I adore dips, chutneys, relishes and similar accompaniments with all cuisines, so when I first tried the carrot chutney at the wonderful Benares restaurant years ago, I knew I had to try to make it at home.
This is another of those recipes in my file of hastily scribbled ideas arising from delicious treats I have eaten in restaurants.
One of the first things I do when I get home after a great meal out is to jot-down my memories of the dishes in the hope of eventually recreating them at home.
This perky little chutney has all those wonderful flavour experiences going on: it’s slightly sweet, it has sharpness, there’s gentle warmth from the spices and there’s a light chilli kick.
I often grate the carrots as I love the texture those little strands of spiced carrot bring to the finished chutney. However, you can blitz the carrots in a food processor into small pieces if you prefer. Either way, the carrots will not go mushy and will retain some texture.
The joys of adapting
I sometimes add other ingredients to the pan at the start, depending on the mood I am in at the time. Favourites include:
- a tablespoon or two of popped black mustard seeds
- a few roughly torn fresh curry leaves
- a tablespoon or two of toasted desiccated coconut….
- the grated zest and the juice of a lime
Serve and enjoy!
Served straight from the fridge, this chutney is perfect with cheese, scooped onto poppadoms or on flatbreads. It’s also great stirred into a curry at the last minute.
I also love using this chutney for mini canapés: one of my favourites is spooned onto mini flatbreads with a little lime yoghurt and topped with spiced prawns:
My chutney recipe might not be truly authentic in terms of the chutney we ate in the restaurant, but we keep eating it whenever we open a new jar!
Recipe: spiced carrot chutney – makes 2-3 medium jars
- 500g carrots, trimmed, peeled and coarsely grated*
- 4 fat cloves of garlic, peeled
- 3” piece ginger, peeled
- 1 medium onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 red chilli, deseeded if preferred – or 1 teaspoon red chilli powder/flakes of choice
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 250ml white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
- 200g sugar (caster, granulated, brown….or a mixture)
*alternatively, pop chunks of carrot into the food processor and pulse with the other ingredients, trying to retain texture in the carrots. You then cook all of this in the pan.
(1) Put the garlic, ginger, onion and chilli into a food processor along with a splash of the vinegar: blitz to give a coarse paste.
(2) Empty the contents of the blender into a large pan, along with the remaining ingredients.
(3) Bring the mixture to a simmer over a medium heat, stirring from time to time to help dissolve the sugar.
(4) Pop on a lid and let it simmer over a low heat for about 10 minutes before removing the lid and simmering about 20 more minutes or until there is barely any liquid left: the carrots will still retain texture and will not have gone mushy.
(5) Place into sterilised jars and pat down gently to get more in and to reduce air bubbles in there. This chutney can be eaten immediately or it can be stored in a cool place for several months. Chill once opened: it is particularly fabulous served straight from the fridge!