You might have heard of strawberry jam, but not much of citrusy strawberry chutney, isn’t it? Even I hadn’t, until I determined to make my own strawberry chutney. Strawberries are sweet and sour and so, I think, they qualify quite well for chutney (rule of thumb: fruits with a sour note make great chutneys)! Oh, why didn’t I think about this earlier? Coincidentally, Foodbuzz’s flavour of the month is strawberries as well!
Fresh strawberries are in season! The very look of red, plump strawberries is so appetizing, isn’t it? My kids love these, but it is not easy to convince AN to have some fresh ones. He loves chutneys of all kinds, though. So I thought, why not make something on a slightly spicy note and the next moment, I figured out what I need to do.
I wanted to give this chutney a “cosmopolitan” twist. I had some Cointreau in my kitchen (a mini bottle, which I bought long back from a sugarcraft store), lying neglected for months. Both of us don’t drink, but I don’t mind cooking or baking with these boozy wonders, since by doing so the alcohol almost evaporates, leaving the fruity factor behind. I used this long back only to make one of our favourite desserts: Crepes Suzette. I decided to use this with the strawberries, so that my chutney gets a nice citrusy spurt of flavours as well. I thought, I’d definitely add some lime juice, lime zest and orange zest to this to top up the citrus note in this chutney.
Admittedly, it was me who was craving for something sweet and spicy! Being an Indian, my tastebuds are eternally married to spices… I love to play with them in my cooking. But… spices with strawberries? Yes, why not! I tasted a kind of strawberry jam once, made with a hint of pepper, and loved the taste. So black pepper is definitely going into my chutney. Next two spices are black mustard seeds and fennel seeds, which impart a sweet, spicy and aromatic touch to a majority of common Indian chutneys. That’s it! No overpowering of flavours and we get a new kind of boozy, citrusy, spicy, sweet and sour balance in this wonderful strawberry chutney!
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Spicy Strawberry-Citrus Chutney: An Indo-Western Fusion
[Cointreau and the citrus zests add a Western touch to this lightly spiced Indian chutney. Those who don’t wish to add Cointreau, may add double the amount of orange juice instead. This is a sweet-n-sour chutney and goes very well with grilled meat dishes or can be served as a healthy salad dressing alternative!]
- Fresh, de-seeded and chopped strawberries (sweet and sour): 1.5 cups
- Cointreau (can be replaced with double the amount of orange juice): 6 tsp
- Lime juice: 1.5 tbsp
- Vinegar: ¼ tsp
- Salt: ¼ tsp
- Orange zest: 1 tsp
- Lemon zest: 1 tsp
- Mixture of black mustard seeds, fennel seeds and black pepper: ½ tsp
- Water: 6 tbsp
- Extra virgin olive oil: 1.5 tsp
- Sugar: 6 tsp (less or more, depending on individual sweetness level)
Marinate the chopped strawberries with lime juice, vinegar, salt, and the orange and lemon zests for 10 min. Add half the Cointreau to this, mix well and let this stand for 5 more minutes.
Heat oil in a pan. Add the seeds and wait till the fennel seeds become just light brown. Add the marinated strawberries and cook for 5 min.
Add the sugar and the water and continue to cook, covering the pan with a lid, till the chutney becomes saucy and the strawberries become very soft. Add the remaining Cointreau and stir constantly for 5 min, till the chutney becomes thicker (consistency should be similar to that of condensed milk).
Serve the chutney cold, but not chilled. This can be refrigerated for two weeks.
Enjoy the goodness of strawberries in a very different style. Wish you a happy Mother’s Day!
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