A Date with a chutney … or a Chutney with a Date. This blog is about both. Yet another of my long pending projects that await my fickle mood and mind, until something catalyzes the process and helps it come to fruition.
So this time my reminder was the presence of the plump Mejdool variety of dates that found their way to me via a Diwali hamper sent by the Just Be Restocafe.
Dates are one of the most versatile fruits both nutritionally and with their conduciveness to punning 😎
There are infinite recipes and ways of incorporating them in our diet.
One of my favorite ways of consuming them is via this sweet and tangy Date Chutney that is as versatile in its uses, as its star ingredient itself.
The Date fruit grows in clusters on the Phoenix Dactylifera, commonly known as the date palm. Even though it is cultivated in abundance mainly in the Middle Eastern countries, this fruit is popular the world over.
The Date is an amazing fruit with innumerable nutritional benefits, being rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants etc. It is also a healthier alternative to sweeten your dishes and can used in place of sugar wherever possible.
There are several varieties of dates and though most of what we get in India are random and not really classified, one can still look for specific cultivars in stores that are dedicated to selling dry fruits and nuts or even online on specific portals.
The Mejdools that triggered this post, are one of the most superior variety, being plump, luscious and cloyingly sweet.
This recipe however, used ordinary black dates as my store names them and while they are not of Mejdool pedigree, they nevertheless do fine in this chutney 😀
This recipe works best with soft, squishy and sweet dates as compared to the dry, dehydrated and tougher variants.
Date chutney –
There are infinite ways of making date chutneys and relishes and I tasted this particular chutney at a party where a friend had made a big bowlful. This was a big hit and people were more interested in the chutney than the accompanying items and when I was told that this was a super easy recipe and also had a reasonably long shelf life in the fridge/freezer, I made sure I immediately took down the details from my friend.
Recipe for Date Chutney –
Soft pitted dates – 250 gm (See Notes)
Onion – 200 gm
Byadgi chillies – 20 gm (see Notes)
Salt – 1 teaspoon
Sugar – 1/2 teaspoon
Vinegar – 1 cup
Lime juice – 1 tablespoon
You can chop the dates roughly or leave them whole if they are really soft.
Dry roast the Byadgi chillies lightly and cool them.
Peel and slice the onions.
Grind the chillies in a mixer. Then add the onions, dates, sugar and salt and grind further.
Add the lime juice.
Add the vinegar little by little to facilitate easy grinding.
Once the chutney reaches a smooth consistency, remove it from the mixer and store it in an airtight bottle in the fridge.
This stays good for a week in the fridge and maybe a month in the freezer.
The chutney can be used in various ways. Your imagination is the limit 😀
Apart from using it as a dip or spread, you can also add it to certain cooked dishes like a sauce, to add a sweet and sour tang.
Use 250gm of pitted weight. If the dates have seeds, remove them and then weigh.
Byadgi chillies are those with all noise and no action 😀 Meaning, they have a fiery red in color but no not add much heat at all. They are identified by their dry and crinkly skin.
So if you want some spice, you can also add some spicy variety of dry chillies.
We sometimes add the Sambar (Madras) variety of chillies when we are in the mood for adventure 😎
I hope you will successfully try this recipe and I would really appreciate if you leave your feedback in the Blog comments.