My co-author for the cookbook, Masala Farm, Raquel’s (Pelzel) husband, Matt, eats this chutney like it’s going out of style. Sometimes, I have to remind him that it’s a condiment and not a side dish! He slathers it on omelettes, eats it with steak and even cheese and crackers. Lucky for Matt that tomato chutney can be made year round with either summer ripe or winter pale tomatoes. I will be forever indebted to my friend Durga’s mother, a neighbour of my family’s in New Delhi, who introduced me to tomato chutney. Originally from Hyderabad, the pickling capital of the south, she got me hooked on it from a very young age.
¼ cup – Canola oil
36 – Curry leaves, roughly torn
2 tsp – Mustard seeds
2 tsp – Cumin seeds
12 – Dried red chillies
½ tsp – Turmeric
3½ pounds – Tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 4.4-ounce tube – Double-concentrated tomato paste (or 9 ounces tomato paste)
2 tbsp – Sugar
1½ tbsp – Sea salt
½ tsp – Cayenne pepper
1 tsp – Sambar or rasam powder
* Heat the oil with the curry leaves, mustard seeds, cumin and chillies in a large pot or skillet over medium-high heat until the cumin is browned, for about 2 minutes.
* Add the turmeric and cook until the chillies darken, about 1 to 2 minutes longer.
* Add the remaining ingredients and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and pressing the tomatoes against the sides of the pot to mash them if they are not breaking apart on their own.
* Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the chutney is thick and jammy (if canning, cook until the mixture is very thick), about an additional 20 to 35 minutes. If using hard winter tomatoes, the chutney may cook in less time as there are less tomato juices to reduce, stirring often.
* Taste for seasoning, transfer to a covered plastic container and refrigerate for up to a week.
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