Saraswati Puja around the corner and as a tradition, kuler chutney is made on that day and served with khichuri bhog. Kul is Indian berry and I am not really sure what is the exact English name but Wikipedia throws up ‘jujube’. However, I have some photo graphs ready for tomato khejur aamshottor chutney from Durga Puja days. I have not had the time to publish them. So why not now? Personally I prefer tomato khejur aamshottor chutney with khichuri over any other chutney.
Beautiful ripe red tomatoes for tomato khejur aamshottor chutney
You need good quality ripe and red tomatoes for making this chutney. Over ripe won’t work either. The tomatoes need to be nice and firm. Khejur is date and normally we use the Indian dates to make this chutney. The Arabian mejdul dates are really soft and mushy. They lose the texture in the chutney. Aamshotto is mango leather which is normally a summer produce but nowadays, you get them round the year. Winter is, of course, a great time to get beautiful red tomatoes.
Chutneys and ambols
A proper Bengali meal will always end with a chutney or an ambol before the dessert. While ambol has a thin consistency, chutney is quite mushy is texture. Another major difference is that an ambol is more on the sour side. Chutney, however, is quite sweet. There is a tinge of tang from the tomatoes but an over indulgent hand at sugar and the dates along with mango leather makes it quite a sweet chutney.
Here are a few Bengali chutney and ambol recipes from my pantry:
- Cranberry Chutney- a mushy chutney flavoured with panchphoron
- Begun Borir Ambol – light chutney made with aubergine and lentil dumplings
- Kancha Aamer Ambol- light runny chutney made with green mangoes
How to make tomato khejur aamshottor chutney
The flavour from most our chutneys comes from tempering of panchphoron. Panchphoron is a spice mix of equal quantities of cumin seeds, nigella seeds, fennel seeds, black mustard seeds and little less than half the quantity of fenugreek seeds. You have to temper panchphoron with dried red chillies in any vegetable oil and then add sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and 1/4 tsp of salt in the tomatoes and cook till they are soft. Then add the sliced pitted dates, some water and cook further. Add a handful of roasted cashews and finally chopped mango leather. Sugar is mostly not required since there is a lot of natural sugar from the dates and the mango leather. However, you can add a couple of tsps of sugar depending on your taste. You can finish the chutney with a squeeze of lemon juice (if you want that hint of tang).
Serving and storing suggestion
You can serve tomato khejur aamshottor chutney only when it has cooled down and it tastes better when chilled. Also, it takes a few hours for the flavours to infuse. This can be stored in the refrigerator for at least 7 days in a glass or ceramic container. This chutney is typically served with khichuri or at the end of any meal.
If you are looking for the recipe of Bengali bhuni khichuri, this is the recipe- link
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Tomato Khejur Aamshottor Chutney
- 4 nos large tomatoes
- 10 nos dates preferably Indian dates
- 1/2 cup chopped mango leather
- 1 tsp panchphoron
- 1 no dried red chilli
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 cup chopped cashews
- 1/3 cup golden raisins
- 2 tsp sugar optional
- 1 tsp lemon juice optional
- 2 tsp any vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup warm water
- Wash the tomatoes and slice them length wise. Discard the seeds. Take pitted dated and slice them length wise. Also chop the mango leather and keep them ready.
- In a frying pan, lightly roast the cashews and keep aside.
- In a small kadai or a frying pan, heat the oil and add the dried red chilli when the oil is hot. Add the panchphoron and let the spices temper. WHen they have slightly browned, add the tomatoes.
- On a high flame, stir the tomatoes. Add salt and turmeric powder and then stir for a few second. Reduce the temperature and cover and cook the tomatoes till they have softened. This takes a bit of time and you have to un cover and check from time to time. Each time, give it a good stir.
- Once the tomatoes have become soft, add the dates and cook further. You can add a little bit of sugar here, if your tomatoes are very sour. Then add 1/4 th cup of water and stir. Let the date cook for a few minutes till they are soft but not mushy.
- At this point, add the chopped cashews and kismis and finally the mango leather.
- You will also have to add the rest of the water and give it a boil. When the consistency is syrupy and a bit mushy, turn off the heat. Squeeze some lemon juice, if you want a fresh taste of acidity in the chutney.
- Let it cool down and transfer to a glass container and chill in the refrigerator. Serve chilled.