One of the highlight dishes for Tamil New Year’s day/ Ugadi is the Manga pacchadi; it is a chutney of sorts made with raw mangoes, jaggery, a few dry spices, and is sprinkled with fried neem flowers for bitterness. This sparked the idea for me to try my hand at making chutney with an assortment of berries.
With a tweak or two or more, I made the spicy berry chutney that will work well as an accompaniment for crackers, chips and parathas. This chutney has a lovely balance of sweetness, tanginess, bitterness that will dance in your mouth with each bite. This chutney is loaded with anti-oxidants, and is low in added sugar, making it a guilt-free condiment.
- Strawberry – 250gms/ 1 punnet
- Mixed berries (of your choice) – ¼ cup fresh or frozen
- Powdered jaggery – 1 tablespoon; if you are using Stevia or sweetener – 2 tablespoons
- Lime juice from 1 lime
- Ginger – ½ inch piece, grated or dried ginger powder – ¼ tspn
- Chilli powder – ½ tspn or less, depending on your taste
- Salt – To taste
- Fenugreek/methi/vendhayam seeds – ¼ tspn
- Turmeric – 1 pinch
- Oil – ½ tspn
- Remove the tops of the strawberries and other berries (if any).
- Halve the strawberries, and along with the mixed berries, put them in about 4 cups of tepid water.
- Allow it to rest for 20 minutes.
- This will thaw and soften the berries, allowing it to cook and break down faster.
- Drain the water from the berries.
- In a saucepan or pot, add the berries, Stevia/jaggery and lime juice. Place that on the stove in high flame.
- Keep stirring as the jaggery melts, making way for the fruits to break down and soften.
- Keep stirring the mixture to prevent the contents sticking to the bottom of the vessel. When using Stevia, you will notice that it dissolves faster.
- Halfway through the cooking process, add grated ginger, dry spices and salt, except the oil and fenugreek seeds.
- Mix all the ingredients well. Keep stirring it till the berries are completely cooked, and the mixture has thickened.
- Keep the chutney aside.
- Heat oil in a pan, and add the fenugreek seeds.
- Allow it to fry for about two seconds on low flame. Once done, remove the pan from the flame and pour the contents into the saucepan with the chutney.
- Give it a mix.
- Alternatively, follow the same method and use dried neem leaves.
- Once it cools, transfer the chutney to a clean, dry and sterilised glass container.
- Serve with toasts, crackers, parathas, chaats and chips.
- Adjust the sweetness and spiciness to suit your preference.
- You could omit the assorted berries and make is with just strawberries or vice versa.