Aloobukhare ki Chatni
This recipe is based on a recipe for Sweet Mango Chutney by my late father, Suresh Chandra Gupta. I have modified it slightly. You can make it from the surplus plums from your garden or when they are cheap. The fruit should be half ripe and a little tart. It is excellent in cheese sandwiches, with Vegetable Biryani, Khitcheriand with Mathari or cracker biscuits. You can also use this recipe to make chutneys from Rhubarb and other seasonal fruits like peaches, nectarines or Apricots. You will have to adjust the quantity of sugar, depending upon how tart your fruit is.
The word ‘chutney’ comes from original Hindi word ‘chatni’ which is a tangy and spicy paste, that makes you smack you lips, makes your tongue and mouth come alive! The word ‘chat’ or ‘chaat’ mean ‘lick’ and ‘chatna’ means ‘to lick’. The original Indian chatni is a mix of uncooked fruit (raw mango/apple/other fruits), green chillies, herbs like coriander and mint, a few spices, lemon or vinegar or tamarind, sometimes sugar, all ground together to a paste. Other ingredients can also be added according to taste. In England, and the West, it is called Chutney and it generally means a spicy preserve/condiment, where fruits or vegetables have been cooked in vinegar, with spices and sugar, and then bottled. Pictures show chutney made from yellow plums from my daughter Kavita's garden.
Edited August 2023
1 kg. half ripe plums
250 gm. or 2 medium onions, peeled and grated
3-4 garlic cloves, crushed (optional)
100 gm. raisins (optional)
1 inch of ginger root, grated (tip from Winton)
500 gm. jaggery* or brown or Muscovy sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt, adjust to taste
1 1/2 tsp. coarsely ground chillies, adjust to taste
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
150 ml. malt vinegar (tip from Winton; use half malt and half balsamic vinegar)
3-4 black cardamoms**
1 bay leaf**
4 black peppers**
A large pan. You do need a large pan to be able to boil the chutney briskly, without splashing.
** Tie these spices in a piece of muslin and remove before bottling.
Though you can de-stone the plums, it is okay to cook them without removing stones. Just halve them to make sure that they are not diseased. Place in a pan along with half of the vinegar and cook for 20-30 minutes.
Allow to cool a little. Mash with a potato masher or a heavy spoon.
Press through a colander. The stones and skins will be left in the colander, discard them.
Return the pulp to the pan, add all other ingredients and bring to boil.
Turn heat down to simmering and simmer briskly for 30-40 minutes. Adjust seasoning.
Test after 20 minutes and then every 10 minutes. To test to check if it is ready to bottle, place a little on a chilled plate and part it with your finger. If a clear space is left on the plate, which remains or fills up slowly, it is ready. If it is too thin, the liquid will fill this space immediately.
Heat clean glass jars in a hot oven, around 175ºC, for 10-15 minutes.
Place jars on a heat-resistant surface like a wooden chopping board.
Place a metal spoon in the jar (this avoids the jar breaking).
Fill the jars using a metal funnel.
Place a disc of wax paper on top while still hot. This is not needed, if you are using modern jars with plastic coated lids.
Screw on the metal lids and turn the jars up-side down. This creates a vacuum and keeps the contents sterile. Label name and date, as well as ingredients, especially if you are planning to use them as gifts or sell them.
The chutney tastes better, when it is allowed to rest and mature for a month or so.
Also see Pickle and Chutney Selection.
*Jaggery or jaggery is unrefined, Indian cane sugar, made by boiling the sugar cane juice in large vats/pans. It has a rich, molasses like flavour. It can be bought in blocks from Indian stores. It dissolves very quickly during cooking.
It is a good idea to make chutney and jams in a large pot. This stops the contents from splashing onto cooker and works surfaces and making a mess.