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Want to Make Chutney? Green: Apple, Chilé and Plantain Chutney! Yum!

This is a welcome post to create.  One of my loves in life is to forage wild foods. Another is being an amateur photographer.  Crochet artist. Blog creator. Sewn books and paper art. Budding musician, happy painter, songwriter. Enthusiastic cook. Food preparer. A nutrition buff. Cookbook reader and recipe enthusiast.

Will I ever get out of the budding stage?
I don’t know but it sure is fun.

I’m going to take a break from all the research on wild foods and identification and authentication by sources and check…cross check methods involved in presenting a post about foraging wild foods.
Although it is pure joy for me.
Three planets in Virgo if that makes any sense!

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This post is about my own recipe.
How to make Chutney! I will show you how!

I delved into the discovery and process of making chutney rather quickly but I did remember to take some photos!

My partner really loves chutney.  And, since we share most, if not all meals together 2 to 3 times a day, every day in our semi-trailer workin’ life…
IT SURE IS NICE TO SPICE IT UP A BIT! LOL

We were happy to find some plantain (the banana type) at the grocery store in Abilene, Texas.  We bought a ripe plantain (yellow with black spots and streaks) and a green one.  Similar to a banana…bigger around and usually longer.

See my post about plantain dough empanadas! Yum

While at the store we also found a fresh green chile along with other welcome grocery goods!

I guess I really was in the mood to spice things up and I often look up Indian (eastern) foods and recipes for fun and inspiration!

Here is a little information about chutney and its history of use that you might enjoy taking a look at!
It is informative and fun. For example, It has a page for food poems, tips for cooking and recipes. It even has a food crossword puzzle site.

http://www.foodreference.com/html/artchutney.html

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Back to Makin the Chutney!

After reviewing several recipes for ingredients…I found one using ingredients and a recipe I thought I could manage…it helps to keep it manageable when cooking in a small space. 

And, as it turned out… we found some happy, firm green apples at the truckstop!

So, after surfing the web, and seeing both green plantain and green apples used in chutneys too…
My inspiration set in!

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Photo of green apples from hdwallpapers9.com

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Plantain photo from specialtyproduce.com

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Green chilé photo from 123rf.com

Here are the basic guidelines I read about for making chutney.

-Look for firm green fruit, i.e.  green mango
(next time for sure!,) green plantain, green apples, even green bananas… green tomatoes, probably endless options!
(A good use of green fruit).
And, other fruits would surely work. 
-Look for firm texture since it will be cooked for 40 minutes or longer!

-*Perhaps some ripe fruit that can hold its texture such as green apples.
-Softer fruit such as berries won’t stand up texturally but if you want to add these…they would add to the syrup that is created with sugar, vinegar, and water which is reduced when cooking.

I think you will have fun because so many fruits or vegetables can be made into a chutney! I was happy to discover that!
-Other ingredients I found were cherries, coconut, sweet potatoes, raisins, regular potatoes and tomatoes…

I bet you have something to work with in your food bin, fridge or pantry right now…or from your garden or farmer’s market! Perhaps a foraged food. Now I’m thinking jerusalem artichokes, nopales…as ingredients… hmmm….

I’m feeling chutney enthusiasm right now!

What to do…

Use non-reactive cookwear and utensils.
Check out this helpful site!

http://www.thekitchn.com/food-science-explaining-reacti-73723

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Kudos to the following site from mobile.eatingwell.com

It’s recipe included 1 Cup each of vinegar, water and sugar which I used in my own unique recipe. I did not follow this recipe per sé…but it gave me the green light of confidence I needed to try it on my own.
*I also noticed it has some great fruit preparation and storage tips.

So, I used the amounts for sugar, vinegar and water as recommended and improvised with happy results for the rest!

http://mobile.eatingwell.com/recipes/fresh_fruit_chutney.html

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Here is my recipe:
Green: Apple, Plantain, Chilé Chutney.

What you need:

-Non-reactive pot i.e. stainless steel. Not aluminum and not cast iron.
-Wooden spoon or Plastic cooking spoon
-non reactive storage jar or bowl, glass, pyrex, plastic, etc.

Ingredients:

2 medium size green apples with peel on

1 medium size green plantain

1/2 red onion…if I had green onions that would have gone with the green theme 🙂

1 medium size Raw/Fresh green chilé seeded
* green chilé tip: Perhaps cook a small piece to test for heat and spiciness as there can be variations. Mine had a mild heat to it.

2-3 pinches Ground black pepper

2-3 pinches Ground turmeric powder

2-3 pinches Ground cinnamon

A couple shakes of Sea salt

Handful roasted cashews chopped.
Save some to mix into chutney when done.

1 Cup Coconut Sugar
(I use Madhava organic coconut sugar)

1 Cup spring water/filtered water

1 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar.  (I use Bragg’s Raw Apple Cider Vinegar…especially since I had it on hand.  White vinegar is often in the recipe.  Perhaps other vinegars would work too…)

Directions:

Check out Option A or B
See step 2 or 3

Step 1.  Chop all the fruit and vegetables into roughly half inch chunks.

