Thursday, 28 September 2017

Sweet Pineapple Chutney Recipe


For Bengalis Chutney is always emotionally yours. Chutney not served or missed during the course of a grand meal, can result in a small heartbreak of the diner. Chutney is an integral part of a Bengali meal and without Chutney being served a Bengali feast remains incomplete. Whenever a meal for guests in a Bengali house is being planned Chutney, Papad, Mishti and Doi(Sweet Yogurt) are a must. Initially it was the tomato chutney which was omnipresent in all the platters and then came Mango, Dates, Mango Leather (Aam Shotto), Kamranga ( Star fruit), Chalta ( Elephant Apple), Pineapple etc. etc. until a brigade of Chutneys was formed and this kept on growing with each passing year. Ah!!! the taste of each of these relishes are still fresh on my taste buds even to this day.


In my tiny little way I have carried on this emotional journey with the Chutney and keep these relishes, dips integrated into my food menus. As I said before that my dinning table is a small treasure chest filled with numerous chutney's, dips, pickles all homemade from scratch. It's strange but true as I open the lid of my Chutney jars and dip in the spoon, along with the tongue tapping chutney I can feel the love of the grand dames of my family coming out and enveloping not only my senses but spreading a warmth of love in my heart and mind.


Today is Maha Astami. For me it is a very significant day. In many parts of India little girls are worshiped as a symbol of the Goddess. It makes me feel very happy as I have always believed and practiced gender equality. In many parts of the world gender disparity pains me and if there are some rituals from our ancient traditions which upholds a girl, a woman in any way, I am ecstatic.


Another very dear ritual, of Durga Puja is Shandhi Puja. For my non Bengali friends I would like to outline why this particular Ritual is the closest to my heart amongst all the rituals follwed in Durga Puja. Shandhi Puja happens within a span of 48 minutes. It is that time when there are 24 minutes left   for Ashtami ( eighth day ) to culminate that the Shandhi Puja begins. Shandhi Puja has to be completed within the the first 24 minutes of the beginning of Navami ( ninth day). This is the very specific time followed for Shandhi Puja as this is the time when Goddess Durga's Chamunda form is worshipped. It is believed at this very time Goddess Chamunda had killed the Demons Chanda Munda. Amidst the chanting of Mantras, aroma of flowers and incense, the festive smoke from the perfumed coconut husk burning inside the earthen pots called Dhunuchi, 108 earthen lamps are lit. 108 lotus flowers adorn the Goddess as we celebrate the triumph of Good over evil.


It's heartening that the legend of Shandhi Puja brings into light how a Goddess was chosen to rid the three worlds in Mythology, Earth, Heaven and Hell from the tyranny of the all powerful demon Mahishasur. As Goddess Durga fought a fierce battle with the demon who had the boon of eternal life which could only be altered if a lady would kill him, his aides Chanda and Munda slyly attacked the Goddess from Behind. She was so angry at the betrayal of rules that her third eye opened and from it Chamunda came out who slayed both Chanda and Munda. This is a fine example of the strength of a woman, who is all powerful from within but a figure of compassion, kindness, calm and grace from outside. In adverse situation when faced with wickedness and treachery she too will unleash her inner power and kill the demons responsible for tyranny and evil. Shandhi makes me feel very proud of being a woman. I too celebrate the qualities that I have inherent in me as all women walking on this planet do. Shandhi Puja is therefore a day of nurturing the powers in me and priding in the fact that I am no less than any being walking on this planet.

Thanks to my brother Amitava and my gorgeous sister-in-law Priyanka for sending me the pictures of the Goddess from different Pandals in Kolkata

After that ever powerful and fulfilling moment let me take you back to Chutney talk. I guess I have said enough of how I and many Bengalis are emotionally attached to Chutney. So it's a better idea to check out the ingredients of  Sweet Pineapple Chutney straightway. This is my paternal grandmother 's recipe. It is an oilfree Chutney. One of the simplest chutney recipes that you will come across. It's sweet and tart, with distinct citrus notes. The pineapple lends it's natural tang to this chutney, ginger gives the warmth and aroma and lemon slices cuts through the sweetness making the balance just perfect.
NOTE~ From the pictures you will notice that my chutney has almost a brown tinge instead of the bright yellow tinge of pineapple. There are two reasons for this. One I used raw sugar, which has a brown hue naturally. Two, I like my chutney more sweeter than normal so I increased the quantity of sugar more than mentioned in the ingredients list below. So the colour of your pineapple chutney will vary depending on these factors.


Sweet Pineapple Chutney Recipe ~

AUTHOR ~ PIYALI MUTHA
SERVES ~ 4
CUISINE ~ BENGALI, INDIAN
TYPE ~ DIP, CHUTNEY, RELISH
TIME ~ 10 MINUTES PREPARATION + 20 MINUTES COOKING

INGREDIENTS ~

250 Gms Pineapple, cut into thin strips
1 Tbsp Cashew nuts
1 Tbsp Raisins
1 Tbsp Ginger julienne
4 Dry Red Button Chillies
4 Tbsp Sugar, adjust according to taste. Sugar can be substituted by sugar free, honey etc.
A large pinch of Salt
1 Lime / lemon, sliced into thin rounds

Let's Make Sweet Pineapple Chutney In Easy Steps ~

1) In a frying pan, lightly toast the cashew nuts and raisins. 

** Once the cashew nuts become lightly brown add the pineapple strips and ginger juliennes.

** Follow this by adding sugar and dry button red chillies. Wait for the sugar to melt.

** Add 1 Cup of water . Bring to a boil.

** Add the lime / lemon rounds. Simmer. Cover and cook till the pineapple becomes very soft. 

** Add salt, mix and let it cook for a couple more minutes or till the water almost dries up. 

Your Sweet Pineapple Chutney is ready. Transfer it either to a bowl or airtight container if you want to keep this for a longer time. If refrigerated the sweet pineapple chutney lasts for a fortnight. The Sweet Pineapple Chutney not only complements all your dishes, lifting up many of them, but also pairs very well with cheese. I love this chutney with feta spread over toasts, pairs very well will all kinds of meat. In short this is one universal chutney which will make you fall in love with any dish by enhancing the flavour quotient. 





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