Mrs. Cheoff does love a generous dob of mango chutney - usually with a prawn curry or a lamb rogan josh. Her favourite, for years, was a proprietary brand (I'm shar you wood recognise it if I told you!) After borrowing from at least two other recipes, I have made my own version which offers more complex flavours... which made the lady I love even more than an afternoon in the kitchen say, "Don't bother buying that other one from the shops again!"
Fills 6 x 225g (8oz) jars
500 g, (1 lb 2 oz) onions, finely chopped
800 ml (32 fl oz) malt vinegar
4 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
8 mangoes weighing about 2.5 kg (6½ lb), peeled, stoned and sliced into wedges
700 g (1½ lb) soft light brown sugar
1 level teaspoon cumin seeds
2 heaped teaspoons coriander seeds
12 cardamom pods
2 tsp mustard seeds
6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed with 2 heaped teaspoons salt
1 level teaspoon ground turmeric
110 g (4 oz) fresh root ginger, peeled and grated - or 2 tsp ground ginger
1 level teaspoon ground cloves
grated zest and juice of two limes
1 Put the onions and chillies into a large pan with the vinegar and simmer until the onions are getting tender.
2 Dry fry the cumin, coriander and cardamom. Wait until they begin to pop and release toasty spice. Crush roughly in a pestle and mortar. Add to the onions in the pan with the mustard seeds, garlic and mango slices. Cook for about 15 minutes to soften the fruit.
3 Add the sugar, turmeric, ginger, cloves and lime zest. Bring slowly to the boil and dissolve the sugar with stirring. Lower the heat and cook, stirring enough to prevent sticking. All should become thicker and jam-like. The mango pieces will be doing a good imitation of fruity, translucent amber. Now stir in the lime juice and mix well. If you prefer to accent the earthy flavours of the spices, omit the lime juice. I take the best of both worlds and put it into half of the mix. One batch then has a lovely, zingy brightness for contrast.
4 While still hot, ladle the chutney into warm, sterilised jars, cover with wax discs and seal. Label when cool. This should keep for a year.
You really need to wait 8 weeks for the flavours to make friends. Then they are ready to grab you warmly by your taste buds and introduce themselves one by one. You will like every one of them immediately but will struggle to decide which to spend most time with. Just embrace them all - they’re a delectably inseparable combination!
I have set aside just a few of these as Christmas gifts. Here's the rub. Publicising such information could easily create expectations in a few friends. Disappointment could lead to me being struck off one or two Christmas card lists... this blogging business is a nightmare!
I'm cheering myself up with a rather pleasant thought. At some stage of the Christmas break I will fire up the barbecue outside and grill some mackerel. My mango chutney, with its curried fruit will provide the only accompaniment for a perfect lunch-time treat. There's a possibility that I'll be cooking in the cold... but it's definitely a very cool idea!