All grown up
Make your own tomato chutney with this simple recipe and discover a new layer of flavor elegance. This is what ketchup wants to be when it grows up. Let’s get started!
The riper, the better
Tomato chutney is best if you can find nice red, ripe tomatoes. If you are fortunate to have a garden or a good farmer’s market, this is the time. When you spot nice tomatoes in the supermarket, go for it. If neither of these is an option, don’t allow this to stand between you and tomato chutney. Canned tomatoes can be used for this recipe (4 cups). Be sure to drain them. Otherwise, your chutney may be a bit too thin.
You have several options or substitutions when it comes to the ingredients for this delicious condiment. But seriously, we’re talking tomatoes, onions and garlic. Simple, short list. The tangy-sweet flavor comes from a combination of rice vinegar, mustard and agave syrup. If you don’t have agave syrup, use any liquid sweetener you have on hand. You could also use apple cider vinegar in place of the rice vinegar although the end result may a bit tangier.
No seed zone
This recipe calls for deseeding the tomatoes. I find it easiest to quarter the tomatoes first and then just run my knife blade through the middle to take out the core and seeds. If you really want to be fancy, you can peel the tomatoes as well. To do this, you’ll want to add whole tomatoes to boiling water before peeling. Now, you’re making tomato concasse.
Cook it down
When I made this the first few times, I fiddled with how much rice vinegar to add. After some trial (and error), I landed at ½ cup. That is enough to add the right amount of tang and not so much that cooking the tomato chutney down takes forever. You’ll want to allow at least 45 minutes to 1 hour for the big cooking down process. Ultimately, it will depend on your tomatoes and how thick you want it to be.
It's a bit delicate
Basil is a delicate herb as is coriander (cilantro), dill, parsley and chives for example. These fresh herbs should always be added at the end of the cooking process. Heartier herbs such as bay leaf, rosemary, thyme and oregano can be added at the beginning which infuses flavors. Follow a quick hack that hearty herbs generally have woody stems and you’ll be good to go.
If you decide to use dry basil for this recipe, add it to the pot along with the rest of the ingredients to simmer. Dry herbs are more concentrated than fresh so follow a 3:1 (fresh: dry) rule. For this recipe, I’d suggest adding 1 ½ tablespoons to start with and then adjusting up if you need to.
Condiment, more than an afterthought
I think a lot about food. Seriously. I wake up most mornings with a recipe idea on my brain. Lately, I’ve been thinking about condiments. I’m not talking salt and pepper, but those special extras that can make all the difference. Whether it’s quick pickling onions making Escabeche, or adding 5-spice almonds to a salad just a tiny bit of effort can really pay off. Besides, that fun stuff keeps food interesting.
Another spoonful, please
I’ll be truthful here. We eat a lot of chips. Now that I’ve perfected them, we eat even more. This is honestly one of the best places for tomato chutney. You aren’t in roasted potato land anymore, these are gourmet chips, by gosh. Seriously, make up some tomato chutney a day or two before, invite friends over for burgers, sit back and enjoy how impressed they are.
I’m aware I’ve been gushing about condiments. Perhaps because it reminds me about how ‘sides’ support the ‘main’. Supporting isn’t just promoting the main, it’s a power unto itself. Peace.Print
Fresh tomato chutney is a wonderful combination of tangy and sweet that add a special flavor of elegance. What ketchup wants to be when it grows up.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Yield: 2 cups 1x
- Category: Dressings & Condiments
- Method: Stove top
- Cuisine: American
- 1 onion, finely minced (¾ cup)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups tomatoes, deseeded and diced
- 1 tbsp stone ground mustard (the grainy kind)
- 1 tsp. Agave syrup or other liquid sweetener
- ½ cup rice wine vinegar
- ¼ cup fresh basil chopped
- Deseed the tomatoes by cutting them in quarters and then cutting out the core, then dice them.
- Heat a medium saucepan and over low heat, sauté the onions until they become soft and slightly translucent (about 10 minutes). Add water a tablespoon at a time if they begin to stick.
- Add the minced garlic and sauté for another minute.
- Add the tomatoes, 1 Tbsp. mustard, 1 tsp. Agave syrup and ½ cup rice wine vinegar. Bring the heat up to medium, cover and simmer until the tomatoes are reduced and the chutney is thick. This takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir it occasionally.
- Once the chutney is sufficiently reduced (to about half of where you started) and has a consistency you like, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool a few minutes before mixing in the chopped basil.
- Serve warm or cold.
- Store in a sealed container. Keeps for a week in the fridge.
- You can substitute canned tomatoes for fresh. Drain them before using. Otherwise the reduction process will take forever. Your canned tomatoes make be a bit sweeter than fresh, so consider adjusting the amount of sweetener.
- As noted above you can use dry basil. Use 1 ½ tablespoons and simmer the dry basil along with the tomatoes.
- The chutney may settle once it has cooled. Just give it a stir to liven it back up.
Keywords: tomato chutney