Showing posts with label apple. Show all posts
Showing posts with label apple. Show all posts

Mar 18, 2018

Green Apple Chutney

apple, chutney, dip, green, hot, Indian, Recipe, salsa, sauce, spicy, vegan, vegetarian,

Try this green apple chutney for a hot and spicy way to eat your apple a day! This easy recipe pairs well with everything from rice and rotis to steaks and roast chicken.

Every great once in awhile our local market gets a load of Granny Smith apples in. Often there seems to be some confusion as to where these tart, crisp, bright green apples come from as you can see in the above photo.  It boggles my mind that the apples probably spent 2 to 3 months in a nitrogen-flushed container on a ship from the US to get all the way to Nepal. Then they had to ride on a train and a truck from a port in Mumbai or Kolkata across the searing plains of India up here. After that, I get the pleasure of buying 3-month-old apples for about $3USD a pound! Nevertheless, Pippins and Granny Smith's are my favorite apples and I buy them. I've seen several recipes for South Asian style chutneys combining green apples and cilantro all over the internet. The combination sounded intriguing but few of the recipes suited my family's tastes. Too sweet, too tart, too bland were the complaints. After much trial and error, this is the recipe I've come up with for a green chutney using green apples. It has a nice balance of tart to sweet while garlic, ginger, and chilis give it some spicy heat. We enjoy this chutney with rice but it would also pair well with barbecued meats, kebabs, Mexican dishes, or roast chicken or turkey. Eating healthy is easy when it tastes this good!

1 tart green apple, cored and chopped (leave the skin on)
2 C cilantro/dhania, leaves and stems roughly chopped
1 TBS oil of choice (I use rice bran oil or virgin olive oil)
2 tsp ginger/adrak paste or 1-inch fresh ginger
2 tsp garlic/lahsun paste or 2 cloves garlic
1-2 green chilis/hari mirch (omit for less heat)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Kashmiri mirch or chili powder (omit or use less for less heat)
1 TBS lime juice or 1 TBS white vinegar

Here's what to do:
1) Whiz all ingredients in a mixie, blender, or food processor to a fine paste. Salt to taste.

apple, chutney, dip, green, hot, Indian, Recipe, salsa, sauce, spicy, vegan, vegetarian,

 2) Keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

apple, chutney, dip, green, hot, Indian, Recipe, salsa, sauce, spicy, vegan, vegetarian,

Helpful Hints:
Chutney keeps for 4-5 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

 If the chutney is too sour for you try adding a pinch of sugar to sweeten it up.

 If the chutney is too hot for you try adding a tablespoonful of yogurt to cool it down.

I know I'm a day late but Happy St Patrick's day!

Aug 22, 2016

Ingredient of the week: Cashews, Kaju

A native of Brazil the cashew tree was brought to India in the sixteenth century by Portuguese traders. The actual cashew nut or seed is inside a kidney shaped shell that is attached to the bottom of the edible cashew apple. Delicately sweet and somewhat buttery in flavor, cashews are used in cuisines world wide.

The cashew tree (Anacardium occidentale) is evergreen and thrives in tropical regions. It is in the same family as both mango and pistachio trees, It grows to around thirty to forty feet in height and prefers well drained soils. One of the reasons Portuguese traders introduced cashews to coastal India and Mozambique was to prevent erosion of the sandy soils. The English word cashew comes from the Portuguese word caju which is derived from Brazilian indigenous peoples'  name for the seed acajú, literally meaning "nut that produces itself."

Cashew trees flower and set fruit during the dry winter season in tropical climes. The flowers are produced in a panicle up to ten inches long. Each flower pale green at first, turning reddish or pink upon opening.

The part we know as the cashew nut forms first as it is the seed. The cashew apple is not a part of the plant ovary like most fruits and is actually just the swollen stem of the fruit.

The cashew apple turns from pale yellow to an attractive red as it ripens. Cashew apples are quite sweet and juicy with a bit of an acidic, astringent, hesperidic, and slightly peppery mango-like flavor. Unfortunately their skin is quite fragile and does not travel well so unless you live in the tropics don't expect to see them at your local grocery store.

The pulp of the cashew apple can be eaten fresh, canned in jams or chutneys, or used for juice. The sugary juice can be fermented into vinegar or distilled into an alcoholic drink called feni, fenny, uraak, or arrack.

The seed or part that we call the nut is encased in a leathery, kidney-shaped shell at the end of the cashew apple. The leathery shell contains the caustic substance anacardic acid. Anacardic acid is similar to the uroshiol oil found in  poison ivy and can produce severe skin lesions with the merest contact. 

Cashew nuts will keep well in their shell for up to two years. Because of the toxic oil in their shells processing cashews is a complex and difficult process. To neutralize the anacardic acids the nuts must be heated in their shells. Unfortunately the toxic oil is quite volatile making the fumes from this process extremely irritating to skin, eyes, and lungs also. Probably why cashews are so darned expensive. If you'd like to read the misadventures of an American who tried to open a raw cashew nut with his hands and mouth you may do so here.

Kaju Katli
Cashew nuts are called kaju in South Asia and are prized for their buttery and sweet flavor in Desi cuisines. They often appear in delicious and delicately flavored sweets like the famously fudgy kaju katli or baked into biscuits. Ground into paste or powder cashews can also be utilized to decadently thicken and enrich curries. Cashews are used whole even as simple yet elegant garnishes on both sweet and savory dishes.

Helpful Hints:
Now that we know cashews must be processed by heat we also know there's no point in paying extra money for those "raw, unprocessed" cashews sold at health food stores.
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