We have a few old timey apple tree’s where we live, when they’re ripe they are firm, crunchy, and greenish gold in colour . . . am not certain what variety they are but they make delicious apple sauce, taste fulfilling fresh off the tree with a rosey after taste when ripe, and add a nice tartness to this chutney when slightly under ripe. You could substitute with granny smiths or other hard green apples, and if you have apple trees then pick them when they’re not quite developed and are still hard with an astringent bite.
This is not my grandmother’s chutney but a cross between her eggplant torshi and garlic chutney with some additions inspired by my aunt. Since I first published this, my youngest sister tested it and I’ve amended proportions slightly after getting her feedback.
12 medium green apples, chopped into small chunks
1 large purple eggplant, chopped into small chunks
12 whole cloves garlic
15 medjool dates, pitted and halved
1 tbsp. cayenne pepper
5 tbsp. sea salt
2 tbsp. tamarind paste
2 tbsp. nigella (black seed)
2 tbsp. coriander seed
1/2 – 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
2 -3 quarts raw apple cider vinegar
1 cup finely chopped walnuts, optional
1 cup sultanas, optional
1/2 cup chopped dates, optional
Layer all the ingredients in a pot, except the optional ones, beginning with 1/2 cup of the dark brown sugar and 2 quarts vinegar, and bring to a boil, stirring so they’re mixed up well.
Add more of the vinegar if the 2 quarts is not enough; I find the amount you need varies by altitude, whether you cook with gas or electric, and humidity.
Simmer with a lid on for 15 minutes, taste it and if it’s not sweet enough for you then add more of the sugar, tasting as you go until it suits your taste buds.
After 15 minutes, add any or all of the optional ingredients, put the lid back on and simmer for 5 more minutes.
The mixture should reach a jammy consistency, so cook it longer if you need to reach jammy state . . . I confess, sometimes I cut my chunks too large then I end up pulsing it with a stick blender to reduce the chunks after the fact, so the smaller the initial chunks the better.
Spoon the chutney into clean sterilized jars, preferably with non-metal lids . . . the vinegar tends to corrode the inside/underneath area of metal lids over the course of a year, but if you eat it within 2 -3 months that doesn’t happen.
Store the jars in a cool, dry place.
This recipe makes approximately 2 quarts + 1 pint.
Enjoy with daal and rice, samosas, pakoras, kababs, roasted potatoes, or on a cheese board; bon appetit!