Thursday, May 15, 2014

Kiwi-mango-grape chutney: A relish to relish.

I've had met several people in person through this blog. 

Several of my friends who land here (and haven't tasted my actual cooking!) are impressed. 

The ones more familiar with my abilities in the kitchen just go through my blabs; and move on….for if I can make something- they KNOW they can definitely make something better…..

And yet, sometimes, I CAN come up with a winner- at least in terms of taste. Remember my mango chutney that I concocted out of A's ridiculously priced pineapple-mango purchase? Here's another one of those "trash to treasure" stories.

I returned home one day last week to find unwanted kiwi fruit slices from two kiwis. They were virtually raw, hard as a rock and extremely sour.

"Blend them in with your spinach soup"- my MIL suggested.
"Toss 'em out"- was A's suggestion.
"I can't imagine them in a soup; or in the trash"- was me.
So they languished on the kitchen counter for one whole night and a day.

The next evening, I came home to find a bowl-full of chopped mango in the kitchen. I grabbed a couple of pieces, and tossed them in my mouth. Not juicy enough; kind of "eh"….I thought as I went upstairs to change out of work clothes and freshen up…the wheels in my mind turning, anxiety building up.

"Yesterday's kiwi is drying out; this mango is less than perfect, and my fruit-tray in the fridge has a small bunch of last week's shriveled up grapes….plus tomorrow is trash day."

Not being able to throw away food is very intricately bound to my growing up. My parents encouraged us to accept small portions on our plate; and come back for seconds- rather than have more food than we could eat. My mom was frugal enough to use as much of the produce as she possibly could- so we saw her utilize the shells of sweet peas or the stems, peel and leaves of several vegetables in her cooking. My dad constantly reminded us to count our blessings on the table since "half the population in India and Africa doesn't get one square meal a day". Born and raised in a household that valued every grain and morsel, I have grown up to be extremely respectful of my food.

So I struggled with the kiwi-mango-grape conundrum for a good 10 min.

And then I decided to concoct something…a relish...a chutney…without a recipe….just simply following my instincts.

The verdict- it works! Letting the other's speak for themselves; I'll just say that I loved it.  Making it the way I did, is easy-peasy…

Fruit Chutney:

I had: 

  • Kiwi fruit slices 8 roundels (almost 2 whole kiwis, I'd say)
  • Mango, fresh, diced up about one serving spoon
  • A tiny bunch of shriveled up red grapes (that I chopped into smaller pieces)
What I did:

  • Heat about 1/2Tbsp cooking oil in a pan, and spluttered a 1/2 tablespoon of Panch phoran spice in it.
  • Then I added all the chopped up fruit.
  • 3/4tsp of salt, a dash of black pepper.
  • 2 Tbsp water.
  • Cover and cook till mushy. Smashed fruit well with the back of spoon.
  • Taste test…needed a zing. Added 1/2Tbsp Amchoor powder and 3/4 Tbsp sugar.
  • Cooked uncovered, for another 2-3min.
And that was it. We had this as a side with our dinner.

My two cents: Tasted good. Saved me the anxiety of having to throw food from in the trash. So definitely with it. You could definitely make it with "good" fruit- you'd probably have to adjust the sugar and spice accordingly. 

Where's the picture you ask? Wish I knew…can't find it. Either forgot to take one; or is lost in the 3  cameras I own. That's 3 too many; if you ask me…between cooking and feeding the family and a husband who pokes fun at my attempts at food photography…we just might be better off without any pictures; I think!