As more and more people are diagnosed with gluten intolerance, gluten free food products are in high demand. Last year Vancouver started a one day event aiming to educate people on gluten free living. It attracted so many people this year that a lot of them were not even able to get in. The organizers expected around 5000 people but when the total number of people exceeded their expectations, they had to close the ticket sales just after an hour later of opening the event. I got a chance to enter after waiting two hours in line. It was a really good opportunity to hear some speakers and see what new stuff was available in the market.
Once there, I gorged myself with samples of gluten free goodness which some of the vendors were offering at their booths. On one such booth, a relish kind of tomato chutney was displayed for sampling with the crackers. When I tasted, it reminded me of Bengali five spice tomato chutney. They were selling spices and dried fruits with instructions to make the tomato chutney but I felt it pointless to buy as I already figured out what it was and I knew I had to make a version of my own using almost the same ingredients.
Chutney as you all know is a condiment of Indian origin but its concept has spread worldwide. It can be made from virtually any vegetable or fruit to which spices and seasonings are added. It can be sweet, spicy or sour or have a combination of all three. These taste components make a chutney so delicious that it can practically be eaten with anything from curries to sandwiches and crackers.
There are so many versions of tomato chutney with in India that even I try to variate every time I prepare. The most basic version is made with fresh tomatoes, onion, spices, sugar and oil, if you may want to check the recipe, click here. My recipe today pairs fresh tomatoes and dried fruits with the Bengali five spice blend that tastes simply sublime with cheese bread which I bought from Gluten Free Expo. I kept the texture of my tomato chutney totally different from what the vendor was selling.
Bengali five spice is called panch phoran, it is made from equal amounts of fenugreek, cumin, fennel, nigella and black mustard. Sadly though, I added yellow mustard by mistake but nevertheless it produced a nice aroma when I fried it in little oil. Chutney is always flexible and forgiving thing to make, you can eliminate or substitute any ingredient to suit your own taste, so get creative!
FIVE SPICE TOMATO CHUTNEY
- 500 g tomatoes, diced
- 60 g dates, chopped
- 60 g dried apricots, chopped
- 60 g dried pineapple chunks, chopped
- 25 g raisins
- 2 tsp grated ginger
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 3 tbsp canola oil
- 3/4 tsp panch phoran
- 1/2 tsp roasted ground cumin
- Heat oil in a skillet. Add panch phoran and saute until the spice crackles.
- Add diced tomatoes. Season with salt and give a quick stir. Cover and cook tomatoes on low heat. They will release a lot of liquid and will cook in their own juices.
- After about 5 minutes, once tomatoes soften a bit, add the chopped dates, apricots, pineapple chunks and red pepper flakes. Cover and cook on low heat for 15 minutes, stirring once until the chutney gets fairly thick.
- Serve chutney at room temperature with any crusty bread.
- Store the leftover chutney in fridge.