Autumn is a beautiful season and fall recipes warm the cockles of my heart. The market is flooded with variety of apples and the Indian Gooseberry is in the season. I usually make Amla Jam / Apple Jam or a combination but it has been years since I did a proper spiced apple chutney. A perfect accompaniment with roasted chicken, lamb, tenderloin, ham slices, pork chops, pan seared lamb or salmon, or cheese slices especially Cheddar. You can eat it in sandwiches, quiches, vegetable tarts, parathas or anything that could do with a flavor lift. Add it to your overnight oats bowl, smoothie bowl or parfait if you desire.
Sip a glass of warm mulled wine with a cheese and meat platter served with this lip smacking chutney and you are set for the holiday season.
I have a large quantity of Organically grown, chemical free super sweet and crisp Kinnaur red delicious apples from Farmer Uncle and some sour sweet golden apples lying at home.
Apart from snacking on these daily I am slowly doing some dishes with them.
This chutney is one of my favorite and tested recipes. It is hot, sweet, tangy and stays for at least a fortnight on the table.
Apples have a good amount of pectin in them so the chutney gets a great texture. I have not peeled the fruit but you can.
Two things that make this chutney flavorful without masking the flavor of the fruit are Indian gooseberry/Amla and caramelized red onions. You can omit them if you wish and the chutney will still taste awesome. If you use vinegar or apple cider then omit the lemon juice. You will have to adjust the spice threshold, sugar etc as per your taste. I prefer the natural sweetness of the fruits so add less sugar.
Spiked with the warmth of fresh ginger and the heat of red chilli this chutney is a complete winner.
Here is what you need to make it.
Apples (Use the ones available in your city), cored and peeled – 1 kg
Indian Gooseberry / Amla, chopped fine – 4 Large
Dates, pitted and chopped – 1/4 cup
Dried figs, chopped fine – 1/4 cup
Sultanas / Raisins – 150 gm
Fresh ginger root, peeled and grated – 3-4 tbsp
Lemon Juice – 3-4 tbsp (adjust as per taste if apples are not sour)
Shakkar/ powdered jaggery / granular sugar / soft brown sugar – 150 gm
Garlic cloves, chopped – 4
Onions, thinly sliced – 300 gm
Black peppercorns – 10-15
All spice mix – 1/2 tsp
Bay leaf – 1
Homemade garam masala powder – 1/4 tsp
Salt – As per taste
Fresh Red chilli pepper / Red jalapeno, chopped fine – 2-3
Red chili powder / cayenne pepper / chili flakes – as per taste
Lightly roasted and ground fennel and cumin seeds – 1 tsp each
Oil – 1 tbsp
Cut, core and chop apples in small cubes. Peel them if you desire. Add the lemon juice to the chopped apples so that they retain their whiteness. Add sugar to them and mix well. Let them rest till you caramelize the onions, so that the juices are released.
Coarsely pound cloves and black peppercorns.
To caramelize Onions : Heat oil in a thick bottom large sauce pan and thinly sliced onions. Fry them on slow medium heat so that they get evenly caramelized. I add a little salt to hasten the process. Once crisp and browned remove them to a plate and when they cool a bit crush them with fingers. (Will add pic later. Forgot to take)
In the same pan add the coarsely ground roasted cumin fennel powder and let it sizzle.
Add crushed onion, garlic, ginger, finely chopped red chili, bay leaf, dried figs, apple sugar mixture, amla, sultanas, dates, raisins, ground clove+black peppercorn and let it all cook on steady simmer on medium high heat. (Add vinegar or apple cider if using at this point.)
Keep stirring so that it doesn’t catch or burn on the bottom of the pan. Once the apples soften and resemble a puree, add the salt, red chili flakes, chili powder, all spice mix, garam masala and mix well so that the spices coat the fruit properly.
Let it simmer on low heat til it reaches a jam consistency. Keep stirring in between and you will notice the change in texture and consistency. It will become syrupy and the apples too will become caramelized.
Once the chutney has thickened draw the wooden spoon across the chutney and if no liquid fills the gap then it is ready. Otherwise cook for some more time.
Turn off the gas and let it rest for 10 minutes in the pan.
Spoon the warm chutney in sterilized or clean glass jars and seal and store.
Once open, use within a fortnight and keep in the fridge. Though I usually don’t refrigerate.
Enjoy this perfectly savory and chunky side to your meals.
Note : You can keep this chutney a little syrupy too. Makes it easy to spread. I have kept it dry for a purpose. Add 1/2 Cup – Fresh Apple along with chopped apples if you like a wet chutney.