This is my first chutney of the year. I managed to divest my laden larder with a good majority of pickles, jams and chutneys over the festive period but now it’s about the time where I start to build up my stores again.
If I am honest I made this chutney a few weeks ago when the calls of our local Fruit and Veg man hollering outside Finsbury Park asking us to ‘Taste the mango’ got the better of me. I did want to taste the mango. Then it reminded me how long it’s been since I had a good cheese and mango chutney sandwich. Since I didn’t have any mangos in, I put the abundance of mangoes on the stall to good use and stirred up a very quick and fragrant chutney that afternoon. I followed Diana Henry’s advice on mango chutney but did not carry through the hotness of her recipe, instead toning it down as I wanted to create something more subtle.
Cheese loves a good mellow chutney or jam; please see my earlier obsession with cheese and peach jam. Mango chutney is a perfect partner and I particularly like a softly spiced version so that the delicate mango flavour isn’t powered out, bedding down nicely a good crumbly cheese.
This classic sandwich combination always reminds me of my mother who at the mere mention of mango chutney will without fail wax lyrical about a good mango chutney and cheese sandwich. And with good reason, a generous dollop of sticky chutney oozing out a toasted sandwich filled with gooey English cheddar is truly a magnificent lunch and reminds me a lot of my childhood.
I don’t eat as many sandwiches as I used to but this doesn’t mean my chutney consumption has calmed down. My current favourite use is to add a delicate amount to a salad of nutty emmental, cucumber and iceberg lettuce. All you need then is a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper to finish it off. The mango chutney adds a lovely balance of sweet and sourness to this simple salad.
And of course, it would be remiss not to discuss how a lovely tablespoon of this chutney added to a homemade curry can provide its own dimension to the recipe, adding a mellowed sweetness to counteract your spicing.
Adapted from Diana Henry’s Very Hot Mango Chutney in ‘Salt Sugar Smoke’
¼ tsp cloves
8 cardamom pods, deshelled
1.5 tsp coriander seeds
4 black peppercorns
1 tsp black mustard seeds
500g onions, diced
500g granulated sugar
600ml cider vinegar
3 green chillies, deseeded
30g fresh ginger, diced finely
zest and juice of 2 limes
- Peel the mangos and cut the flesh of the fruit from around the middle stone. Chop the fruit into cubes, there might not be much uniformity from the flesh cut close from the stone. Set aside.
- In a large preserving pan toast the cloves, cardamom seeds, coriander seeds, black peppercorns and mustard seeds over a low heat for a minute or so to release their fragrance.
- Add the diced onions, sugar, vinegar and chillies to the pan, bring to a gentle simmer and cook through for about 10 mins.
- Add the mango, nutmeg, ginger and lime zest. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 20 mins until the mixture is jam like.
- Stir through the lime juice for the last couple of minutes of cooking, then decant into sterilised jars.
- The chutney is best left for at least 4 weeks for the flavour to mature.