It is true what they say – necessity is the mother of invention. A while ago, when I was planning our post-holiday turkey curry, that traditional British way of using up leftover Christmas turkey (à la Bridget Jones), I hesitated because of the lack of mango chutney. The recipe which is a tried and true one in our kitchen lists mango chutney as one of the ingredients, plus any type of curry isn’t quite the same without that condiment dolloped on the side. Mango chutney (and mangos) can be found here in Greece. However, if you can find them, they come with a hefty price tag.
While in the laiki (market) just before Christmas, pondering this dilemma, I happened to spot a lovely display of persimmons. True, they are not the same as mangos – either in flavour or texture. However, they do have a similar shape and colour (at least on the inside). This thought lead to another and I wondered how they would taste as a chutney. On impulse, a few of these orange beauties were purchased.
After a bit of searching, I did find a few recipes for persimmon chutney, but I kept coming back to a mango chutney recipe I’ve used many times before and happen to like. A first batch was made, consumed and enjoyed – some with that holiday turkey curry. With this first batch, however, I discovered that the persimmon flesh is not a juicy as the mango, so the resulting chutney was a bit chunky and less jam-like. I immediately bought more persimmons before they could disappear from the market stalls at the end of their season and modified the next batch. It is just as delicious, but juicier. I’m now set for future curry making.
A modification on a mango chutney recipe. I used the larger hachiya persimmons, but the more common fuyu variety can also be used – just add a few more to get the quantity of flesh.
Enough for 2 large (500ml) jars
- 420g sugar
- 250ml water
- 250ml cider vinegar
- 6 large soft, but still firm persimmons yielding about 1kg 300g of peeled, chopped pieces
- 1 medium to large onion
- 80g golden raisins
- 1 inch cube of fresh ginger
- 1 Tablespoon nigella seeds
- 1 crushed peperoncini (or 1/4 teaspoon chilli pepper flakes)
Peel, core and chop the persimmon into small pieces. Set aside in a large bowl. Finely chop the onion and peel and grate the ginger. Place the sugar, water and vinegar in a large jam making pot and turn on the heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Add the persimmon, onion and ginger. Then add the raisins, nigella seeds and hot pepper.
Stir and allow it to come to a boil. Immediately turn down the heat to low and let it bubble for about 1 and a half hours, stirring occasionally. You can use a heat diffuser if you have one to help prevent the chutney from burning on the bottom of the pan.
When the mixture has been cooked and it is moist, but does not have too much liquid, mash the persimmons a bit with a potato masher. Turn off the heat and pot up in sterilised jars.