Chutney's linguistic origins — from the Sanskrit word "catni," meaning "to lick" — shows off this spicy condiment's flavorful background. Made of fruits and vegetables, vinegar, sugar and spices, chutneys are traditionally served with curried dishes. Fruit chutney also makes a great complement for grilled pork chops, broiled chicken breasts and baked ham; a flavorful spread on sandwiches; a sweet-tangy condiment with cheese; and even a unique ingredient on flatbread.
Each region of Central Asia has its own distinctive chutney recipe. This version is flavored with Chinese five spice, typically made of star anise, cinnamon, cloves, Sichuan peppercorns and fennel seeds. This spice blend imparts a perception of sweetness without sugar.
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 large shallot, minced (2 to 3 tablespoons)
2 teaspoons grated peeled ginger root
1 clove garlic, minced
2 large fresh ripe peaches, chopped in 1-inch pieces
½ cup dried tart red cherries or currants
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
⅓ cup slivered almonds
Before you begin: Wash your hands.
- Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot, ginger root and garlic. Cook and stir for about 3 minutes, or until the shallot is softened but not browned.
- Reduce heat to low. Stir in peaches and cherries or currants. Cook and stir until peaches soften but still keep their shape, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Let cool and place in blender. Add vinegar, brown sugar and Chinese five spice powder. Blend well.
- Pour into serving bowl. Mix in almonds.
- Serve warm or chilled as a condiment, sauce or spread. The chutney can be frozen for later use. Makes about 2 cups.
- If peaches are unripe, place in a paper bag on the counter. Ethylene gas from the peaches hastens ripening. Putting a banana in the bag softens peaches even faster.
- Chinese five spice powder is available in many supermarkets. If unavailable, make your own! For a yield of 4 teaspoons Chinese five spice powder, combine 1¼ teaspoons ground fennel seeds, 1 teaspoon ground star anise, 1 teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorns, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon and ½ teaspoon ground cloves.
Serving size: ¼ cup
Calories: 100; Calories from fat: 40; Total fat: 4g; Saturated fat: 0; Trans fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Total carbohydrate: 15g; Dietary fiber: 2g; Sugars: 11g; Protein: 2g