Recipes With Fresh Corn – 1 – Grated Corncob Snack ( Bhutte ki Kees)


Even before the monsoon rains drench the city Delhi sees the street vendors selling fresh corn on cob. Mostly we all love to eat bhutta or corn on cob freshly roasted on coal fire and smeared lavishly with special masala and lemon juice. The whole process is like visual poetry. The aroma rising from the hot corn on cobs is irresistible. Roasted corncobs are one healthiest and cheapest street foods. I love fresh corn and often bring the tender ones home to make various dishes. Mom can’t eat corncob because of her teeth issues so we often boil them and dip them in delectable tamarind chutney or smear butter over it, sprinkle some salt and pepper or anything one wants including cayenne pepper and just dig in.

Bhutte ka kees or makyache kanasachi kees or corn upma or grated corn snack is one of the dishes that I usually make during rainy evenings. So today was a corny Tuesday and I had some lovely tender corn cobs laying in the kitchen. Yesterday I had boiled some of them so today I decided to make this very delicious and easy snack. Kees is a speciality of Indore city in Madhya Pradesh though it is a maharashtriyan preparation. Indore is a food paradise famous for its culinary range and I remember visiting a number of eating joints with my aunt during my stay there.

To choose tender corns one should look for bright green tightly wrapped husks, pull the husk a bit and press the kernel gently. If a little milk oozes out and the kernel is bright and plump then it is good to eat. Also the silk tassels should be light brown and sticky to touch. Black ones indicate old, stale corn. It would be hard and tasteless.

To make this wonderful healthy snack you need :

3-4 Fresh corn cobs ( you can use corn kernels and sweet corn also)

1-2 green chillies

1 teaspoon Mustard seeds

A pinch of Hing or asafoetida

3-4 Curry leaves

2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander leaves

One medium size onion (roughly chopped)

2 tablespoon Oil

One inch Fresh ginger (grated)

1/2 teaspoon Turmeric Powder

Salt to taste

1/4 teaspoon Red chili powder

Sugar – 1/2 teaspoon (optional)

One lemon for garnish

Freshly grated coconut  for garnish

1/4 cup Water

To make the kees/upma or snack 

First remove the husk and silks from the corncob and grate the kernels. You can use corn pealer and give the hernels one round in the mixer too. I simply grate them. If tender they will not need any churn in the mixer.

Roughly chop the onion and grate the ginger. Cut the green chillies in medium or small pieces.

In a non stick thick bottom pan heat the oil. Add mustard seeds and when they begin to splutter add heeng(asafoetida), curry leaves and green chilli pieces. Toss them and add chopped onions. Keep the flame medium. The mixture tends to stick to the pan but do not try to scratch it as it will spoil the taste and texture of the kees.

(Some people add milk to kees after adding the grated corn to the pan. If you wish you can add 1/2 cup of milk and let it cook till all moisture evaporates. I prefer to use water, just enough to keep it moist. The milk in corn kernels is what makes this dish savory. While using sweet corn kernels one may need some liquid to make the mixture soft)

Once the onions are translucent, add the coarse mixture of grated corn and grated ginger.

Stir it a few times and add salt, red chili powder to it. Stir again and cook covered for 5 minutes.

Open the lid and see if the kees ( mixture ) is very dry sprinkle some water over it. If it is too moist cook it uncovered for a while.

Once the corn mixture is cooked (takes about 10 mins) turn off the heat and keep it covered for a few minutes.

Serve immediately garnished with fresh coriander leaves, grated fresh coconut and lime.

A perfect snack for breakfast or a rainy evening.

Enjoy this healthy, delicious snack fresh and hot.

Ten On Tuesday -1 – Favorite Street Food Joints and Dhabas In Delhi


I came to know of Ten On Tuesday from Swaram‘s blog but I think the original idea came from Shilpa‘s blog. So it is kind of chain I guess. I am just doing it to fill the cracks between my ‘seriously writing’ and ‘thinking about seriously writing’ :D .The idea is to post ten things every Tuesday on one particular topic or even randomly. I am still cocooned nicely in the foodie love circle so the first post will be about some awesome places for street food and dhaba style food in Delhi. Some places that are in everyone’s budget.. well almost everyone. You can of course add more places to the list in the comment section. So here we go..

