Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Sauce, Chutney and Pickles

Every year I make tomato sauce, some form of chutney or relish and Indian Kasundi. It can be time consuming to make preserves, however, they are very simple to make and it is so satisfying to look at the all the bottles and jars and admire your efforts. I usually do the preparation, get the sauce or chutney on cooking and then do something that allows me to 'keep an eye' on whatever is bubbling away.  Preserves make a nice gift, I like to give gifts that I have made particularly at Christmas or as a little thank you to people. Whenever I go to a barbecue I usually take the hosts a bottle of tomato sauce or relish.

The recipes that I use are forgiving, it will not matter if you have slightly less onion or a bit more tomato. Adapt the recipes to suit your tastes particularly with the amount of chilli.  It is important to keep the salt, vinegar and sugar  proportions as they are the preservatives. Proper cleaning and sterilising of the jars is important as it destroys bacteria, as is the sealing of the jars to keep them airtight.

I save, collect from friends and recycle all manner of jars and bottles so that when I do my major sauce and chutney production I have plenty on hand. Small soft drink bottles are perfect for sauce and smallish, wide necked jars for chutneys and pickles. This year I made the tomato sauce using a bottle of Ezi Sauce and following the recipe on the label. This is the tomato sauce that I grew up with and still like. Ezi Sauce can be purchased in the supermarket.

Brinjal or eggplant pickle is an Indian condiment, I serve it with curries, grain dishes and barbecued meat. My early experiences with this pickle were all of the commercial variety or from a trip to India some thirty years ago.  This is a recipe that I have played around with for many years in the hope of producing a rich, spicy pickle reminiscent of those that I had in India.

Brinjal (Eggplant) Pickle
2 kg eggplant
6 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons chilli powder
1 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon fenugreek powder
2 teaspoons fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 tablespoon cumin seed powder
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 cups brown vinegar
10 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons finely grated green ginger
10 green chillies, finely chopped
2 cups oil
A few curry leaves, if available
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon salt

Remove the stems and leaf part of the eggplants, cut eggplant into 1.5 cm dice , sprinkle with salt. Leave overnight or for a few hours.

When ready to make pickle rinse eggplants to remove the salt. Squeeze eggplants firmly to remove the moisture.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the spice paste mixture, garlic, green ginger, chilli and curry leaves. Stir for a minute or two until fragrant but do not allow to burn.

Add the eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally until the eggplant is starting to soften. Add the vinegar, sugar and salt and continue cooking on a low heat until eggplant is very soft and the mixture is thick. If mixture is evaporating before the eggplant is soft add a little more oil and vinegar.

When the eggplant is really soft and mushy and the mixture is thick, remove  from the heat and allow it to cool.

Spoon/ladle the pickle into sterilised jars. Seal

Tomato and Pear/Apple Relish
1.5 kg tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and coarsely chopped
1kg pears or apples,  peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
300g onions finely chopped
1 - 2 onions , cut in half, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon green ginger
3 red chillies, finely chopped
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
2 bay leaves
2 cups ml cider vinegar
2 cups brown or white sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon salt

Put the tomatoes, pears, chopped onions, garlic, ginger, chillies, mustard seeds, paprika in a large saucepan. 

Bring mixture to the boil and then reduce the heat. You may need to add a little water.

Simmer, stirring frequently for about 30 minutes or until the pears are soft. 

Add the vinegar, sugar and salt, bay leaves and thinly sliced onion. Simmer, stirring occasionally for 1 to 1 ½ hours or until most of the liquid has evaporated and the relish is thick. Remove bay leaves.

Remove the pan from the heat and allow relish to stand for a few minutes.

Spoon or ladle the relish into hot sterilized jars. Seal.

Indian Tomato Kasundi
2 tablespoons black mustard seeds
2 teaspoons fenugreek seeds
2 cups malt vinegar
250gm fresh ginger, roughly chopped
10 fresh large red or green chillies, stalks removed
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup vegetable oil
2.5kg fresh ripe tomatoes,
2 tablespoons ground turmeric
4 - 6 tablespoons ground cumin
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons salt

Soak the mustard and fenugreek seeds overnight in a little of the vinegar. 

Puree spices and vinegar in blender/food processor. Add ginger, chillis and garlic and blend until a paste.

Blanch tomatoes, peel and dice.

Heat the oil until smoking. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

Stir in; turmeric, cumin seeds and ground cumin Add garlic and ginger/mustard mix, tomatoes, halved chillies, remaining vinegar, sugar and salt.

Simmer for about an hour until pulp and oil starts to float on top.

Pour into sterilised bottles. Seal.

I use the Indian Kasundi as a dipping sauce with vegetable fritters, chicken sausages or meat balls. It also makes a good sauce base for a quick chicken dish.

Quick Chicken Dish made with Indian Kasundi
This recipe idea is suited to chicken or could be made vegetarian by substituting pumpkin cut into large dice for the chicken, and adding 1 a small can of chickpeas and a generous handful of cashews.


Cut up chicken into small pieces. I use chicken thigh fillets and cut each into 6 pieces.

Brown chicken and then add 1 onion sliced into slivers or coarse dice and allow to brown a little more.

 Add 1 -2 cloves crushed garlic, 4-6 tablespoons Kasundi.

Add 1 can coconut milk. Simmer 15 minutes until chicken is cooked. Scatter with chopped coriander if you have some. Serve with rice and steamed greens or salad.

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