Sunday, December 16, 2007

Apple Apricot and Fig Chutney

One good substitution deserves another

Food bloggers can be admirably observant at times. For instance, consider the picture of a plateful of food, with poori and bhaji as stars of the post, and yet, what two of my favorite bloggers, Richa and Bee asked me was about the tiny speck of Apple Chutney, which was nearly hidden under a papad! Giving them the recipe was the easy part, but if I had to post it, then an unwritten requirement was to take a halfway decent photo of it, and that meant I needed a fresh batch of it, since I was already out of it.

The original recipe is from Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking, and called 'Apple, Peach and Apricot Chutney' translated into Hindi as 'sev, aroo, aur kubani ki chutney'. Even though one should not judge food by looks alone, it was the orange hued picture of the chutney in a silver bowl that first caught my attention and made me want to try it out. I checked how many apples it called for, and set two aside to make a half batch of it. It was when I was ready to start cooking that I realized that I did not have any dried peaches. Dried apricots are usually in the pantry, but dried peaches, never. Ever so resourceful, I used dried papaya instead and proceeded, and it was a hit. It was absolutely easy to make, and it was evident that the quantities of the seasonings could be easily adjusted according to taste.

The next time, I didn't have any dried papaya, so I used dried figs from India, you know, those types that come in the form of discs on some sort of a string, most often seen in the Diwali dry fruit boxes wrapped with yellow cellophane? I don't particularly like those, and don't remember how they landed home, but they were sitting for a long time, so they were put to good use in the chutney in place of the dried papaya, I mean, peaches. So that's the story of the chutney that the ladies spotted in the picture.

Now with the bounty of delicious local fall and winter apples here, that is what I decided to make, but this time, I didn't have any dried figs on hand either! So I went to buy some and was staring at the Black Mission and Calimyrna, thinking what a difficult choice this was, did a eena-meena-mina-mo on them, and went for the Calimyrnas. The apples I used were Jonagolds, but nearly any type of apple works here just fine.

Apple Chutney with Apricots, Raisins, and Figs

Apple Apricot and Fig (or Peach or Papaya) Chutney

Yields
About 4 cups chutney

Ingredients

1/2 kg apples (4-5 medium sized apples)
3/4 cup dried apricots
3/4 cup dried figs
1/2 cup golden raisins
4 cloves garlic
2 X 1 inch cube ginger
1-1/2 cups white vinegar
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Method

Core, peel, and chop the apples. Chop the dried figs and apricots into pieces as large or small as you like. Mince the garlic, and grate the ginger.

Combine all the ingredients in a medium sized stainless steel pan, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook for about 30-40 minutes until it reaches a thick consistency similar to jam. Stir occasionally if required to prevent sticking.

Let it cool in the pan for some time. It will thicken slightly more as it cools. Let cool completely before filling into a jar.

Notes, Substitutions

  • The above recipe is what I have made, with changes to the original. I have reduced the amount of garlic a little, and increased the amount of cayenne pepper.
  • The original recipe uses white wine vinegar, but I use white distilled vinegar or apple cider vinegar. The vinegar could fume during cooking, so make sure to turn on the exhaust or keep a window open.
  • I have reduced the amount of sugar significantly from the original, and yet it is somewhat sweet in taste, but the sugar is required for preserving the chutney for a longer period. I have been able to keep the chutney in good condition for a few months without having to refrigerate it.

Taking a cue from a certain new cookbook title, this chutney is tangy, tart, hot and sweet! It should also come with a warning that there is a danger that this chutney might be consumed in side dish quantities rather than as a condiment, but that should be alright, considering that it contains things that are mostly good for you.

20 comments:

vegeyum said...

It looks so delicious. I can see why it might be consumed in single dish quantities.

Richa said...

all ingredients - check :)
will make this real soon, slurrrrp!
thanks for posting the recipe, sweetie!
the preparation reminds me of murabba, though that does not have ginger/ garlic.
did u say a few months, that must be SOME qty ;)

Anita said...