1. You think of street food and the first place that anyone will say is, Purani dilli (Old Delhi). The place is heaven for everyone who loves street food of any kind from chaat to kulfi, to rabdi faluda to chole bhature or parathas for that matter or the sumtuous kebabs and such mouth-watering delicacies. Not really a place for those who are on some sort of fancy diet or watching their calories. You need to be hopelessly devoted to food if Old Delhi is your choice to savor Delhi’s best authentic cuisine. The places I am fond of are Daulat ki chaat(kinari Bazaar). Oh, this is not the usual chaat you know. This is sweet malayi makkhan as it is known in UP. A delicate treat made of milk froth, khoya, boora cheeni and khurchan decorated wit hpistachos and silver vark dished out in a dona(leaf plate). Must have in my list. For the tangy chaat you can go to Heeralal chaat wala in chawadi bazaar or jugal kishor’s chaat or Ashok chaat bhandar natraj dahi bhalle wale, jang bahadur kachoriwala, BishanSwaroop chaat wala (fruit chaat and chole kulche), shyam sweets for bedmi poori, jang bahadur kachoriwala (chandini chawk).. I can go on forever. There are vendors who sell awesome chaat in sitaram bazaar, kinari baxzaar, farash khana that you can explore.

For foodies who love to venture out in the night, area near Jama Masjid (Urdu bazaar and side street of Matia Mehal comes to life with makeshift eateries selling, kebabs, fish, fried chicken, tikkas.biryani, qorma, jalebi, phirni and a lot more. Go discover yourself and tell me what all you loved. Beef, chicken, mutton, name it and you have it along with delicious sweets. Everyone knows parathewali gali, don’t we. The name says what you will savor there.

Sweet lovers can also go to chaina ram and annapurna sweet shop. Don’t miss Gyani’s di hatti for best rabdi faluda and dal halwa. There are so many great place that it will take me many posts to do justice to them so just head out to purani dilli and explore. :)

2 Paharganj is also full of fantastic eating joints that serve different kind of cuisine but we are here just talking of street food. Staram Diwanchand (chole bhature.. yum), Junta sweets, Geeta kulcha, Kashmir sweets( I think it serves veg food only), Banke bihari samosewala, soni sweets, lassiwala neat Imperial cenima (dont know if it still exists), pappu Delhi sandwich stall 9must try). Then there is German bakery, Sam’s café and many such hidden gems all dotting the paharganj market. There are nankhatai sellers and Afgan food joints too. .

3 Mandirwali Gali in Yusuf Sarai is for street food lovers who love samosas, kachoris and pakodas. The place has some very good eating joints. Tucked away in this busy market place is Dhan Singh’s kachori shop which sells delictable kachories, bread pakodas and jalebi, if you love kadhayiwala doodh then head to Atithi restaurant. There is also Balaji peethiwale, panditji naanwale. There are some other pakodewale and little food joints one can explore here.

4 Pakodas remind me of one of our favorite joint near Nauroji Nagar market. Khadani pakodewala, The shop offers a variety of veg-pakoras to choose from including Paneer, Potato, Spinach,onion, Lotus stem, Cauliflower, Eggplant, fat green chilli, and Bread Pakora served tangy green chutney. There is an awesome lassiwala next to it. Not to be missed. There are many good places for pakoda lovers and for non vegetarians the best choice is paramjeet’s fish pakodas (near motinagar metro station). There are some good pakoda shops in karol baug too.

