MAKES: About 21/2 cups
TIME: 20 minutes
I like almost any tomato-based condiment; the truth is that I’m an unapologetic ketchup lover. This one, from my friend the New York based chef Suvir Saran, is spicy, sweet, aromatic, chunky, and more interesting than most. Serve it with eggs.
1/4 cup unsalted peanuts
3 tablespoons butter or peanut oil
2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
6 whole cloves
3 dried Thai or other hot red chiles
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 large red onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 large tomatoes or 2 cups canned tomatoes, chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon curry powder (to make your own, see Fragrant Curry Powder)
Put the peanuts, butter, mustard seeds, cloves, and dried chiles in a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet or wok over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes, until the spices are fragrant, then add the cumin and cook, stirring, until the peanuts take on a light golden color, another 2 minutes.
Add the onion and a large pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until the onion begins to soften, then add the tomatoes, tomato paste, and curry powder and cook, stirring often, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Cool to room temperature and serve or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving (you can remove the cloves too if you like).
Grilled Tomato Chutney. Especially easy if you already have a grill going: Heat a charcoal or gas grill to moderately hot and put the grate 3 inches from the heat. Cut the tomatoes into thick slices and grill quickly on both sides until browned, about 5 minutes total. Proceed with the recipe.
Green Tomato Chutney. A terrific way to use up those green tomatoes: Replace the cloves with a teaspoon of coriander seeds. Substitute green tomatoes for the ripe ones and eliminate the tomato paste and curry powder. Stir in 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves before serving.
Green Tomato-Apple Chutney. Omit the peanuts if you like and replace the black mustard and cumin seeds with 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds and 1 teaspoon garam masala (to make your own, see Garam Masala). Replace the tomatoes with a cored green apple and a green tomato; omit the tomato paste and curry powder.
Sweet Tomato Chutney. Substitute 1 stick of cinnamon for the black mustard and cumin seeds. Add 3 tablespoons brown sugar along with the tomato paste.