Spicy Tomato Chutney

Tomatoes are coming in from our garden: cherry, grape, yellow, romas, and reds. We can’t eat them fast enough, sliced all by themselves or with fresh mozzarella + fresh basil + olive oil + balsamic vinegar, diced in salad, roasted with onions and garlic on sourdough with feta, blended into gazpacho, and still they keep coming. In addition to sauce and salsa, chutney is a great way to use a number of tomatoes at one time, all spiced up. I get all my spices, with the exception of amchur powder and kala namak which my mother sends me, from Mountain Rose Herbs. Their spices are always fresh, vibrant, don’t have fillers or colours added, and are organically sourced . . . plus you can see what country they source each spice from, I personally like to know where in the world and in whose garden my spices were grown. No matter where you get your spices, to make this chutney spices and garlic you must have, and of course:: tomatoes, they’re the star of this concoction!

12 tomatoes, chopped small . . . I use mixture of any and all kinds with success, though less yellow in proportion to red

12 cloves garlic

12 karri patta leaves, fresh if you can get some or dry

2 tsp. turmeric powder

2 tsp. cumin powder

1 tbsp. cumin seed

1 tbsp. coriander seed

1 tbsp. kalonji (nigella/black seed)

2 tbsp. fenugreek seed

1 tbsp. mustard seed

2 tbsp. salt + extra to sprinkle

1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. cayenne powder or red chilli powder

1 tbsp. amchur (dried mango) powder, optional

1 tbsp. kala namak (black salt), optional

Oil

Set the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a rimmed cookie sheet and layer it with the tomatoes then sprinkle them with salt. Roast for approximately 40 minutes. Strain off the juices that are exuded while roasting (save them for use in sauce or something else, they taste quite good).

Heat about 1/4 cup oil in a pot till hot. Add the garlic, 6 karri patta leaves, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, kalonji seeds, 1 tbsp. of the fenugreek seeds, and turmeric; they should sizzle. Stir. Add the strained roasted tomatoes, there should be a sizzle when you add them. Stir. Add the cumin powder, 1 tbsp. cayenne powder, salt, and amchur + kala namak if using. Taste and add more salt if you desire. Stir and cook till bubbly or at a boil, reduce the heat and simmer on low until it reduces to a thick consistency; this can take a few hours. Stir often and frequently to prevent scorching and sticking to the bottom of the pot. Once it’s become nice and jammy, turn off the heat. If you didn’t cut your tomatoes small enough, pulse in a blender for an after-the-fact solution.

In a small frying pan, heat 1/4 cup oil till very hot to make the baghaar. Sprinkle the mustard seed + the other 1 tbsp. of fenugreek seed + the 6 karri patta leaves + the remaining 1 tsp. cayenne powder over the hot oil, they’ll sizzle and release aroma. Immediately pour this over the tomato chutney and close right away with a lid. After a few minutes, remove the lid and stir the baghaar into the chutney.

Spoon into a sterilized quart jar and seal with a tight lid. Store in the fridge. Tastes best after a few weeks of marrying, if you can wait!

Enjoy over scrambled eggs, on toast or naan, with chicken (you can even marinade chicken with it then bake or grill), mix some into hummus and scoop up with pita bread, dip samosas, pakoras, and zuchinni fritters in it, or have some with a bit of leftover basmati rice. Bon appetit!

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