Confession #1: I love mangoes.
I’ve had mango on the brain a lot recently. It all started when my mother randomly gave me a mango, combined with an Indian food dinner outing at Spice Melody. Sidenote: Indian food may become a new staple cuisine for dinner out since 97% of the menu is naturally gluten free. Score.
But back to mangos… At dinner I ate an appetizer of Bhel Puri – puffed gram flour rice served with onions, cilantro and assorted chutneys. It was crunchy, a little sweet, a little spicy and almost instantly, made me start craving mango chutney. Do you ever get an idea stuck in your head and it won’t go away till you do something about it? That’s how it was for me. I’ve been thinking about it now for weeks and finally had to make it.
A google search or two provided basic inspirations. I finally decided to go with Alton Brown’s recipe, because in my mind he can basically do no wrong – other than becoming just a bit too cheesy on the Food Network Show, The Next Iron Chef. But i’ll let that slide, for now.
Confession #2: We didn’t eat dinner till almost 9pm.
This recipe takes some time. In my defense, I also started making dinner pretty late. Mostly, there’s a bit of chopping involved and you have to super careful peeling and cutting up your mango. Those guys are slippery little devils once a bit of their skin is off – and with a sharp pairing knife in your hand, you better take your time and hold on to it.
I remember the first time I made a mango salsa and had to peel and cut them up. It was an experience to say the least and fortunately I kept all fingers intact. If you’ve never dealt with one before, I recommend watching this video first. Those three minutes are three minutes well spent and will save a lot of frustration.
Step 1 – Peel and chop the mangoes, onion, red pepper, and peel and grate your ginger. Take pretty pictures a long the way if you’d like.
When buying ginger root, go ahead and buy a big piece. You probably won’t need all of it but it’s super cheap. Having it on hand for later recipes is convenient and much tastier than using ground ginger. In your first prep when using ginger, peel the whole thing with either a peeler or pairing knife. Grate or chop what you need of it and then stick it in the freezer for later use. When frozen, it grates even easier using a microplane.
Step 2 – Measure and pour the orange juice and vinegar into a separate bowl and mix in the sugar and curry powder. I also added a dash or two of Saigon Cinnamon, because… well, I love cinnamon in almost everything.
Step 3 – Add oil and red pepper flakes to your pot and lightly toast them to flavor the oil. Make sure not burn them! (Start over if you do so). Add the onions and saute till soft, do not brown. Then add the red bell pepper and grated ginger, saute 1 to 2 minutes. Add mango and cook for one more minute.
Confession #3: The light above my stove is terrible, awful, needs to be replaced, and yellow. My first few attempts to get the above picture failed miserably resulting in disgusting looking blurry chutney. To take this photo, I brought the pot over to my counter, placed it on a trivet and used the nice white cabinet lighting to get an appealing, tasty photo. Don’t be afraid to do this to get good pictures!
Step 4 – Add reserved mixture of orange juice, vinegar, sugar, and curry powder. Stir to combine, bring to a bare simmer and let reduce for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper. Add raisens and nuts and transfer to another container over an ice bath.
Confession #5: I was a bit of a scatter brain that night and forgot to add the brown sugar, only realizing it when I tasted the chutney while it was cooking and thought it was a bit vinegary. I then saw my new bag of brown of sugar sitting on the counter, unopened. I added it at that time and all was saved.
Confession #6: I completely forgot to add the raisins and was disappointed I did. They would have been wonderful in it. The original recipe also calls for chopped macadamia nuts which would have been good, but I intentionally left them out for budgetary reasons. If you have them or walnuts on hand, go ahead and add them too.
Confession #7: I also wanted to add a little cilantro at the end to sprinkle over the chicken, but once again completely forgot.
Confession #8: I didn’t do the ice bath, and just transferred the chutney to a bowl while I cooked my chicken.
Confession #9: We only ate chicken and chutney for dinner. No veggies, no side dish. And that was completely fine for us that night 🙂
(adapted from Alton Brown)
Makes about 2 cups
- 2 pounds fresh mangoes, ripe but not too soft, peeled
- 1.5 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon chile flakes
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons minced/grated fresh ginger
- 1/2 cup or 1 small red bell pepper, diced
- 4 ounces unsweetened orange juice
- 2 ounces cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup macadamia nuts or walnuts, if desired
- sprinkling of cilantro, if desired
- Peel and roughly chop mango. Dice onion and pepper, peel and grate ginger.
- In a bowl mix together orange juice, vinegar, sugar and curry powder.
- In a saute pan, add oil and toast red pepper flakes, making sure not to burn them.
- Add onion, sweat till soft. Add red bell pepper and ginger, saute 1 to 2 minutes. Add mango, cook an additional minute.
- Pour in reserved mixture of orange juice, vinegar, sugar and curry powder. Stir to combine. Bring to bare simmer and reduce for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Season with salt and pepper. Add raisins and nuts and transfer to another container over an ice bath.
- Serve over chicken, top with cilantro if desired.
Confession #10: We also ate multiple pieces of chocolate for dessert. It was one of those days.