Once upon a time, when we were young, we used to meet with friends for Saturday night hangouts at our place. Tugga was a little baby. Hence, the question of doing a late night out of home did not arise. We could not even take him along with us. Being the only parents in the group and blessed with kind generous friends, we could always make them travel all the way to our place round the year. One of them, SG had a vast knowledge of food as well as knowledge of almost everything around the world (representing the soon to be extinct Bengali aantel) had a sweet tooth. Madhushree never ever bids goodbye to her guests without serving a dessert. Once in some conversation, SG had expressed a sly concern about the dessert served in our home. Since then there hasn’t been one occasion when Madhushree has repeated her desserts when SG has been there.
Desserts aside, my tryst with Cranberry as an edible food is very recent; as recent as 1 year. Last year we used this in some cakes which I don’t remember but this year, Madhushree was determined to make a memorable dish and include it in something which can be a part of the regular affair. Cranberry and Jamaican passion were two flavours of Breezers which used to be immensely popular with the ladies in any party. But that’s where my awareness of Cranberry ended. Since last 3 years, Cranberry has become more easily available and this year on the Christmas eve party, Madhushree made Cranberry chutney and added some panch phoron too.
A first time in the house, we had Kaniska da (another food lover whom we both respect) with his wife and some other friends too. Going by the reactions, we can safely say this was liked by all. There were some surprised looks as well when people realized it was Cranberry chutney. Why I liked it because this is a fusion between kul (Indian berry) and tomato chutney but unlike the Indian berry, the skin doesn’t peel off; rather the cranberry remains semi solid and chunky. The use of panch phoron does not only lend flavour but also elevates the dish. The chutney or the relish has almost the same texture as the tomato chutney. This Cranberry chutney once mastered, can surely be a coveted dish on the dinner table.
These days, the weekly Saturday get together has almost stopped and one of the couple friends have recently been blessed with an angel. All of a sudden, the roles have changed. Madhushree and I have been an integral part of their family, we were present during the delivery and were overwhelmed with the news of the birth. A new life brings in so much positivity and hope and happiness. Tugga is now a responsible elder brother and he is trying to play that role in a cute way.
You can say its a lucky friendship when the discussions amongst friends evolve – girlfriends, 90’s music, beer bash planning, movies, marriage, honeymoon, ailing parents, wife’s shopping anecdotes, pregnancy, ideal husband, delivery, baby cot, baby food and the cycle gets repeated generation after generation.
Love you DJ and SS and we cannot wait to have this cranberry chutney together with the baby on another Saturday.
Cranberry chutney with Panch phoron
- 200 gms dried cranberries since in Kolkata, we only get dried cranberries
- 240 ml apple juice
- 250 ml water
- 1 1/2 Tsp Butter
- 1 no Dry Red Chili
- 1 Tsp Panch Phoron
- 8 Tbsp Sugar
- 1 Pinch Salt
- Roughly chop the cranberries, leave a few whole too.
- In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, add the cranberries and the juice
- Bring it to a boil. It takes about 5 minutes.
- Then lower the heat and let the cranberries soften. Continue this for about 20 minutes while watching the stirring from time to time to prevent the cranberries from sticking to the bottom.
- When they have become a bit mushy, add 150 ml of warm water, sugar and a pinch of salt.
- Continue cooking in low heat for another 20 minutes or till the liquid becomes thick and syrupy while the cranberries have become soft and mushy. Add more sugar if you feel it is too sour.
- Meanwhile, in a small skillet of a tadka pan, melt butter and add the dry red chili and panch phoron.
- When the spices release aroma, tip the whole thing over the cranberries.
- Add 100 ml of water to the skillet and pour the liquid over the chutney.
- Give it all a good stir and a boil. Turn off the heat and let the chutney cool down before serving.