burnt toast

Category: Chutney

Date Chutney

date chutneyMy last memory of making this chutney was from about 5 years ago, before I decided to pack my bags to whiz around half the globe to go live with wallabies and have tea parties with huntsman spiders. Back then, amidst the alps and the rivers of chocolate, when I was slowly but steadily cooking myself into a frenzy and coming to the realisation that hobbies really couldn’t get much better than this. One of my favourite places to eat, and I know I’m not alone, is a delightful vegetarian restaurant called Tibits, in the heart of Bern, situated enticingly in front of the train station. Possibly to target starved vegetarians on their way to work, on their way back from work, or everyone else who likes delicious food. The food is presented buffet-style (drool), ranging from curries and stir-frys to salads and delicious crusty bread rolls, and a tiny section of chutneys and condiments. I hold my head high without shame when I say that at least 1/5th of my plate would be dedicated to that date chutney they had there. Date chutney rocks. And so naturally I had to have the recipe.

Have you ever heard of Hiltl? It holds a record for being the oldest continuously open veggie restaurant in the world. Where will you find it? In Zürich. It is the mother of Tibits as well as of a few wonderful cookbooks, in which you will find said chutney. If you find yourself in Switzerland at the moment, do yourself a favour and go have some food at one of their establishments. If not, then all I can do is offer you my version of their recipe, which really, is still a pretty good deal.

If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas for using this chutney, let me help. Number one, serve it with zucchini and onion fritters and some coriander yoghurt. That recipe will follow shortly, promise. It’s delicious with pretty much every other Indian dish, especially with dhal and poppadoms, or spread into a toastie with some melty cheese. Get the idea? good.

 

Date Chutney

Adapted from one of the Hiltl cookbooks

Makes about 1 ½ cups

 

1 large onion, finely chopped

2-3 Tbsp vegetable oil

2 cm fresh ginger, finely grated

1 tsp ground cumin

big pinch chili flakes

2 Tbsp dark brown sugar

1 tsp tamarind puree (if you only have concentrate, start with ¼ tsp and adjust to taste)

100g dates, finely chopped

2 Tbsp tomato paste

½ tsp salt

200ml water

 

Fry the onion in the oil until softened and starting to caramelize. Add the ginger, cumin and chili flakes, and stir for about one minute. Add the sugar, tamarind puree, dates, tomato paste and salt, and top up with the water. Give everything a good stir and let it bubble away for about 5 minutes, or until the dates have broken down and the mixture has thickened. Remove from the heat and let it cool for a bit, before transferring to a jar.

Will keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks.

 

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Coriander and Coconut Chutney

coriander coconut chutney

You’ve looked at the photo, haven’t you, and gone, “ But Laura, I can see more triangles there. Aren’t you going to talk about them? I like triangles, and I sort of really want one for breakfast now.” Yes and no kitten. This week I want to dedicate this post to this glorious chutney. Why? Because it’s delicious and I don’t think you’d bother if I’d give you the triangles first. And because I like being a tease.

But seriously. This chutney man. Ugh. It’s beautifully mild, yet complex in flavor. The sweet creaminess of the coconut marries beautifully with the fresh coriander and mint, with a subtle complexity added by the curry leaves.  It’s delicious in sandwiches, but most of all, amazing paired with Indian food. Especially samosas. Crunchy potato and pea samosas.  Tasty ones.

Enough teasing, lets get to the recipe.

Coriander and Coconut Chutney

 

Makes quite a bit – about 1 ½ cups

 

We’re aiming for a thick, runny consistency, which is exactly what you’ll get once you’ve made it. However, after a couple of hours in the fridge, it will become quite firm. Just add a bit of water to thin it out, and adjust the seasoning accordingly.

1 cup (90g) shredded coconut

250ml coconut milk

1 tsp ground cumin

1 bunch coriander, roughly chopped

12 mint leaves

1 tsp salt

1 big Tbsp peanut butter

¼ lime, juice

for tempering

1 Tbsp oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

8 curry leaves, torn (dried are fine)

¼ tsp chilli flakes, or more to taste

Place the shredded coconut in a heatproof bowl. Boil the kettle and cover the coconut with water. Let it sit for about half an hour or until cool. This will soften it and make it easier to puree.  Once it’s cooled, pour off any water remaining. Add the coconut milk, and whip out your hand held blender. Give it a blend for a couple of minutes, until the coconut shreds are shreds no more, then add the cumin, coriander leaves, mint leaves, salt, peanut butter and lime juice, and continue blending. It’s up to you how smooth or chunky you want it, but I tend to aim for smooth.

Now, in a fry pan, heat the oil over low heat. Add the mustard seeds, curry leaves and chilli, and give them a bit of a shake. Once the mustard seeds start popping – which won’t take long – remove from the heat and pour over the coconut mixture. Stir it in and bam! Ze chutney is ready to go.

Keeps in an airtight container for about a week.

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