Step 2.  Option A: You can simmer onions and pepper first in the pan with oil or butter.
I recommend coconut oil for the oil.
After browning the onion and pepper add additional veggies, fruit and cashews. (Remember to save some cashews to mix in when the chutney is done.)
Add the water.
Turn heat on stovetop to medium.
Continue with Step 4 onward 🙂

(The idea of caramelizing the onion…browning until the natural sugars come out might be a nice touch.

*Personally, at the time, I wanted all the fruit and veggies cooking the same amount of time to preserve more of the texture. Plus I wanted to keep the process simple.)

Step 3. Option B: Or, if you want…do as I did and put all the veggies, including raw chopped onion and green chilé, fruit and cashews in the pan.
(Save some of the cashews to stir in later when the chutney is done)
Add the water and Turn on the stovetop heat to medium.

Step 4. Right after adding water, Add the vinegar, stir

Step 5. Then add the sugar, stir and stir often.

Step 6. Add your salt, pepper, turmeric and cinnamon
Stir to integrate the spices.

Step 7. Keep stirring regularly. Keep an eye on heat and turn down in intervals if the chutney starts to even think about sticking to the pan. To begin, Cook up to a soft boil then reduce heat and cook down gently. I turned the heat up slightly one or two times and then lessened the heat. Stirring often will avoid letting it to stick or burn.

Step 8. The liquid will start to reduce and will get more syrupy and thick.
You don’t want to remove all the liquid until it’s dry. You want your fruit and veggies to be coated in a sauce like liquid. Thick but not pasty in my opinion.

Step 9. I read a tip on a chutney site. You will know when the chutney is done when you stir it with your spoon and the liquid stops filling up the space from where you moved the chutney to one side with the spoon. Voila! This worked great for me!

Here is where I got that gem of info!

http://www.thekitchn.com/small-batch-recipe-an-adaptable-chutney-urban-preserving-with-marisa-mcclellan-173002

Step 10. Cook for 40 minutes maybe longer if you want any of your fruit/veggies softer. You may need to add a few tablespoons water to keep mixture from burning or sticking to the pan. Add 1 tbsp of water at a time if needed.

Some recipes require an hour.

…I was happy with the 40 minute cooking time. The plantains had more of a firm texture than the apples but I liked this.

Step 11. Now, add the amount of chopped cashews that were set aside into the cooked chutney. This will add something nice to the bite and flavor of the chutney!

…The apple chunks added sweetness and I liked how the green chile and black pepper added heat. The cinnamon added a sweet spicy element and included the Asian spice I was looking for.

…Be creative here if you want. I’ve read recipes that use cloves, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, cardamom, etc. Raisins are also popular.

…This recipe filled 2 pint sized mason jars. I was very happy with this amount.

…Right after I made it, I served it with tofu, mushrooms and nopales.
Some leftovers from the morning that I wanted to liven up.

Here is my homepage on preparing and wild harvesting your own nopales. (Prickly pear cactus.)

In many parts of the south, southwest and California nopales are already available in groceries, de-spined and ready to eat. Also many Mexican grocery stores sell them throughout the U.S.

Chutney goes really well with many foods such as: cheese and crackers, ham, turkey, tofu, as a dollop to lentil soup, a unique addition to a vinaigrette and other options. Try something new. Maybe as a filling for a pastry. An empanada perhaps? A ravioli filled with chutney. This is getting fun just thinking about it!

Check out the second half of the following post. It has lots of great tips on using chutney. I feel inspired!

http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/harvest/msg0417231231301.html

And most of all…

Have fun with your Chutney adventure! Mine was a fun one and I wish the same and more for you!

Here’s some photos I did manage to take!

The Chutney Cooking up to a soft boil:
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And, the next picture is the chutney when it was done.

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Photos were taken at night in the truck…I will add more photos from my next chutney making experience!

And here is the chutney added to a tofu and veggie dish. Yum! The mild taste of tofu really complimented the tangy, spicy chutney!

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I really enjoyed this chutney. It wasn’t overly hot (spicy) though had some heat. I liked the coconut sugar in it too.

For the last two tablespoons of the chutney…we decided to make a tahini sauce to go with it!

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“Quick and Yummy Tahini Dressing!”

Ingredients:

2 Heaping Tbsp Tahini
4 Tbsp hot water
Juice of one lime or lemon
4 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
2 pinches Turmeric powder
1 Tbsp grated ginger
1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste

Whisk it all together!
It goes great as a sauce for a veggies dish with a dollop of chutney!

Ironically we had a tofu and garlic dish. We don’t even eat tofu sometimes for months so this is funny. We must be in a tofu phase.
We topped the stirfried tofu with steamed red cabbage.
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And the tahini sauce went on top with the very last of this yummy chutney!

