A Bengali meal is never complete without tomato chutney– a symphony of fresh tomatoes, plump raisins, luscious dates, a generous helping of jaggery, a throw of lightly toasted aromatic spice and a good splash of lemon juice, all cooked with oodles of love over a slow fire.
This is my version of tomato chutney and the recipe couldn’t be simpler- try it and you shall be left craving more.
Tomato Chutney, Bengal style
- 4 big ripe tomatoes chopped
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 10 - 12 pitted dates chopped
- 1 tsp panchphoron
- 2 tsps Bengali bhaja masala (dry roast 2 tsp each of cumin seed and fennel seed, 2 bay leaves, 1 red chili and grind them to a powder)
- 2 - 3 dry red chillies torn to halves
- 1/2 cup jaggery crushed to small pieces
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp ginger juice
- 1/2 tbsp oil
- Heat the mustard oil in frying pan. Add the panch phoron and broken red chillies. When they start sputtering, add the chopped tomatoes and salt. Saute over a low to medium flame till the tomatoes reduce to almost a pulp.
- Add the chopped dates and raisins and cook for another 5 minutes. Splash in the ginger juice, lemon juice and give a good stir. Now add the jaggery, a little water and continue to cook till the chutney comes to a boil.
- Adjust the sweetness, a wee bit more jaggery if you want it a tad bit sweeter or a dash of lemon juice if you want to balance the sweetness.
- Finally sprinkle the roasted masala powder and get the chutney off the heat.
- Cool to room temperature- this now ready to serve or be stored in the refrigerator.