The winter of 5th grade, I was living in Coronado, California, a burg just south of San Diego that is 1/2 naval base. Having lived most of my life up to that point in rural Missouri and Idaho, the multiethnic, multilingual, cosmopolitan feel of Coronado was very new to me.
I was also on the cusp of puberty, and beginning to realize that the world did not totally revolve around me and my immediate needs and wants. If I paid attention, there was some really interesting stuff going on around me. And still being a kid, I could often observe the world quietly without anyone taking notice of me.
My mother had an old friend who had lived in the area forever. Sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas she decided to throw a dinner party. We spent the day at her house “helping” put the party together. What she served was turkey curry (no doubt made from left over turkey from thanksgiving).
I had never had curry before. I was a pretty picky eater and tended to stick to tried and true kid foods. (When I discovered that thousand island dressing was just mayo and ketchup mixed together with a bit of pickle relish I was thrilled, and often took over my mother’s friends’ kitchens to make some for myself, since no way was I going to eat a salad dressed with anything but thousand island, which no one ever had on hand. Thankfully for me at the time, everyone was still married to iceberg lettuce.) But the smell of the curry permeated the house all day and it smelled, well, really really good.
When dinner was finally served, there was rice and curry (no doubt made with a simple jar of “curry” spice from the store) and lots and lots of condiments. Chopped hard-boiled egg, peanuts, raisins, shredded coconut, and of course, Major Grey’s Chutney. I piled it on. I ate it all. I felt decidedly worldly and grown up.
I also completely dominated the evening of a nice woman who took an interest in me and asked me about myself. No one ever asked me about myself. At least not more than “what is your favorite subject in school”. To this day, I am grateful to her for taking a genuine interest (and still kind of embarrassed at my magpie-like behavior – blame it on budding hormones – or the realization that sometimes it was fun to actually participate rather than just observe).
To this day, I still love all things curry, including the smell. Over the years, it has become harder and harder to find Major Grey’s chutney (which is just a mango chutney made with lime and tamarind). One day, in a fit of desperation, I did an internet search. I’ve been making my own and using this recipe ever since (no tamarind, but close enough). I make a batch every year when I see a good price on mangos.
Adapted from Mango Chutney in Hot & Spicy Foods by Louise Steele
Makes about 28 oz (or 3 1/2 8oz jars – put the 1/2 jar in the fridge rather than canning it). Can easily be doubled.
- 3 barely ripe mangos (I use two large – which when peeled, chopped and removed from the pit equal about 1 1/2 lbs of fruit)
- One 3/4″ piece ginger root, grated (the sciencey part of me always hate this type of direction since ginger root is not “standardized” size wise, but I love ginger, so no chance of having too much. If you cover your ginger grater with plastic wrap before starting, removing the grated ginger is a snap – thanks Alton!)
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1/8 cup onion, finely chopped
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (less if you don’t like spicy)
- 1/4 tsp fresh toasted ground cumim
- 1/2 tsp fenugreek
- 1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar (recently read a label and saw apple cider “flavored” vinegar – which was just white vinegar with flavoring. Look for vinegar made from actual apple cider)
- 1/2 cup golden raisins (regular would be fine too – the golden is more of a visual thing)
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 1/4 cup light brown sugar
Peel and slice mangos into small dice. (You can peel mangos with a vegetable peeler pretty easily, then slice the mango meat off the pit – be careful, they are slippery buggers). Heat mangos, onion, ginger, garlic, salt, cayenne, cumin and fenugreek in thick bottomed pot over medium heat. Cook gently until heated through while stirring, about 2 minutes.
Stir in vinegar, raisins, lime juice and sugar. Heat slowly to dissolve
sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, 35 – 40 minutes or until liquid thickens and becomes syrupy and mangos look translucent, stirring frequently.
Pour into heated and sterilized 8 oz jars, filling to 1/4 inch head space. Process in water bath canner for 10 minutes, or longer, adjusted for your altitude.
Note: while this recipe did not come from a “tested recipe” site, it did come from a book that directed how it should be canned. It is also close enough to a tested recipe for mango chutney, in terms of fruit/onion to vinegar ratio, that I feel comfortable saying it is safe. However, can at your own risk. If you are worried about it, just refrigerate and use within a month.
New to canning? Please check out this site before you start.
Miles Away Farm Blog © 2010, where we’re miles away from India or Thailand, but still make a mean curry.