Sweet & sour: spicy cumquat chutneyAugust 27, 2009
Inspired by Fiona’s comment about Indian food yesterday, plus the fact we had been given two kilos of beautiful Killcare cumquats by our friends the Nannas of Naremburn, I messed around with a few chutney recipes and came up with this spicy Indian-style cumquat chutney.
I began with the recipe for spiced kumquat chutney here, and then made a few variations based on what I had in the cupboards, and by flipping back and forth through Stephanie Alexander’s orange book to check out her pickled cumquat, her mango chutney (p733) and her peach chutney (p519).
Mine turned out a little sweeter than I would’ve liked, but adjusting the sweetness with plenty of salt and a little lime juice I think I’ve ended up with a lovely thick, sweet Indian-style chutney with a nice note of gingery heat. To those of you who’ll find a jar on their doorsteps, just don’t use too much at once! It’s quite tart as well, but the cumquat fruit itself has a nice slightly bitter edge …
The original recipe called for currants; I had only a handful of currants in the larder but lots of barberries, the tart little rubies I found on our Persian excursion the other week, so I threw them in instead, which doubtless bumped up the sour/tart factor. I also threw in some cardamom pods, cinnamon, whole cloves and star anise. Anyhoo, if you’re game and have heaps of ready cumquats on your conscience, try it out. I take no responsibility for the outcome, though!
Sweet & spicy cumquat chutney
- 2kg cumquats, halved or quartered (it’s good to get the seeds out now, but if you can’t be bothered, it is possible to scoop them out later with a slotted spoon – bit laborious either way, but the latter is more meditative…)
- 3-4 cups sugar
- 1.5 cups orange juice
- 1.5 cups water
- 1 cup white wine vinegar
- 2 sticks cinnamon
- 5 star anise
- pinch of whole cloves
- 1 cup currants or half currants and half barberries
- 1 large knob ginger, finely chopped
- 2 birdseye chillies, chopped
- a teaspoon or two dried chilli flakes, to taste
- 3 tablespoons salt (or more, to taste)
- (optional) juice 1 lime
Throw everything but the lime juice into a heavy-based saucepan, reserving a little of the sugar and salt until you taste it at the end.
Stir over heat until sugar has dissolved and chutney has come to boiling point. Boil steadily for an hour or so, until the chutney reduces and becomes thick.
Adjust seasoning with sugar and salt, then bottle into sterilised jars.
This quantity made eight small to medium jars of chutney.