February 7, 2007

The Chutney Project & The List

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! :)


Anonymous said...

Hi, Christine! Found your site from Senor Enrique's. Wow!Going through your blog, I can't help wonder - are you a chef? Great recipes, great food! I think I'll come visit you here often to learn. You see, I'm not much of a kitchen mom. It's my husband who does most of the cooking.

Great blog! :)

Socky said...

It's them chutneys that i should learn and try to make. I know how it feels when you have a lovely curry dish only to find out there's no chutney in the cupboard.

christine said...

Wow Rhodora, thank you very much! But no, I am no chef! Far from it. haha I am just your ordinary girl who loves to eat and who likes to experiment in the kitchen when she has the time. :) I can't guarantee you'll learn a lot because I'm still learning myself, am one big work in progress. But you are most welcome to hang around. :) Thanks again!

Hi Socky! They're actually so easy to make! The trick is in finding that perfect recipe. I'd like to be able to try other flavors too, like the apple spice chutney of Jo. That sounds so yummy! :)

Anonymous said...

Nena, im going to make this chutney, been looking for a good recipe too. i love assads, it has like, everything you need for middle eastern/ indian food and prices are not bad either.

Yours and Joeys recipes are always winners (as in tried and tested) so i am inspired.

my friend vicky makes little pan de miga sandwiches with chutney and adobo, yummy

Katrina said...

I love Assad's! When I used to handle Unilever, each time I had a meeting there I'd pop in Assad's to buy their samosas. They're my favorite samosas, especially with the tamarind sauce. They're huge and so cheap! Are they available in the Jupiter branch? Because I won't be having any more meetings at Unilever, that's for sure.

Anonymous said...

the last time i went they had a lot of the somosas, all nice , crisp and spicy ;-0 i think they were about P 10/ pc. how can you go wrong?

Anonymous said...

Mango chutney sounds so great not only for its taste but for its color! I don't know about you, but I love it when my food looks pretty before I destroy it. :)

Ari (Baking and Books)

GingGoy said...

my first comment here since i'm just coming out of lurk mode after a few months :)

nice blog here of foodi stuff...i occasionally post foodie finds in my blog since it's part of my theme though I focus more on travel :)

thanks for dropping by my blog...linked you up. hope you don't mind

Lady Prism said...

mu goodness!..everything looks superb!..enjoyed me' stroll here!..lovely!

Anonymous said...

great recipes here, and chutneys--I have never tried to make from scratch. I am a list person also. when I was younger I made lists with priority sections, and when dating I made pro & con lists!

christine said...

Miri, this chutney comes out different from the one I am (and maybe you too) used to. I'm trying a different recipe soon, and I'll post about it. Wait and see if that one is more your type. Wow that pan de miga sandwich sounds interesting!

Hi Katrina, I love those samosas too! I didn't see any at the Jupiter branch that time I went but maybe they just ran out.

Ari, I know what you mean! That's one of the reasons why I love to take pictures of food, especially when there are many colors and textures involved. :)

Hi Paetechie, I don't mind at all and thanks! You and I both have the same kind of theme going on, travel and food among other stuff.:) I enjoy your blog too!

Lady Luxie, I'm glad you're enjoying. Thanks for dropping by ! :)

Anonymous, your comment made me laugh. It reminds me of that Friends episode where the 3 guys helped Ross make a list of pros and cons on dating Rachel which turned into a huge problem when she found the list! :)

Anonymous said...

Your chutney looks great Nens! I have got to try this out as you know how much I love Indian food :) These little "pam-pagana" condiments make me eat twice as much though!

Nigella has a pineapple chutney that I also want to try...

christine said...

Thanks, Jo! The flavor has even improved over a few days. Mango chutney is my favorite kind so I'd really like to achieve the perfect one. Jyoti's mom has set the bar high. To this day, I haven't tasted a better mango chutney! Are you going to try to make the pineapple chutney? :)

Karen Baking Soda said...

I don't know exactly why but I love to make chutneys, my family loves me for making chutneys too (NOT, they hate the vinegar wafts).
I like mine on the sweet side with a hint of sour and a bit of a crunch left.
Oh and lists...don't get me started on my lists....

christine said...

Hi Karen! That's exactly how I like mine too, sweet with a hint of sour, and with some crunch. Have you posted any of your chutney recipes? I'll have to check your archives. :)