Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Wonders of Chutney

Chutney originated in India. Hindu is one of the main practiced religions in India, and vegetarianism is one of the beliefs of that religion. The original popularity of Chutney makes sense knowing that fact. Authentically made fresh, sugar was not used until wanting to preserve it for storage. Having made its way across continents, it eventually became commercialized.

To define it specifically, it is a pungent relish made of fruits, spices and herbs. A popular version is made with mangoes, but it can be made with pears or apples, or just about any kind of fruit. Depending on your mood, whether its sweet, sour, zesty, or spicy, chutney can be made to satisfy your taste buds. Served cold or warm, it compliments all meats. As an appetizer, Chutney makes a scrumptious salsa or dip. With over 2000 varieties made, it will be easy to find your own personal favorite.

Chicken Salad with Chutney

2 boneless chicken breasts
3 medium size apples
3 tbsp. mango-ginger chutney
1 1/2 cup grapes
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup toasted coconut
3 cups romaine lettuce
2 tablespoons vanilla flavoring
1 1/2 to 2 cups mayonnaise. You can substitute Low-fat mayonnaise for fewer calories.

In a large frying pan cook chicken breasts after spraying pan with non-stick oil. Let pan heat up. Add orange juice and vanilla flavoring to pan and cover. Cook on medium heat allowing juice and flavoring to seep into chicken until liquid is gone. Turn off heat and allow chicken to cool.
Peel and chop up apples to desired size, after rinsing them. For better taste, cut apples into small cubes.
Rinse and drain grapes and cut each grape in half. You can also cut in thirds if you prefer.
Cut up your chicken breasts. A good way to do this is too cut diagonally across each chicken breast and then horizontally.
In medium sized salad bowl, add chicken, lettuce, apples and grapes. You can toast the coconut easily by spreading it out thinly on a cookie sheet and putting in oven at 350 degrees for about one minute. Watch closely since every oven is different. You will be able to tell by looking at it, if that is sufficient time by how brown the coconut is. If not brown enough, stick in oven again, but watch it carefully so it doesn't burn. Once cooled, add coconut to your salad mixture.
Add 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise and mix well. If you like a more slippery salad add additional mayonnaise until satisfied with result. Now add your mango-ginger chutney on top.
Put covered salad into refrigerator and let cool completely. It will take approximately 3 hours for it to be completely chilled and ready to eat. This serves 2-3 people. Divide salad into 2 or 3 salad bowls when ready to serve.

Tomato Pepper Chutney

This is an easy recipe that is excellent served with tortilla chips, or as a zesty dressing on salads or poultry.

4 large tomatoes, skinned and diced finely2 tablespoons finely chopped white onion1 1/2 tsp. green pepper, seeded and finely chopped 1 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice2 teaspoon sugar1/4 teaspoon salt1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 tsp. cilantro (optional more according to taste preference)

Mix all ingredients in medium sized bowl. Place in refrigerator. This is excellent with tortilla chips, or as a zesty dressing on salads or chicken.

Cranberry Pear Chutney


3 Pears, peeled and diced
3 tbsp. fresh cranberries, rinsed
1 medium onion, rinsed, diced finely
1 tsp. grated fresh orange peel
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup apple vinegar (red wine vinegar can be used as well)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. all spice
1/4 tsp. salt

Put all ingredients in medium sized pan. Cover and allow simmering for approximately one hour. Allow cooling in refrigerator. This Chutney would accompany English muffins or toast in the morning.
It is really just up to your imagination for recipes and uses for Chutney. Let your creativity roam and make up your own version.

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