31 May 2011

onion, tomato and ginger chutney

I reckon chutney is probably one of the most versatile condiment we can have in the fridge/pantry.  I have mine on the side with omelettes, frittatas, cooked breakfast, a bowl of lentil soup, or as a dip, or paired with cheese for a snack, and as a filling in sandwiches, melts and paninis.  Its just endless...

Chutney never last for very long in my house, and the good ones aren't very cheap either.  So instead of forking out the dosh, I decided to have a go at making my own chutney.  Since I've made onion marmalade before and I knew the flavours I wanted in my chutney, I didn't think it was going to be very hard.  A few quick referrals to some recipes online to double check cooking and bottling processes, gave me a good idea on what needed to be done.

The tomatoes at the Sunday markets are really cheap at the moment - they've got masses of too ripe or unripen tomatoes that they can't sell to the supermarkets.  And its probably the last of the 'cheap' toms before the cold really sets in (and frost) and tomatoes start to cost as much as a piece of pure angus ribeye.  So I was on a mission...

Surprisingly, a little goes a loooong way.  The first lot of chutney I made with 1kg of toms got me 3 x 400g bottles of chutney (I re-use old store-bought chutney bottles).  The 2nd lot with 1.5kgs of toms gave me 2 x 400g plus 1 x 540g and 1 x 160g bottles.

Kitty cat wanted in on the picture.  He likes my chutney too.  And so do my landlords, who happen to live upstairs and babysit his majesty whenever I have to go away.  Since they don't want any payment for services rendered (apparently furry smooches is enough for them), they get chutney.  And baking.

If you've got the time on a quiet weekend, go make a few bottles of chutney and store them away for the coming Winter (I sound like someone from Little House on The Prairie).  You'll thank me! :-)

And if you fancy something with a bit of a kick, have a look at my Spiced Tomato, Onion and Fruit Chutney.

Onion, Tomato and Ginger Chutney

1.5kg a mix of ripe red tomatoes and green tomatoes, roughly chopped
4 medium sized onions, sliced (red/white, up to you)
3 tsp finely grated ginger
2 tbsp mild curry powder*
½ tbsp sweet paprika
½ tsp whole cloves
½ tbsp salt
1 1/3 cup soft brown sugar, packed
2 1/4 cups cider vinegar

  1. Mix everything up in a large heavy bottomed pot and make sure that the vinegar covers the ingredients. 
  2. Bring to boil and boil for 10 minutes. 
  3. Lower the heat to a medium-low heat and simmer until the whole mixture thickens and becomes sticky (kinda like jam). This can take up to couple of hours. 
  4. Stir occasionally to prevent burning or sticking. If you find that this is happening quite quickly, lower your heat. This may mean that it’ll take longer to get to the end product, but well worth it.
  5. Before you bottle the chutney up, make sure you fish out the whole cloves.
*The mild curry powder won't make this chutney spicy, but will give it a nice rich flavour.

There are quite a few ways to do this according to what I've read so far. I choose the easiest and fastest way - of course.
  1. First, I give the bottles and caps a quick wash with warm soupy water.
  2. Then I put them all (DO NOT screw the caps back on!) in a large pot of water and and boil for 10 mins.
  3. Carefully lift the bottles and caps out of the hot water. Here's how I do it - get 1 long chopstick and lift the bottles one at a time up from the pot, with the chopstick on a slight angle so that the hot water inside the bottle runs out. Use a pair of tongs to handle the hot bottles and place them upside down on a wire rack to dry completely.
  4. Just before I ladle the cooked chutney into the washed and disinfected bottles, if the inside of the bottles are not completely dry, I zap the each bottle (not the metal covers) in the microwave on high for 20-30secs. Be careful when you remove the hot bottles from the microwave.
  5. I wait until the bottled chutney has cooled down (lukewarm-ish) before I cap them. I've been told by some people that I should cap them whilst the chutney is still hot, but none of my chutney have gone off so far. Perhaps because they all get stored in the fridge and not in the pantry, even the unopened ones.


  1. Cute cat! :) I also love the look of those chopped green and red tomatoes...very Christmassy. It's surprising how expensive chutney is to buy - much more fun to make your own!

  2. You are right! Those green and red toms look quite Christmassy! Just in time for mid year Christmas. :-)


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