5 Poori sabzi – bedmi kachori etc- Poori sabzi at Arihant Sweets Dariyaganj best for a nice hot breakfast of nagori poori, aaloo sabzi and halwa. Sohan lal’s eatery in mehrauli bazaar, shiv kachori near dilli gate, dariyaganj, Gopal snacks, kamla nagar, Jain Sa’ab’s bedmi kachori (neat golcha cinema- bahadur shah zafar marg T juction),

6 Nizamuddin basti street food – The area around the dargah sareef is a delight for food lovers especially during festive months of ramzan and Eid. At other times too one can get a vast variety of sumptuous food here. One such shop is near the dargah and is called Muradabad ki biryani (old shop), a must visit place. There is one famous shop for nahaari on Mirza galib road but I cant remember the name just now. Galib kebab corner, a place for the softest delicious kebabs. For sweets head to nasir for yummy kheer ( I have yet to taste it :p) or some other small shops that sell imarti, jalebi etc. The entire area near the dargah is dotted with small food stalls that sell anything from biriyani to kebabs, tikkas, qormas,and various mutton, chicken, beef dishes. One just has to explore and experiment with food here.

7. Around HT House- Pappu chaat bhandar- Okay, I know I am going a bit heavy on chaat business but then I love it and what is Delhi without various kinds of chaats. There are many places famous for chaat in delhi but I am talking about only those I have visited. Pappu chaat bhandar is right in front of HT House. My son introduced me to the awesome chaats he makes. (Kid1 works for HT City).  The guy sells best aloo chaat ever. I also like the fruit chaat he sells. Buy the simple salt and lemon seasoned one or the spicy tangy masala one. Both are a treat. Yes, the place sells Rimzim too. Added bonus. Behind HT  House you will find a lane full of food vendors. A small shop near the underpass on KG Road sells small samosas worth eating. Prabhu chaat bhandar ( next to UPSC building) is an old favorite.

8. Bhel puri – Bombay bhelpuri on janpath and Bombay Bhelpuri at south Extension -1 are my favorite but you get nice one at Maharashtra stall in Dilli haat too. The north campus is another world of street food that one needs to ocver in a separate post but I can not talk about bhel puri withour mentioning Mohal lal bhelpuri wala (outside Hindu College)

9. Here is a list of some good dhabas that I can vouch for – Pehlwan ka dhaba (Mehrauli), Rajender ka dhaba,Ajit Khalsa ka dhaba (Love this one opp Trivoli Garden, chattarpur), Ashok and Ashok (Sadar bazaar), Break Fast Point ( near east rohini metro station), kapashera and delh igurgaon border has some good dhabas you can explore. You can check out dhabas near Naraina Metro Station and Uttam Nagar flyover.

10. Some other places I can think of are kuldeep parathewala 9usuf sarai), Baba Nagpal Corner for chole bhature ( Lajpat Nagar), Munnilal samosewala ( Gole Market), Dilli haat for all kind of local cuiesin from different states (near INA Market), Keema parathas near Qutub institutional area(Laxman fast food), there used to be a famous parathewala at Moolchand but I am not sure if he is still around, He made awesome egg parathas. Matthew’s cafe in R.K.Puram for awesome masala dosa, dal wadas, parotta veg qorma , veg pulao, set dosa, and filter coffee.

I will add more names as i remember. :D  This is just a trailer. Delhi has hundreds of local joints tucked away in colonies. Please feel free to add more names so that we can have a good list here. One can always talk about Karol Bagh but what I am looking for are undisovered places.

Sweet And Tangy Tamarind And Dates Chuteny (Saunth) – Recipe


This is one of the most sought after chutneys in India especially in north India. Filled with the goodness of tamarind, jaggery, dates, raisins, dry  gingers etc this sweet and tangy dark chutney is often added to Dahi Vadas, Papdi Chat, gol guppa, bhel-poori, patties, aaloo tikiya, pakodas, boiled Corn on Cob and many other dishes which are an important part of Street food in india. Chaat is incomplete without this lovely sticky chutney and the minty green chutney.

A little gooey like a fruit preserve this can be stored for at least a year. Sounth as it is known in Uttar Pradesh, is spiced with dry ginger or soonth/sonth, hence the name. The sourness of tamarind is balanced by the sweetness of jaggery and the dry ginger adds the much-needed punch to the condiment.

The recipe is simple and easy to make.

