Tomato Chutney is delicious whether served on its own or as Egg Chutney. This basic sauce like tomato curry often served as the base of Amma’s fiery Durban Curries. Chutney is also best served with phutu or porridge and can also serve as a condiment for chilli bites or grilled meats.
Amma and my sisters favourite was what they called Porridge Chutney. They would add chutney to a porridge cooked from maize meal. This was one of the most desired breakfast meals in our home (not by me). Chutney was also often my father’s favourite breakfast meal, he would have this with a few slices of bread, sour porridge, vinegar chillies and sometimes a piece of bacon, which Amma cooked but never ate.
How To Cook Basic Chutney
Amma’s chutney was simple yet delicious. It contained onion, tomatoes, green chilli, chilli powder, a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar. The addition of sugar gives the Tomato Chutney it’s piquant taste.The basic Chutney compliments almost any dish including grilled meat or vegetables.
- 4 ripe tomatoes
- 1 onion
- 2 green chillies
- 1 tablespoon chilli powder
- Half teaspoon tumeric powder
- half teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- half cup water
- 1 tablespoon oil
- optional coriander for topping.
1. Prepare the onion, chillies and tomatoes. Slice the onions and chillies fine. Place the tomatoes in a bowl of hot water an hour or two before you intend to cook Chutney. This will help remove the skin off the tomatoes. You can add the peel but the best chutney is one that does not contain skin or seeds.
2. Cut the tomatoes in half.Scoop out the seeds then grate the rest to form a smooth pulp.
2. Heat a pan on medium heat.Add the oil. Fry the onions until slightly brown. Add the sliced chillies. Fry for 2 minutes.Reduce the heat.
3. Add the spices.Mix well. Braise for 2-3 minutes on low heat. Amma use to say if you don’t ‘braise’ the onions in the chilli powder then the curry will taste like chilli powder. Right she was!
4. Add the tomatoes. Add the water and salt. Stir. Add the sugar then allow to cook for 15 to 20 minutes until the water has evaporated.
5. Serve as desired.
Amma’s Chutney Dishes
Amma’s variation to this included the addition of sliced green pepper for what she called Sausage Chutney. To make this make the tomato chutney as directed above, except ad the green pepper together with the onion. Fry sausages separately then slice and add to chutney while it ‘boils’ Once it has thickened remove form stove and serve as desired. This sausage chutney formed the sauce of spaghetti a la Amma.
Dry Fish Chutney
Dry Fish Chutney was our fathers favorite Chutney. This must be since my paternal grandmother probably cooked this more than she did any other dish. Dry Fish, being a dried, salted fish. A similar Dish cooked by my paternal grandmother was Bombay Duck curry, Bombay duck also being a type of dried fish. I have only ever come across these two ‘delicacies’ in Durban. Most Asian Markets abroad seem to stock a ‘salted fish’ which is not quite like the dried fish as I know it.
Egg Chutney is the simple dish which Amma used to say she could cook in 10 minutes. To make Egg chutney simply add a beaten egg into the chutney while it is cooking. Timing is everything you don’t want to end up with overcooked eggs, so it is best to add the egg into the chutney just 2-3 minutes before the chutney is cooked.
This version of Amma’s Chutney included the addition of canned pilchards. In this instance Amma would braise the tin fish then add the tomatoes. She sometimes added peas and potatoes to this dish in order to expand the quantity of a single can of pilchards.