I am going to start by saying this is not your typical english ‘bottled’ chutney. you’ll find no onions or garlic here. standard english chutney fare, they.
No, this is a chutney you might be served in a welcoming home on the banks of the kerala backwaters, share with your lover while lounging beneath a sri lankan coconut palm, or even enjoy tipped from a tiny stainless tin while making the rounds of your lunchtime thali. this, just before hitting the streets of delhi on way to your favorite chai walla.
In India there are many forms of chutney. some ‘fresh’ that must be consumed within a day or two of the making. and then there’s cooked. there are a myriad of cooked chutneys, the sweet fruity ones are often times similar in texture to a thick jam.
You’ll find no added vinegar here, and in fact might be inclined to slather this on your morning toast with a bit of chevre or cream cheese. i would be inclined to join you, but, please place a dollop or two next to your spicy shrimp and rice dish, or roll it up in a flat bread with some yogurt and curried vegetables. then you will truly know what i’m roaring about.
2 quarts gooseberries, rinsed first then topped and tailed
3/4 cup water
3 cups demerara sugar
2 whole dried chiles, ground (about 2 teaspoons, or to taste)
1 inch ginger, peeled
1/8 teaspoon cumin seeds, ground
1/8 teaspoon black mustard seeds, ground
1/8 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground
1/8 teaspoon nigella seeds, ground
1/8 teaspoon fenugreek seeds, ground
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pint or smaller canning jars
yield: approximately 2 & 1/2 pints
1. place 2 to 3 small saucers in the freezer to test for set later. prepare jars for hot water bath canning. no need to sterilize jars as chutney will be processed for 10 minutes.
2. place water, sugar and whole gooseberries in a non-reactive pot (stainless or enameled iron). heat on low until sugar melts completely and gooseberry begin to pop. turn up heat and bring to the boil.
3. add piece of ginger, ground spices and salt. continue boiling for 20 minutes, or until desired set is reached. discard ginger before filling jars.
to test set, turn off heat and place a teaspoonful on a frozen plate, return plate to freezer. after one minute, run tip of finger through chutney, if it wrinkles under your finger the desired set is reached. if a clean line is left behind, boil chutney for one more minute and repeat. you may need to do this a couple of times. remember, gooseberries have a lot of pectin and the set will thicken dramatically upon cooling.
4. hot water bath process the filled jars for 10 minutes.