Saturday, April 14, 2012

Kumquats and Dates Chutney

A few weeks ago, I had a pleasure of being invited for a dinner at our friends' place. The hostess is an excellent cook and I am always very excited to eat at their place. This time she prepared an Indian dinner. I love and cook the Indian food often myself and I am a demanding judge but, as always, all the dishes were exquisite--light, not too oily, and nicely but not overly spicy. But there was one dish that I enjoyed most of all, so right away I asked for the recipe. It was a chutney, served with poppadoms as a starter. She made four different chutneys, all very good, but all the others were more familiar to me than the one made from kumquats and dates.

I have always loved good chutneys, especially those home made, which are not so greasy. There is something very intriguing if not addictive in their strong and often spicy taste, which I cannot resist until the small bowl in which they are served is empty.

That particular recipe for kumquat and dates chutney comes from Bon Appétit and was shared by one of my favorite chef Joan Weir, whose light and aromatic cuisine I have always admired and often adopted.

I follow the recipe almost exactly, just recently I replaced the crystallised ginger with the fresh one--the chutney did not suffer on that at all. I also do not add fresh coriander since usually at the same time I also serve a coriander chutney. While making poppadoms I do not fry them in oil, which saves some calories, but heat them for 50 seconds in the microwave.

Kumquats and Dates Chutney

1/2 cup orange juice,
2 tbsp( about 1/4 cup) chopped shallots,
3 tbsp sugar,
2 tbsp crystallised ginger(but the same amount of thinly sliced fresh ginger will do as well),
1 tbsp white wine vinegar,
1/8 tsp red pepper, crushed,
1/4 tsp ground cloves,
1/4 tsp salt,
16 dates pitted and chopped,
10 kumquats sliced,
fresh coriander chopped.

1. Put the first eight ingredients in a medium pot and bring them to boil. Simmer for about three minutes on a medium hit.
2. Add chopped kumquats and dates. Add to the pot with juice and spices and bring to boil. Simmer again for about two minutes.

Turn off the heat and add chopped coriander. Cool down. Chutney will thickens when it is cold. Serve with poppadoms.