I will make chutney from any fruits I can get my hands on. Fact.
Whether it’s ripe, unripe, something I love or something I’m not too keen on, turning it in to chutney is guaranteed to make it better.
There’s something about seasonal peaches bubbling away in their own syrupy goodness that makes me feel like somewhat of a domestic goddess. I’m filling the house with a beautiful, fruity aroma and there’s no aerosol or plug-in air freshener in sight. Magic.
Whenever I see an abundance of fruits at a great price, I know what I need to do. The first step is to select the perfect spice partners; I think of classic dishes which pair fruits and spices – Shrikhand, biryani and light and creamy curries. This time it was grilled peaches with cinnamon sugar. It just makes sense.
A touch of ground ginger and Kashmiri chilli adds warmth and the savoury notes iconic of Indian-style chutneys I grew up eating with flatbreads like rotli, naan and paratha.
Please don’t make your chutney so smooth that the fruit becomes unrecognisable. This defeats the object and makes the overall texture much less interesting. Instead, begin by chopping your fruit in a variety of different sizes – some small, some large and some in between.
After buying a sack full of peaches to experiment with this recipe, I think I’ve eaten my fill of peaches for the rest of the year. I felt a bit like Monkey, ‘great sage and equal of heaven’ that time he looted the heavenly peach garden in the infamous TV series. Monkey). Know of it? No? Okay, ignore me.
9 ripe peaches, unpeeled and cut into various sizes (see above)
290g white sugar
6 inches cinnamon, broken
2 dried Kashmiri chillies
2 tsp coriander seed powder
3 cardamom pods
1/8 tsp ground ginger
Red chilli powder to taste
1 tsp salt 3 tbsp brown sugar
1. Add the chopped peaches to a large pan on a low heat and add the white sugar. Do not add water.
2. Once the peaches start to cook, they will release their own juices. At this point, you can increase the heat.
3. Simmer the peaches on a medium heat for 25 minutes or until thickened.
4. To test if the chutney is done, place a plate in the freezer for 10 minutes, remove and put a tsp full of chutney on it. Allow to rest for 2 minutes and push the mixture back with your finger. If it wrinkles, it’s done.
5. Always add your spices at the end. This keeps them fresh and punchy. Add the remaining ingredients and stir through.
6. Dollop into sterilised jars. Cover the top of the chutney with a very thin film of groundnut oil and a piece of parchment paper and allow to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate.
Watch out for another sweet recipe using peaches later on this week. I’ve been pretending to be a pastry chef this weekend. That’s all I’m going to say.