Thursday, October 29, 2015

Amsotto r Khejur Diye Tomato Chutney / Tomato Chutney with Dates and Mango Leather

Chutneys are Bengali staples. There used to be a time when chutneys were part of the daily staple, to be served after the meal and before the sweets and desserts along with some papad to go with it. But now it is only served in occasions. As a child, I knew there was only one kind of chutney and that was our plain old tomato chutney. The simple ones with only mustard seeds to be visible into it. But then I was introduced with a lot, fruit chutney, aamsotto chutney / mango leather chutney, kuler chutney / plum chutney, papaya chutney and what not!! And list became longer only with time.

bengali tomato chutney recipe

aamsotto chutney recipe tomato chutney

My first memory of chutney dates back to my pre-school. I used to go to a kindergarten school in Hedua, Kolkata. It had two brunches and for Saraswati puja we had to visit the main branch. So...on my first puja, I went to the bigger school which was only known to me as “Boro Bari” / Bigger Building. I went there, all made up in saree and all I saw was alien faces. Ma was standing outside in the school premise but suddenly I started to cry as there was none whom I knew and I suppose all my friends had already left as I came there a bit late. Crying in between a pool of unknown students I was searching for someone to hold to and then one of my teachers recognised me and thankfully came to my aid. She consoled me and fed me with her hand. And it was she who taught me to eat chutney with papad and wafers. I can remember vividly that it was tomato chutney after khichdi and some cauliflower curry and she asked for some more wafers to go with the chutney. Then she broke one of the wafers and scooped some of the chutney with that and fed me the last bites with so much care. It had been way long since that incident but she remained there in my memory like forever.

aamsotto khejurer chutney recipe

bengali tomato chutney recipe

aamsotto recipe aamsotto chutney recipe

After that I had never eaten chutney on its own. Papad has to be there to go with it. Besides there is too much sweetness in the chutney and the salty papad just cuts through it. My chutney here is a mixture of sour - spicy and sweet, which we call as “tok - jhal – mishti”. The kind that is my maa’s favourite. If you want to reduce the spice in it just eliminate the dry red chillies while tempering the oil and reduce the bhaja mosla that I have added here. And it’s just good to go.

tomato khejur aamsotto kismiss chutney recipe bengali style

Aaamsotto Khejur Diye Tomato Chutney / Tomato Chutney with Dates and Mango Leather
It made a little more than the Bonne Maman 13oz jar

tomato chutney with dates and aamsotto recipe bengali style

4 tomatoes – chopped
10 dates – se-seeded and sliced
50 gm aamsotto / mango leather – chopped into small chunks
A handful of golden raisins
A handful of whole un-toasted cashews
1 tbsp tamarind
A pinch of hing / asafoetida
1 tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp minced ginger
2 dry red chillies
1 tbsp of bhaja mosla (dry roast the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, black peppercorns and dry red chillies for 2 minute. Then grind them to a fine powder.)
A pinch of kosher salt
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp mustard oil

Take ¼ th cup of water in a bowl and soak the tamarind in it. After 15 minutes squeeze all the juices from the tamarind and throw away the seeds and the skin.Keep the tamarind water aside.
Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the mustard seeds, fennel seeds,  hing / asafoetida and dry red chillies to them. As they start to crackle and sizzle add the chopped tomatoes to them.
Add the minced ginger and cook the tomatoes till they turn mushy and then start to release oil from them.
Then add the sugar, ½ cup of water and the tamarind water to the tomatoes.
Stir and cook till all the sugar is dissolved.
Now add the salt and half of the bhaja mosla.
Mix and cook for 2-4 minutes.
Then add the sliced dates, chopped aamsotto / mango leather, cashew nuts and golden raisins.
Mix in and simmer another 5 minutes or until the chutney becomes thick and sticky. But don’t make it too dry or else the sugar may start to crystallize.
In the end add the rest of the bhaja mosla and mix in.
Put off the flame and put cover. Let it cool down to room temperature and serve at the end of the meal.

You can also store it in an air tight container for 3-4 weeks in the fridge. But the quicker you finish the better.

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