Saturday, March 15, 2014

Is This Chutney? I think so!

I have a belimbing buluh tree in the backyard, and if you follow my Instagram handle eycdong, you would notice that it has been fruiting like mad. The last few times it fruited, I toyed around with a few recipes. I made an achar here, and blended the sour fruits to make belimbing cooler a few times. I still had a ton of mustard and fenugreek seeds left over from the achar; I decided to try making something different this time. This is an irumban puli pickle, which turned out very chutney-like. The flavour is intense, much like the potent chutneys you get with Indian banana leaf rice. It also bears a resemblance to kimchi.

This recipe was much easier than the previous achar recipe, and I made two batches over two weekends. The first batch, made last week, was the test batch, and this one I show here has been improved upon, with a few adjustments to the ingredients. Even if I say so myself, it's pretty perfect.

When you're making this, you can adjust the ingredients to your liking. I added more mustard and fenugreek seeds to this recipe, and sliced the ginger smaller as the bigger slices from the first batch tasted delicious but was harder to eat because of the intense flavour. So this time, it was done julienne instead of slices.

I also salted the belimbings for about 5 days before making, whereas in the first batch, I used fresh ones plucked from the trees. You'll see the difference between the salted and fresh fruits in the pictures below. The salted fruits made the chutney wetter, and the sourness milder, which blends well with the flavours of the seeds and chilli powder.

What you need:
1/2 to 1kg belimbing buluh (chop into pieces and add salt a few days before making. Keep covered it in the fridge and turn once a day)
5 tablespoons sesame oil
Dash of apple cider vinegar
3 sprigs curry leaves
3 cloves garlic
1 large piece of ginger, similar in weight to the garlic
2 teaspoons fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
250g chilli powder (or more to taste if you like it spicy)

(Ground into powder - for sprinkling at the end)
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
The ingredients and fresh fruit.

 On the left, fruit that has been salted for 5 days. On the right, fresh ones.

You can use either fresh or salted belimbing.

Ginger, in slices above. But I julienned it for this batch.

Three cloves of garlic. I might add more next time as the flavour is amazing.

Hot to make it:
1. Toast 1 teaspoon each of fenugreek and mustard seeds in the pan, and grind it into powder. Set aside.

2. Gather all ingredients. Heat the oil and add the whole seeds (2 teaspoons fenugreek seeds and 1 teaspoon mustard seeds.)
 3. When fragrant, add garlic, ginger and curry leaves. Stir fry for a few minutes, until you can smell the garlic and ginger. Add chilli powder and fold to mix.

 4. Add fruit (along with the salted water, if using salted fruit) and fold to mix. Fry for a few minutes. Add vinegar. The ingredients should have a paste-like consistency. If too dry, add a little more apple cider vinegar.
 5. Bottle the mix immediately and let it cool in the jars before keeping them in the fridge.
Note: To sterilise jars, put them without lids, in the oven at about 80 degrees centigrade, for 20 minutes. Remove using an oven mitt. Pour hot water over the lids and let them air dry. 

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