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Bengali tomato chutney by Udit Sarkhel


(makes about 1.25 kg)

7tbs mustard oil
3tbs vegetable oil
2tbs panch phoron (Bengali five-spice mixture)
3 sliced garlic cloves
2-3 fresh green chillies
2 thin slices ginger root
1kg ripe tomatoes (buy with the calyx attached, but remove them before cooking because they are mildly toxic)
250g raisins/sultanas (with plenty of moisture left in them.)
150g sugar
120g stoned dates
1 pinch ground fenugreek
20 small dried chillies


Heat 3tbs mustard oil in a wok or kadhai until smoking, then add the vegetable oil and heat again. Add the spice mix and, after about 10 seconds, the garlic, ginger and fresh chillies. Add the tomatoes and raisins/sultanas. Keep them moving in the pan. Before they start to break down, add the sugar and let it start to caramelise over a moderate flame. When the tomatoes begin to collapse, stir in the dates, turn down the heat to low. Add salt.

In a separate pan, heat the rest of the mustard oil. Add the powdered fenugreek and chillies and fry until the chillies go brown. Pour into the tomato chutney.

Simmer the chutney for about 15 minutes.

You can eat it hot or cold, on a roti or paratha (enriched flat bread), or as an accompaniment to a main course of rice and mutton.

Udit Sarkhel

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