February 7, 2007
I am constantly making lists. I've got them all over the place, in scraps of paper in my wallet, on my pda phone, in notebooks, and if you go through my laptop you'll find lots more. It gives my life some sense of order. But above all, it helps me remember since I have such a horrible memory. The best part about making these lists is the gratification one gets from taking that pen and drawing a line across that item, or placing that neat check mark beside it.
Yesterday, I did just that. I almost danced a little jig as I crossed out mango chutney from my 'list of food to try and make at home', from hereon we will refer to simply as The List. Our chutney supply comes from my tita who lives in our village. The fact that our source is only a few blocks away has proven to be so convenient especially when curry is served for Sunday lunch and we whip out the jar only to find that we're running dangerously low on chutney. So while on one of these chutney runs I thought, why don't I make my own? And so that was the day it was added to The List.
I had so many recipes to choose from for my first attempt. Eventually, I settled on the one from The Gourmet Cookbook (pp. 906-907). I tried to stick to the recipe as much as possible but didn't have any red pepper flakes on hand so I left that out.
Mango Chutney from The Gourmet Cookbook
3 large firm but ripe mangoes (I used 4 Philippine mangoes), peeled, pitted and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 (3 inch) cinnamon stick
1 garlic clove, smashed
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. coriander seeds
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1/4 tsp. fennel seeds
Chill a small plate for testing chutney.
Combine all ingredients in a 3-quart heavy saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and simmer, skimming away any foam and stirring frequently as chutney thickens for about 30-35 minutes.
Remove saucepan from heat while testing for doneness. Drop a spoonful of chutney onto the chilled plate. Refrigerate for 1 minute, then tilt plate; chutney should remain in a mound and not run. Transfer chutney to a bowl to cool, uncovered. Once thoroughly cooled, refrigerate for at least 1 day to allow flavors to develop.
I doubled the amount of sugar to 1 cup and simmered it for another 10 minutes to allow more of the vinegar to evaporate because I felt it was a little too sour. It turned out sweet and tangy with the nice juicy chunks of mango. All in all, it was not exactly what I hoped for, but a pretty good start.
The chutney didn't come out as dark as I would have liked, and I think that has a lot to do with the fact that I used light brown sugar instead of dark brown. Now all I need is a good chicken tikka masala or lamb curry to test it with. Meanwhile, I'll be trying other recipes that include raisins, allspice and cloves, which I think are essential in a good chutney.
For those of you who live in Manila and haven't already heard: Assad's (that wonderful Indian mini-mart from UN Ave.) has opened a branch on Jupiter St. (Yay!) They haven't installed a phone yet, but you can easily find it next to Red Ribbon and near Nullah. That's where I got all the spices I needed and at super reasonable prices. I'm so happy I no longer have to go all the way to UN Ave. for that! :)