Strawberry Chutney(Aamshotyo Diye Strawberry'r Chutney)
STRAWBERRY is a fruit whose garden variety was first cultivated in France. Though called so, technically it is a fruit and not a berry. By Nature's will, in spite of the plant bearing a white flower, the fruit actually when ripe is of a bright red and maroon hue.
It is common to see many roadside vendors selling this fruit in the so called winter months in Mumbai. Young men and women also often crisscross the waiting vehicles at traffic signals trying to sell these at the intersections during the brief waiting periods at the traffic lights. Otherwise you can source them in supermarkets or from the online shopping sites. In Dubai, it was common to see transparent plastic boxes labelled with the name of the biggest California growing and marketing company, which I picked up at the supermarkets.
Maybe due to its bright color, one Marketing company deduced, that strawberries is a source of happiness for customers!!!
Please be a little cautious when picking up ready packed plastic containers from the supermarket. Sometimes you will find a couple of wilted strawberries packed among the fresher ones.
Some may be allergic to the fruit, so be a little careful when you taste them for the very first time. As promised to some of my diners at the East Bengal Food EXTRAVAGANZA which I curated and cooked for at Hotel Mirador in Mumbai on the 5th of February, 2020, am sharing this recipe with you all.
Serves : 10(I serve it as a Chutney at the end of a many-coursed meal, so a couple of teaspoons per guest is sufficient. At certain times, I have had several diners lap up quite a bit, once the taste catches their fancy. It can pair really well with a paratha as well. One interviewer queried whether this could be labelled as a 'Morabba'. Whatever you may call it, one thing is for sure that it has never failed to get me words of appreciation when it has been prepared and served.)
Preparation Time : 15 minutes
Cooking Time : 25-30 minutes
The 'STRAWBERRY and AAMSHOTYO Chutney' just happened to form an idea in my head, one day, when I had ample strawberries on hand.
Strawberries -300 grams (cut into 4 pieces if big or 2 pieces if of smaller size)
Sugar 200 gms
Ginger grated/Ginger powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Aamshotyo/aampappad - 1 packet/200gms (chopped into 1/2 inch squares or rectangles)
Roasted Cumin(jeera) & Red Chili(Mirchi) powder - 1 teaspoon
Mustard oil - 1 teaspoon
Red Chili Powder- a pinch(optional)
Paanch Phoron(a mixture of cumin, fenugreek, mustard, aniseed and nigella seeds) - a pinch
Roasted Cumin and Red Chili Powder
On a tawa, take about 25 grams of cumin seeds and one red chili.
Roast it gently over the flame by stirring continuously.
Once it has lightly browned, and gives out an aroma cool it down and grind finely in a blender or mixie jar. Be slightly careful not to smell too deeply or it might start a coughing fit.
You can store this powder in an airtight bottle and use subsequently on your raitas and salads, since it is very aromatic and elevates the dish.
In a wok or non - stick kadhai, add the mustard oil.
Once it reaches smoking point add a pinch of the Paanch Phoron seeds.
When that is crackling, add 1/4 teaspoon of grated Ginger.
Saute and then add the chopped strawberries.
Sprinkle a bit of salt over the strawberries and cover the kadhai with a lid.
Water will get released from the strawberries in the kadhai as they wilt in the heat. The cover helps to retain all the heat inside the kadhai and release moisture from the strawberries with the steam developing inside the kadhai.
After 10-15 minutes, once the strawberries look soft add the Aamshotyo pieces.
After another 10 minutes or so, when the Aamshotyo pieces look slightly soft add sugar.
Stir and mix properly .
Open the lid, there is no more need to cover it now and keep stirring at regular intervals.
Check for sweetness and adjust by adding more sugar accordingly, if needed.
If you want slight heat or a subtle kick, add a pinch of red chili powder and mix thoroughly.
Before removing from the flame sprinkle roasted and ground cumin and red chili powder
After it is less hot transfer the contents to a glass bowl for serving.
After serving in a bowl you may garnish with a sprinkling of the roasted Cumin and Red Chili powder....it just smells heavenly!
This can keep for a month in the fridge, if you use a clean dry spoon, since no water is added at any stage of the cooking process.