I absolutely adore chutney. It offers sweet, sour and heat in one delicious dollop. Classically served with Indian food as a condiment, chutney can also harmonize with other dishes as I discovered last weekend when I served it on a tomato tart as a first course. Read on for recipe and pictures.
In this case, I took one half the recipe for Pim's Pastry Dough and a modified version of Slow Roasted Tomatoes (minus the garlic and basil) and made a tart. When it came out of the oven, I let it sit for about 5 minutes to firm up and then cut it into six servings. Each serving was garnished with a drizzle of the cilantro-mint chutney.
My untraditional use of chutney may have been influenced by the fact that it came to me in a very international way: from an Israeli woman whom I met at a Thai Buddhist temple in San Diego. She got it from a German woman who got the recipe while in India.
makes about 1-1/2 cups
1 bunch cilantro
1 bunch mint
1-3 serrano chiles, destemmed and rough chopped
thumb-sized knob of ginger, peeled
1/3 cup cashews
1/3 cup golden raisins (I used golden)
Juice from one lemon
Make sure your herbs are washed and dried. Pick the leaves off of the mint and the cilantro. Don't worry too much if there are some cilantro stalks--they have a lot of good flavor.
Stuff the herbs into a small food processor or blender and add the chile. I usually start with one because chiles can vary in heat. It's possible to add more later. Pulse the processor until the herbs and chiles are ground.
Add the ginger, cashews, raisins, a healthy pinch of salt and about half the lemon juice. Pulse again: the mixture should be pasty. Add a good splash of water--about 1/3 cup and pulse again. Taste and adjust seasonings. More lemon for sour, or salt or chili may be needed. If the mixture is still too stiff, add more water.
The chutney should keep in your refrigerator for a few days if kept well-sealed.
(Images: Dana Velden)