Onion ChutneyMonday May 21, 2012
Recipe: Onion Chutney
Summary: When I was a freshman in college, I ate lunch at one of the many fine Indian restaurants in Providence, Rhode Island, almost every day. This style of raw onion chutney was always on offer. Unfortunately, I’ve rarely seen it outside of the Northeast, and I didn’t see it at all when I was in Delhi.
If you crave the sweet, pungent crunch of raw onion, you’ll find this chutney addictive. It goes well with curries like the Chana Masala with Mushrooms and, even better, with fried tidbits like Indian Potato Fritters or pakora (which are like Indian tempura with a chickpea flour batter).
I like to add a couple drops of red food coloring to give this chutney a more attractive color and make it resemble the restaurant version. You can certainly skip this. If you would like to use natural food coloring, India Tree makes a nice set of them (available at Whole Foods or from amazon.com). You could also use a teaspoon of beet juice.
- 1 1⁄2 cups very finely diced white onion or sweet onion (such as Vidalia or Walla Walla)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 or 2 drops red food coloring (optional)
- 1. Soak the onion in a generous amount of cold water for 30 minutes. Don’t skip this step; it removes a bit of the harsh bite.
- 2. Heat the vegetable oil in a small skillet over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the mustard seeds and cook until they begin to pop and turn gray, about 1 minute. Add the cumin and cayenne; 10 seconds later (before the cumin can burn) add the tomato paste, vinegar, and salt. Remove from the heat.
- 3. Drain the onion thoroughly, then stir the spice mixture into it. Stir in the food coloring, if using. Taste and adjust the seasoning. You may like a little more vinegar, salt, or cayenne. You can serve this right away or keep it in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 days.
Cooking time: 30 minute(s)
Diet type: Vegan; Gluten-Free
Makes: 1 1/2 cups