Chutney is a marvelous thing. Time consuming, to be sure, but so flavorful that it is always worth the effort. Though you can find chutneys at the grocery store, ever since I started making them at home, I haven’t looked back.
You can really only find a few varieties in American grocery stores – mainly fig, with the occasional sweet tomato or onion. Indian grocery stores have many types, but without the opportunity to taste test, you are never really sure what you are getting. More often than not, buying an unknown brand can lead to you coming home with a jar of something that disgusts you, due to the strong, concentrated flavors.
I have experimented with many cranberry chutneys over Thanksgiving and always have a batch of homemade tomato chutney on hand, but I have never delved into the fruitier varieties before this common South African condiment. The result was surprisingly pleasing, well suited for the semi-sweet bobotie and yellow rice, and definitely something I will make more of in the future.
Prep time: 40 mins – 1 hour (mostly inactive)
Serves: 8 (as relish)
Adapted from Rainbow Cuisine: A Culinary Journey Through South Africa
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup dried apricots
- 3 cups cider vinegar
- 1 large onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- ground ginger
- coriander (ground or seeds)
- mustard seeds
- chili powder
- Make ahead: Chop the apricots and soak them, with the raisins, in vinegar overnight. If you are not able to soak the dried fruits overnight, boil them in the vinegar, remove from heat, and set aside for 1/2 hour.
- Finely chop the onion and garlic and add to saucepan with the 1/2 cup of sugar.
- Add one teaspoon salt, ginger and ground coriander (if using) and half a teaspoon coriander seeds (if using), mustard seeds, and chili powder.
- Stir to combine all ingredients, and set over a medium flame.
- Every five to ten minutes, stir the chutney to keep it from sticking to the pot and check the liquid levels. If after 15-20 minutes, there is hardly add liquid left, add another cup of vinegar and reduce the heat slightly.
- After 30-40 minutes the mixture should have thickened considerably and the individual raisins and apricots should become less distinguishable. At this point, the chutney should be stirred constantly for 5-10 more minutes until the liquid is fully incorporated and the mixture is thick and dense in consistency.
- Serve with bobotie and yellow rice.
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