Easy-to-make chutney is the perfect lip-smacking standby to make any grilled foods taste extra special
I enjoy celebrating the start of the warm-weather grilling season by encouraging you to make a big impression when you cook outdoors. But let's face it: Sometimes, at the end of a busy workday or week, you want to relax and enjoy a great meal by simply tossing some burgers, steaks, chops, chicken, kabobs or fish on the grill.
That doesn't mean you can't make such basic fare seem extra special. All it takes is adding the right accompaniment, such as fruit chutney.
You're probably familiar with the term "chutney." It comes from the Hindi word chatni, literally meaning "to lick," and appropriately refers to the wide range of sweet and spicy relishes and other condiments that add so much lip-smacking variety and delight to Indian cooking.
If you order any meal in an Indian restaurant, it will probably be served with one or more chutneys -- from refreshing, pesto-like mixtures of pureed mint to fiery red chili pastes to tart-sweet tamarind sauces to mildly spiced fruity mixtures of mango and fresh ginger. Chutneys are irresistible for dipping Indian breads or appetizers, and they really come into play when spooned on the side of your plate to add variety to every bite of a spicy stew or tandoori-style grilled food.
You don't have to cook a curry, however, to enjoy the pleasures of a good chutney. During summer, when so much wonderful produce is available, I like to make batches of my own chutney rather than spooning a commercial version out of a jar.
The following recipe for spicy mixed fruit chutney recipe is incredibly versatile. For example, you can vary the mixtures of fruit (plus peppers and onion for a balance of sweet and savory) based on what you like best in the market. And while I've come up with what I think is a pleasing balance of seasonings for the chutney mixture, you can certainly adjust that once you've tried the recipe as it is written.
Most importantly, you can use the chutney itself in a great variety of ways. Spoon some on top of a chicken piece or fish fillet as a sort of chunky sauce; or use it to replace the mustard on your burger or hot dog; or scoop a little on the side of your plate, seasoning each bite as you like. The chutney is also delicious stirred into some plain yogurt to make a refreshing dressing for salads topped with grilled food.
This recipe makes a batch that will last up to three weeks in your refrigerator. But one taste may have you licking your lips so enthusiastically that you'll be making more much sooner than that!
SPICY MIXED FRUIT CHUTNEY
Makes about 4 cups (1 L)