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Mmmm now I am hooked on the tahini sauce with the Green: Apple, Plantain and Chilé Chutney!
And easy is always a good thing.
🙂

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Here are some more tips on preparing chutney, what
fruit to use, etc.

http://homecooking.about.com/od/howtocookwithcondiments/a/chutney_2.htm

Thankyou for taking this Chutney Making Adventure with Me!
And please, if you’d like, feel welcome to share favorite chutney ingredients or tips for making chutney that you think people would enjoy!

What’s next you may ask? Mmmm check this out.
Mango Chutney is definitely on my next list!

http://m.foodnetwork.com/recipes/19594

Happy Fooding!

First I had a beer, then I made Plantain Dough

I guess I must have been seeing a lot of plantain…the banana type plantain…in grocery stores in Texas.

Just a few weeks ago when I was on the look out for Palo Verde trees…ripe with their peapods…

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Terri and I got an opportunity to harvest these Palo Verde peapods just a few days after I embarked upon a new dough frontier for me.

Plantain Dough which I made for empanadas.

So there I was in the South Texas grocery store looking for fruit and vegetables and the ever beckoning plantain pulled me toward it. 
Remembering my year spent in Somerville, Massachusetts in the Winter Hill area the local grocery had plantains there.  I also visited Cuba that year and felt especially inspired to try the Plantain in my own modest studio apartment kitchen.  The result was that I really did like the fried discs and found them starchy, sweet and satisfying.  (Someday I want to try Tostones…fried discs then flattened and fried again.)

So here goes…I got the plantain and it wasn’t green…this time but yellow with black stripes and spots along with the yellow which reminds me of the ripeness of a banana.

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But with characteristic black markings.
Immediately I surf the web and find a lot out about the plantain.  Many parts of the world use the plantain similar to a potato…mashed, fried…etc.  It is one of the main sustaining staples in many parts of the world and here I wanted to make a go of it myself! 

Oh yeah, in Laredo we found a specialty beer shop right next to our motel!  Needless to say…Terri and I were thrilled!

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Yummy a toast to you and then I embarked on my plantain expedition.

I had read a surprising amount of posts about plantain dough empanadas!  How exciting.  Although traveling for the last 2 1/2 years with a 7 month stint in Asheville, NC…I had been living in New Mexico for 10 of the last 13 years. 

Empanadas definitely rang a bell.  Various Santa Fe restaurants sprang to mind and I do remember sampling some fried dough empanadas.  Plantain?  I don’t recall that but I definitely remember ordering savory fried empanadas before.

To get started I followed wisdom and advice of other plantain dough enthusiasts and although I concocted my own recipe…certain preparations remain consistent.

First:  use a paring knife cut the peel from end to end.  (The peels do not pull apart as easily as bananas do…even when the plantain is ripe.)

Second:  cut plantain into discs about 1/4 inch in size.
Then boil in salted water until tender…test with a fork it should slide right through when done.
Let cool off completely.

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Third:  after plantains are cool mash them

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And add a ripe banana.  (I suppose one could try boiling a green banana…perhaps throwing into pot partway through the boil of the plantains…but that thought just occurred to me and would make dough less sweet…)

Back to the Third step:
Add a ripe banana to cooled mashed plantains and mash it all together.  Add a pinch of salt.  Mix/mash it all together.

Fourth step:  perhaps this recipe could easily be paleo:  I haven’t tried it but maybe coconut flour or nopales flour could be added, etc .but I added Organic Corn Flour from Bob’s Red Mill. 
Work the flour in a couple of tablespoons in at a time.  The moisture from plantain and banana should be enough to work with as long as you don’t add too much.
Scoop some out if you add too much or if it’s borderline too dry try adding a bit of water.
Work the dough until it forms a slightly moist ball of dough but don’t overwork it.
Let it rest in a cool spot for 15 minutes.

Fifth step:

Separate dough into four segments.  I don’t have a rolling pin and could improvise but chose to roll segment into a ball shape in my hands.  Then I pressed it flat with palm of myy hand and pressed it out from the center with my fingers on a floured surface. 
It doesn’t need to be paper thin but moderately thin.

Sixth step:

Fill with your choice of filling.  This dough works well for a berry filled empanada.
I made a mixture of raspberries, blueberries almond butter a bit of coconut oil and cinnamon.  (What I had on hand)
I put a teaspoon of filling in middle of one side and folded the other half over it.  I crimped the edges with a fork which reminds me of what my mom likes to do…

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*then heat up a non stick skillet and cook on each side a minute or so until dough sets and becomes more firm and browns slightly.

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I know empanadas are often fried but I opted out of that and wanted less oil.

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Yum!  This recipe made 4 empanadas.

I hope you have fun on this plantain dough adventure!  I know I did!

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And here’s a toast to you for making it through! 🙂

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