Tomatoes, mangoes, plums, brinjal… A lot of fruits and veggies lend themselves to chutneys. Here are a few recipes

Vibrantly coloured, the chutney is delicious and simple to prepare. It makes a perfect accompaniment to chaats, samosas, idlis, dhoklas, vadas, dosas, parathas and spread for sandwiches. There are many possible combinations of ingredients for making chutney. Coconut-based chutney is popular in south India and green and sweet chutneys, in the north. While preparing chutneys, it’s important to know how to balance the flavours with herbs and spices. Firm, fleshed, under-ripe fruits such as green mango, bananas, peaches, apricots and tomatoes are perfect for chutney. Soft fruits with delicate flavour such as strawberries, raspberries too can be used. Dried fruits work particularly well in chutneys since they retain their texture, and contribute to a tart flavour offset by sugar and spices.

Here are a few recipes of easy-to-prepare spicy chutneys.

Tomato chutney

Ingredients

4 big ripe tomatoes

1 tsp chilli powder

5 cloves

10 flakes garlic

1 medium piece of ginger

1 small lump of jaggery dried

2 tsp lemon juice

3 green chillies chopped

A pinch of turmeric powder

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tbsp oil

Salt to taste

Method

Cut tomatoes into small pieces. Grind cloves, garlic, ginger, chilli powder, turmeric powder into a fine paste.

Heat oil and fry mustard seeds and chopped green chillies. Add the paste and cook on low flame for three minutes. Add tomato pieces and cook till tender.

Add jaggery, salt and a little water. Cover and simmer. When tomatoes are properly cooked to a semi-liquid stage, remove from fire. Stir in lemon juice. Let it cool and serve.

Mango Chutney

Ingredients

500 gm raw mangoes

500 gm jaggery

6 cloves of garlic sliced

One-inch long piece of ginger sliced

Half tsp cardamom powder

50 gm raisins

2 tsp vinegar

1 tsp chilli powder

Salt to taste

Method

Peel and cut mangoes into pieces, add salt and put aside overnight. In the morning drain the brine and put in sun for six to eight hours. Put half-a-litre of water in a pan and bring it to boil. Add jaggery and stir till it dissolves. Boil briskly till it thickens to a syrup of one-thread consistency.

Add garlic, ginger, mango pieces and cook till mangoes are tender. Add vinegar and cook for some more time. Then add salt, raisins, chilli powder. Take off fire, when it’s thick and in syrup form. Sprinkle cardamom powder, cool and pour into a dry and clean jar with airtight lid. It can be preserved for a few days.

Brinjal Chutney

Ingredients

1 large brinjal

2 green chillies minced

A pinch of asafoetida

1 small ball of tamarind (soaked in a little water)

1 red chilli

1 tsp urad dal

2 garlic flakes sliced

Half tsp mustard seeds

Quarter tsp ground cumin

Half-inch piece ginger minced

Half tbsp coconut grated

Half tsp grated jaggery

Salt to taste

Method

Apply oil on the brinjal and bake on the gas flame till the skin turns black. Peel and mash the brinjal and keep aside. Fry the coconut, red chilli, mustard, urad dal, asafoetida and garlic. Grind these with onion, green chillies, garlic and ginger to a smooth paste. Strain the tamarind juice. Now add brinjal, salt, cumin, jaggery, tamarind juice and grind once again. Serve immediately.

Plum Chutney

Ingredients

3 plums blended and deseeded

2 tbsp vinegar

1 tbsp sugar

Half tsp ground ginger

1 tbsp dried onion minced

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp dried mango powder

1 clove of garlic minced

Salt to taste

Method

In a saucepan, over medium heat, combine plums, vinegar, sugar, dried onion, red pepper, dried mango powder, garlic and ginger, salt and little water. Bring it to boil, keep stirring till it forms slight thick consistency. Remove from heat. Let it cool and serve.