Pineapple Chutney

MAKES: About 2 cups

TIME: 30 minutes

This jammy, sweet-and-spicy chutney has its roots in both traditional Indian chutneys and spicy fruit preserves from Renaissance Europe. The secret is mixing fresh fruit with dried. It’s perfect as a sweet-hot foil to bland foods try it with Coconut Rice or Deep-Fried Tofu but, like good old jam, it’s pretty good on buttered toast too.

2 cups minced pineapple (canned is okay; drain excess juices)

1/2 cup chopped dates or dried apricots

11/2 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard or mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon minced fresh chile (like jalapeo or Thai), or to taste, or hot red pepper flakes or cayenne to taste

Salt

Put all the ingredients in a saucepan, mix well, and cover. Bring to a boil over high heat and uncover.

Turn the heat to medium or medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the chutney from the heat and cool to room temperature; taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. This keeps well, covered and refrigerated, for at least a week; bring back to room temperature before serving.

Variations

Cranberry Chutney. A joy in the winter: Substitute cranberries for the pineapple, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves for the cumin, and orange juice for the lime juice. Use only 1 fresh red chile or none at all. If you like, cool the chutney slightly, then partially pure with an immersion blender or in a food processor.

Tamarind-Date Chutney. As exotic as it gets: Replace the pineapple with 1/2 cup tamarind pulp dissolved in 11/2 cups hot water (or 3/4 cup tamarind paste, dissolved in 2 cups hot water and strained); increase the dates to 3/4 cup. Omit the mustard and lime juice. Add more brown sugar if you like.

6 Fruit Combinations for Chutney

  1. Peaches or apricots with dried apricots
  2. Sour cherries (fresh or frozen, pitted) with dried cherries or cranberries
  3. Plums or seedless red grapes with dried figs or prunes
  4. Seedless red grapes with dried pineapple or pears
  5. Rhubarb with raisins
  6. Blueberries or blackberries with dried cherries or blueberries