Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Indian Feast Pt. 4: Pear Chutney

This chutney is so beautiful!  The bright yellow from the turmeric, the sheen from the oil, and the little round black mustard seeds, all call to mind jewels.

Although the chutney mostly smells like pear, its flavor is much more complex.  I tasted pear, then mustard, then fennel, in that order, followed by a little bit of heat (which builds up with consecutive bites).  This is the first time I've felt really positive about using black mustard seeds, and I think it's partly because I've been burning them up until this point.

I got the recipe from Vegan Thyme, and I followed it pretty closely.  I did, however, halve the mustard and the salt, and double the lemon juice.  The chutney still doesn't taste explicitly lemony, but I think adding more juice at the end helped cut the sweetness a bit.  Before that final move, however, I was worried that the chutney was too runny, and so I boiled it a bit longer with the lid off in order to evaporate some more of the liquid.

Pear Chutney
(from Vegan Thyme)

3 pears peeled and chopped into 1/2"
juice of 1 lemon, divided
2 TB canola oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
fresh ginger (about two inches long), chopped up
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds, ground
3/4 c water
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp ground tumeric
1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
4 TB sugar

1. Peel, core, and chop pears.  Pour half the lemon juice over them and set aside.
2. In a medium sauce pan, heat the oil over medium-low heat.  Add mustard and cumin, and cook (partially covered) about a minute.  Add ginger, fennel, ground fenugreek, and water.  Be careful!  Hot oil, water, etc...Simmer mixture, covered, over low heat for 15 minutes. 
3. Remove lid; add remaining spices, salt, sugar, and pears.  Simmer 20 minutes more.  If chutney seems particularly liquidy, cook a bit longer.  Then remove from heat and allow to stand.
4.Stir in remaining lemon juice before serving or canning.  Serves about 4-6 as a condiment.


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