Ingredients for the chutney:

Brown Tamarind – 250 Gms ( If using Tamarind paste use same amount)

Fresh Dates – 200 Gms (You can use Chuhara too (dry dates finely chopped ( optional) )

Dry Ginger – 1 Teaspoon

Jaggery – 100 Gms ( adjust according to taste)

Salt – 1/2 Teaspoon

Red Chilli Powder – 1/2 Teaspoon

Black pepper corns – 6-8 crushed fine

Black Salt – 2 pinches ( I don’t like it )

Roasted cumin powder – 1/2 teaspoon

Garam masala ( home-made) – 2 pinches ( optional)

Raisins – 10-12

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Method – 

Clean and remove extra fiber from the tamarind if not using the paste.  Dip it in 100 ml of hot water and leave for 1/2 an hour ( you can microwave it for 2-3 min also).

Once the tamarind has softened, rub it with hand to extract all the pulp.. You can put it through a plastic sieve to get the maximum pulp. Discard all the fiber and seeds. ( I also put the dates and tamarind straight into 1 and half cup of water along with black peppercorns and place the pot on high heat till it boils and then lower the heat till it is fully cooked. Then turn the heat off and sieve it all to get a thick concoction. Pressing and rubbing with hand or back of spoon helps to extract all the pulp.) Add a little more water to help in the process.

Now, Put the thick mix of dates and tamarind pulp extract in a pot and add half a cup of water ( if needed.) The consistency of the chutney depends on your choice. It shouldn’t be very runny neither should it be very thick (like jam) but some people like it thick to use as a spread.

Add raisins, chuhara ( optional), dry ginger powder, chilli powder, roasted cumin seed powder, black salt and common salt to the liquid and keep boiling it on low flame. Add broken jaggery to the mixture and stir till it dissolves completely.

You may notice some froth forming on the surface. gently remove it with the spoon.

Taste the mixture a bit to adjust whatever you think needs to be added more.

When the mixture reaches the required thickness, turn off the heat and let it cool down to room temperature.

Once cool spoon it in air tight jars. You can keep this yummy chutney at least for 5-6 months in the fridge but I make small amount that lasts for 2-4 weeks and then another fresh batch)

When refrigerated the chutney often thickens a bit so when you wish to use some, take the desired amount with a clean dry spoon and add a little water ( as needed) to it before using.

Serve with any snack you like or just lick it off the spoon like I do. :)

Today I used it for Masala corn on cob and the recipe will be up soon. What more can one ask for during rainy season than a good roasted masala laden lemon drenched corn on cob or boiled one dipped in this spicy tangy sweet liquid.

Enjoy!

Four Short Poems


She watched the red streak of the moon

trail over the lake and disappear, never to return,

leaving behind a looming shadow on the tainted waters.

Unrequited love is an orphan of silence, abandoned

to fend for itself, during the endless days

and never-ending nights.

******* xxxxx*******

Old photographs.

Faded with time.

A life in monochrome.

Another time. Another world.

Conversations tied in neat bundles.

Each word pulsating with life.

**********xxxxxxxx**********

In the quantum multiverse

we would be lovers,

but here, separated

by the universes,

we are nothing but

a very complex

solitaire mystery,

thrown together

with a sprinkling of star-dust.

 **********************xxxxxxx******************

An invitation

 the sun is a lie,

the moon, an illusion,

the earth, a landscape

 of destruction

let us hire a spaceship,

take a flight on a

suborbital airlines,

the sky calls to us,

let us emerge from

our inner shadows,

spread our darkness

over the dark of the

unknown, let us move

to Pluto, winterized in its

spring, cold, dark and quiet

but then didn’t we always

loved winter? we could rent

a cozy little love nest for cheap,

gaze at the neatly nested orbits

of its five moons, feel the music

of  spheres, coalesces our hearts,

let us fall in love in the most

all-consuming way,

love is a slave to existence

Earth is no place for lovers

(cocreated with a special friend)

***********xxxxxxxxxxxxx**********

Review – ‘Stranger than a Sun’ – Poems and Drawings of Dr Amitabh Mitra


Poems and Drawings of Amitabh Mitra
Published by The Poets Printery (South Africa)
Date of publication: February 2015
Pages: 59
Price: Rs.220/-

It was Dr. Amitabh Mitra’s paintings and drawings that drew me to his creative world. A medical doctor passionate about art, music and writing was something I found exciting. I have always believed that creativity expands our inner horizons and gives us a unique perspective on life. I could see it in Dr. Mitra’s art as well as his poetry in Stranger than a sun, a semi-autobiographical collection of prose poems and drawings. The book has an exquisite blend of nostalgia, romance, culture and art.

