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indian-spiced chutney to relish
(recipe, Sarah Gilbert)
In my Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery (thank goodness: of the few I've found so far in thrift stores, I have the volume Q-Sor), the section I devoured this weekend goes this way: "RELISH--As a verb "to relish" means "to enjoy," and when the word relish is used as a culinary term it can be, and is, applied to a wide range of foods and food preparations served as accompaniments to add zest, flavor and variety to the main dishes of a meal. Olives and such vegetables as celery, radishes, cucumbers, carrots and cauliflower, when served raw are one major type of relish. A second major type includes such widely used condiments as ketchup and chutney..."
So that when I searched online to find a recipe for an Indian-spiced chutney like the one I took home from a canning party last year, it occurred to me to also try the word "relish." Indeed, the recipes I found were equal parts "chutney" and "relish," and many of them seemed about right. None quite perfect, though, so I mixed and mingled. And here: an Indian-spiced chutney to relish.
- 4 Tbsp. oil (it should rightly be mustard oil, but olive will do in a pinch)
- 1 tsp. onion seeds (also called "nigella" -- I gathered my own from my garden, another story for another day)
- 2 tsp. fennel seeds
- 2 tsp. brown mustard seeds
- 2 tsp. cumin seeds
- 4 to 6 dried hot chiles (mine were mostly serranos)
- ½ tsp. asafoetida
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar (it's what I used; rice wine vinegar would be better)
- 1 cup jaggery (the Indian name: it's "rapadura sugar" in the co-op here. Or use sugar)
- 4 to 6 lb. roma tomatoes or other sauce-type tomato
- Measure out the spices, chop the onion and blanch the tomatoes. Set aside.
- In a large, deep-sided pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the seeds and chiles and cook, stirring, for a minute or two.
- Sprinkle in the asafoetida and stir in the onion; reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring, until onions are soft.
- Meanwhile, peel your tomatoes and chop roughly. (All of the recipes, including the one we made last year, say not to peel your tomatoes. I hated the peels in the final product, and picking them out is no good! This is my way.)
- Add sugar and vinegar and let cook a few minutes while you finish peeling and chopping the tomatoes. This is a big job.
- As you go, stir in the tomatoes and adjust heat to a nice bubble.
- Cook for as long as it takes to become a smooth, rich paste. A few hours probably.
- Taste, adding salt, sugar, vinegar or hot pepper as desired. Remove hot chiles.
- Prepare canning jars; the recipe will make 3-4 pints.
- Remove from heat and ladle into prepared canning jars.
- Process in a 180 degree hot water bath for 10 minutes for half-pint jars, 15 minutes for pint jars.