Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Tometo'r Chatni - Bengali Style Sweet Tomato Chutney

Moni would make tometo't chutney quite often when we were really young and later on it sort of faded out of her kitchen only to be revived again when we started visiting her in Kolkata after she retired. She then had the time and the inclination to cook for us and loved making these easy additions to the typically simple menus that we demanded - mangsho'r jhol, bhaat, or daal, bhaat, maach bhaja, occasionally accompanied by a vegetable preparation of some sort.

Tometo'r chatni is ridiculously easy to make and is not restricted to a season like kaancha aam'er chatni or raw mango chutney. This tomato version is a more aggressively sweet preparation and often has raisins or dates or even both added to it. However Moni usually made the no frills version and that's the one I like best. In some ways it's a strange concoction because there's the sour tang from the tomatoes, there's sweet from sugar, and there's the strong flavour from mustard seeds and an underlying pungency or 'jhaanj' from the mustard oil it's cooked in. 

Tometo'r chutney is a sort of palate cleanser and at wedding feasts it is usually accompanied by papor bhaja- or  fried papad. The chutney makes its appearance at the end of the meal but don't mistake it for dessert. For dessert there will be an array of Bengali mishti and top quality mishti doi for sure!

Tometo'r Chatni

250gms tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 Kashmiri chillies
mustard oil
1 cup sugar or as required
20 raisins, cleaned

In a wok heat the mustard oil. Once hot chuck in the mustard seeds and the chillies and let the seeds pop. 

Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for a few minutes letting the tomatoes break down properly. Smash away at them with your spatula to help them along. Add a small amount of salt and stir. 

Once the tomatoes release oil again pour in sugar and stir to mix. Once the sugar has blended in and more or less melted pour in about  half a cup of water and bring it to a boil. 

Put in the raisins and let the chutney cook till it is thick but not sticky. It should have a sheen to it and should not look cloudy. 

Serve at the end of the meal. 

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