The charcoal drawings of the Gwalior fort add a hauntingly beautiful aura to the words on each page. You are at the same time in many place, drifting through different times, different ages. Every time you turn a page you are drawn into something which is familiar and yet strange. It makes you yearn for that which is now lost in the shadows, a moment from the past. A lucid dream where you hear the echo of a forbidden love,  the weathered stones whisper to you an unfinished story.

“What would you say … (poem4)

The arched stairs in the Haveli (charcoal on paper) take you into the intriguing labyrinth of its historical past and heritage where love, poetry, music still breath in each crevice, each corner. The poet  sets the imagination of the reader on fire.

For me, who has passed the fort many times during my travels, who has been to the lanes and bylanes of Old Delhi, the places instantly begin to pulsate with life. The landscape of Gwalior by the fort at one end and dotted with palaces, chatris and havelies from where the Marathas ruled and the narrow lanes of Old Delhi, the seat of Mughal empire, filled with aromas, colours, music and poetry, each place steeped in tradition and history of  its own.

There is a sense of disdain for age-old barriers  that flickers on some pages.  The poet talks about  falling in love under a rebellious sky.  The evening prayers from Jama Masjid reverberating in the air-filled with smell of spices, itr and cacophony of life as the lover secretly maneuvered the crowded lanes of old Delhi. The excitement of a forbidden love and the participation of a cashew vendor in making things work for the young lovers is a visual treat.

“I always waited, feeling the aroma of your itr and you came nearer… munching cashews we just looked at each other and only sometimes you would touch my ears as chacha jaan arranged to become busy …..way back home..” (19)

Throughout the book one tends to linger and savor the moment, taking in the longing, the pain of separation, longing and fluttering of hearts.

Nothing can describe loneliness better than the Ravines of Chambal. The feeling of ‘missingness’, the ache of a lost love runs through all the pages.

“You smell of summers, subtle and strange at many hours on many such days….) (51)

“loving can be so distant too… (45)

Most interesting aspect  of  Dr. Mitra’s writing here is his ability to bring together the past and present dissolving the  boundaries and the distance as the poems vacillate between India, Bhutan, Niger, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Each town, city, road finally joining with his hometown Gwalior without being jarring or out-of-place. The multicolored hues of cultural heritage, beliefs, seasons, the ecstasy of love and the anguish of loneliness that we see in his poems are intensely personal yet universal.

For me, the stillness in the monochrome of the charcoal drawings does not conflict with the vibrancy of the words next to them. It all came together beautifully.

The book brings to my mind medical professionals who are experimenting with healing with creative forms like music and art. One can see this streak of lateral thinking in Dr. Mitra’s work.

You can find glimpses of a humane approach to life as a doctor in the poems from Arunachal, Mdantsane and Niger where he sees his patients not just as clinical objects of study but in their entirety as human beings with all the frailty they have apart from physical discomfort.  A much-needed approach to holistic healing is evident here.

The poet is a seeker in the poems from Bhutan, looking for something elusive. A different shade of him that still has hues from his past and yet is different.

This is a book one would like to keep and browse through on and off.

On another note, the lack of good editing sometimes obstruct the flow of thought but it certainly doesn’t diminish the intensity of his work.

To sun it up  “It’s you and the fort rushing back, its last echoes remain in just another sun.”

Drawings from the book –  copyright Dr. Mitra.

I would rate the book 4*/5*

Pan Seared Chicken Breasts With Potato Mash And Apricot Chutney


Now this is what I call comfort food. I love all the three things and make many variations of them but this one is my favorite.Dinner tonight is a complete potpourri of exotic flavours. I usually add different herbs to the marinade or grill/ pan sear the chicken without yogurt too. One can get creative with it and have many versions of the same dish. Chicken is low-fat and high protein and a perfect dish for light dinners.

