternoon siesta nap to recover.
This Tomato Dried Cranberry chutney can be served at room temperature or chilled. Usually we make enough to last us 3-4 days as it stays good when refrigerated.
Tomato Chutney/Chaatni can be made with only tomatoes or pair it with dates, raisins or dried cranberries. The same recipe can be used to make Pineapple Chutney or Kaccha Kairi Chutney (raw green mangoes), Tamarind Chutney.
Serving size: 2 tablespoons
- 3-4 tomatoes (vine ripen), chopped
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1 teaspoon Panch phoran/mustard seeds (see notes)
- 1/4 -1/2 cup sugar (see notes)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 whole green chili
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Heat oil to medium in a saucepan.
- Temper with panch phoran and let the spices sizzle for about 30 secs till they release a nice aroma. Take care not to burn or blacken them.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, about 1/2-3/4 cup of water and little salt and let it cook till tomatoes have pulped.
- Now add the required sugar, green chili and dried cranberries and let it simmer for another 5 minutes till the sugar has melted and cranberries plump up a little.
- Cool down and serve at room temperature or chill in the refrigerator.
Tips / Notes:
- The amount of sugar depends on the tartness of the tomatoes and your sweet tooth.
- If using dates, you can substantially reduce the amount of sugar used.
- Panch Phoran is a traditional Bengali spice mix made up of equal parts of cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds and Kalonji (black onion seeds). If you can't find all these spices you can just use mustard seeds.
- I have tried this recipe with a dried red chili in place of a fresh green one which is added along with the tempering spices. Its give a nice smoking flavor and a mild spice kick to the chutney.