What a rich colour - simply looks great! I can see it being versatile, I could use up the prunes no one wants to eat, add dates instead of figs that are so plentiful right now...and of course, apples!

sunita said...

That's one gorgeous chutney..love ALL the fruits in it...thanks for the recipe :-)

evolvingtastes said...

vegeyum, what a co-incidence to see you here. I chanced upon your blog just yesterday. Welcome to my blog!

Richa, glad to be of service. I do hope you make it now, after all the mehnat I took. :-) Re. the few months, that's only because there are always so many different chutneys and pickles on hand, and also because we don't eat them regularly.

Anita, absolutely. I didn't want to reiterate it but it is very forgiving and versatile with regards to the ingredients as long as the basic quantities are somewhat ok.

Sunita, you are welcome!

Suganya said...

I never made anything, but the traditional Indian chutney. I should try this. thanks ET.

evolvingtastes said...

Suganya, this not the type of chutney where you grind up a bunch of things, but rather addictive in its own way, and you will find lots of different ways of using it too. Spice it up if you like.

TheCooker said...

Yo! I can't keep up with you.
You've maro-ed kabza over my must-try list.
The colour is the chutney is gorgeous.

bee said...

this looks a bit like the gujju murabba, which i absolutely love. bookmarked.

Miri said...

Looks lovely, apple based things are usually "phoren" - this one is tuned to desi tastes and i cant wait to try it!

Aarti said...

Hello.. this is my first comment on this blog. I made the apple-apricot-peach chutney, coz I could not get it out of my head ever since I read about it here! I used fresh-everything(rather than dried fruits), in double the qty (vs. the dried versions) since they were available, and it turned out heavenly! Thank you!

evolvingtastes said...

Hi Aarti, thanks for stopping by to let me know! Using everything fresh sounds most excellent and tempting enough for me to try out too. Welcome here and hope to see you around again.

Ri said...

hello,
I'd love to try this recipe. But I don't have dried apricots, and only have some fresh apples and figs. Can I use them fresh, and are the apricots a must? thank you!

Anonymous said...

I think someone has copied this pic....check out here...
http://telugu-recipes.blogspot.com/2009/05/papaya-chutney-method-i.html

pdxmaven said...

I was wondering if there was a way to "preserve" this chutney so it can be given as a gift w/out needing to be refrigerated? thanks,

evolvingtastes said...

Hi pdxmaven, this chutney doesn't need to be refrigerated! In my experience, as long as the sugar, vinegar and salt are cooked completely, and the container/jar is clean and sterile, the chutney stays fine at room temperature for several weeks or a few months at room temperature.

pdxmaven said...

So, I made it over the weekend, and it turned out great! At first, it didn't look like the picture but that was because I hadn't cooked it quite long enough (even though I cooked it the time indicated in the recipe) but cooked a bit longer and it all turned that georgeous brown.

Now, somewhere I read that you are not supposed to let the chutney touch the metal of a lid? Where did I read this? The canning jars I am using, their lids are not a brass color but white. so I assume the company has coated them with something to address this very problem? Or should I put a layer of plastic wrap across the top of the canning jar, and then affix the canning jar lid and ring?

Natalie Georgoulopoulos said...

Made this chutney yesterday evening using figs from our fig tree in Greece which we dry every year. Just making this chutney for its appearance is worth it. The rich, deep, golden colour the apples, apricots and figs turn into is amazing. It looks absolutly fantastic. But we did need to cook it for about another half an hour on top of what the recipe said.

evolvingtastes said...

pdxmaven, sorry I missed replying to you during the holiday rush and I hope this is not too late. I have seen those coated lids, but I have also seen those corroding sometimes. So ideally you want to leave some space between the metal and food. A plastic wrap might impact the tight seal between jar and lid.

Glad to see that the chutney turned out well for you. I should add that using cider vinegar rather than white distilled vinegar usually results in a darker color. Which one did you use?

evolvingtastes said...

Natalie! Wow, figs from you own tree sounds wonderful. Can I visit? :) I am so glad you liked it and thanks a lot for your response.

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