Sometimes I make extra marinade and love to use it as a thick sauce that wraps the succulent chicken breasts. These fillets can be served on their own or with any condiment like the spicy sweet and tangy Apricot Chutney I made yesterday. Click on name for the recipe. It tastes yummy with the chicken.

Make sure to pound the breasts to get it grilled nicely and evenly so they don’t dry out and stay tender.

To make pan grilled/seared chicken breasts you will need

Boneless juicy chicken breasts – 2 ( clean and pounded evenly 1/2 inch thickness)

Marinade 

You can either marinade the breasts in olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and lots of herbs, garlic and salt. Place it all in a ziplock bag and rub it properly so the flavours get infused as it rests for at least  2-4 hours. I sometimes keep it even longer. Use cilantro, oregano, parsley, rosemary or any other herb of your choice.

For the Spiced yogurt marinade you need:

1/2 cup plain yogurt

2 table-spoon Olive Oil ( I used extra virgin)

2 tablespoon lemon juice

Mix herbs ( powder or fresh or both)

Salt to taste

Freshly crushed black peppercorns – 6-7

Garlic pods – 5 crushed and roughly chopped

Red chilli flakes – 1/4 teaspoon or less

Lemon Zest – a little

Butter – 1 tablespoon

Prepare to grill/Sear  

Whisk together yogurt, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, crushed peppercorns and herbs. you can add a little powdered black pepper too. (I do)

Add the pounded chicken breasts and thoroughly coat them with the marinade,  Place the chicken with the marinade in ziplock bag or Tupperware box for a few hours. I keep it overnight in the fridge too or at least four hours.

You must make cuts in the chicken to let the marinade absorb into it.

When you are about to grill/sear, take the chicken out and let it come to room temperature if it was in the fridge.

Heat a skillet or a pan. Add olive oil and a dash of butter and coat the bottom. Once the oil is hot place the chicken breasts gently and pour the marinade over the fillets.

Cover for ten minutes on medium flame and then cook uncovered on high flame. Turn them over once nice crispy golden brown from one side. To check if the chicken is evenly cooked, make a cut in the thick part. If the knife smoothly cuts it then its done.

Keep stirring the marinade in the pan and tossing it over the chicken. If you are making with the sauce keep some marinade separately and once you take out the chicken in plate, Pour the remaining marinade in the pan and cook it till nice, thick and brown. Pour the rich pan sauce on the seared breasts when you serve. Keep the pan covered on very low heat for sometime to let the juices and flavours seep in. Dont keep lifting the lid to peek. :)

Turn off the heat and let the chicken breasts sit for another ten minutes in the pan before laying them on the serving plate.

Make the mashed potatoes along so the full meal is ready at the same time. You can steam some greens too. or perhaps some corncob. It goes very well with the chicken dish.

The best way to know if you are doing it right it to keep your sense awake. If it smells, looks, tastes good then you are doing it right. All the brown bits that stick to the pan give the flavour. We will use them while making mashed potato.

For the Potato Mash 

4 potatoes – medium size

Salt and crushed pepper corns ( to taste)

A few herbs maybe

I love garlic so a few pods of garlic skinned and crushed

Salted Butter – 1 table-spoon ( if using salted butter go easy on table salt. I use sea salt too)

Method:

Wash and boil the potatoes till tender. Peal and mash them properly so no lumps stay.

In the same pan in which we made chicken sprinkle a little olive oil and butter. ( there will be enough fat in it already and those gorgeous flavourful brown bits sticking to the pan)

Scrap the brown bits so they release the flavour in the oil , add the crushed garlic and stir till light golden brown. Keep the heat low.

Mix salt pepper to the mashed potatoes and toss the mix into the pan.Let it sizzle for a few seconds and turn over so all the brown chicken sauce etc sticking to the pan and clean it. Turn the heat off and remove the mashed potatoes a bowl.

If vegan , you can take a different pan and use just olive oil to brown the garlic and potatoes. or infuse the oil with roasted garlic and add to the mashed potatoes. Works well either ways.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

To assemble: 

Take a serving plate and place a good helping of mashed potatoes, arrange the seared chicken breasts to one side of it and place a generous portion of Apricot chutney on top of the hot chicken. If you wish you can add some greens, boiled corncob , toasted bread with cheese etc. Or just eat the chicken and potato mash with chutney.

Hope some of you will try this recipe and let me know your views.  The chicken and mash are delicious on its own too.

These mashed potatoes do not use any milk or cream and even butter can be replaced with just olive oil to make it pure vegan. I used the garlic infused fat that was left in the pan after making grilled chicken to slightly brown the mashed potatoes and give it a unique flavour.

Bon Appetit

Fresh Apricot, Dates and Raisin Chutney Recipe


I love apricots and the markets are flooded with these gorgeous fruit these days. Apart from making them a part of my daily fruit intake I love to make compote, preserve (click for my recipe of apricot preserve) , chutney etc from any seasonal fruit I can find in the market. Apricot chutney is delicious and a perfect condiment with cold meats, grilled meats, parathas, bread, cheese crackers, tacos etc. It sure is a great accompaniment for curries, roasts and in sandwiches.

You can even lick it off the spoon any time of the day for a tangy sweet experience. It is gluten-free, low in calorie and full of flavour plus nutrition. Packed with vitamins , fiber, this iron rich date, raisin, apricot chutney is one thing I always have in the fridge during summer. Ginger and other spices give it a burst of flavor. Overall it is a treat.

To make this lovely chutney you need

Fresh Apricots – 500 gms (washed, pitted and roughly chopped with skin)

Raisins – 1/2 cup

Dates – – 1/4 cup ( roughly chopped)

Red or White Onion – 1 Medium

Garlic – 2-3 pods ( crushed and chopped finely)

Ginger – 1/2 inch (made into juliennes) (can use glace candied ones too 1/4 cup)

Red chilli whole -1 Small

Peppercorns – 5-6 crushed or whole

White vinegar/ apple cider vinegar/ malt vinegar or lemon juice – 1/4 cup or juice of one lemon

Salt – 1/2 teaspoon

Garam Masala * – 1/4 teaspoon

Olive Oil – 2 tablespoon

Honey – 3 tablespoons

Sugar – 1/2 cup ( as required) ( brown or white. You can add palm jaggery or sugarcane jaggery too)

For the muslin spice infusion bag 

Bay leaf – 1

Peppercorns -8

Mace blade – 1

Cinnamon stick –  small piece

Cloves – 3-4

All spice – 1

All spices slightly roasted and tied in the infusion bag)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Directions – 

Wash, dry, pit and chop Apricots. Chop dates and keep aside.

Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan, add peppercorns and red chilli. (You can remove the red chilli before spooning it in jar)

Add chopped onion and stir till translucent. Add ginger and garlic. Stir for a minute. Keep this on low flame.

Add chopped apricots, dates and raisins. Stir.

Add the dry powder masalas and salt.

Add sugar and little water (about 1/4 cup)

Add the spice infusion bag.

Bring it to boil and let it cook till the fruit becomes soft.

Keep stirring till the mixture thickens to the desired consistency.

Add honey and vinegar or lime juice. Stir constantly on medium heat so the chutney doesn’t stick to the pan.

You can taste and adjust the sweetness etc as desired.

This chutney takes about an hour to cook. You can use slow cooker also.

Once the chutney reaches its desired consistency put out the heat and let it cool till it reaches room temperature.

Remove the spice infusion bag.

Spoon the yummy chutney in sterilized air tight mason jars and refrigerate. Use of lemon juice or vinegar helps in preservation.

One can keep it for a couple of days or a few weeks in the fridge.

Fruit selection – Always use sweet-smelling fruit. It will definitely taste good.

Tips – You can get creative with this chutney and ad/ remove dry fruits. Add sultanas instead of raisins, add apple shreds or orange rings. It is an artwork in which you get to use the imagination and bring out something delicious.

*Garam Masala – I make it at home with black whole cardamom, clove, peppercorn, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg etc. all roasted slightly and ground to a fine powder)  We use very little of it as there are already whole spices infused in the chutney.

Enjoy !