Sunday, May 14, 2017

Sweet Lime Chutney




Around 1995 I found a small cookbook titled: Curries of India by Harvey Day. Long out of print, this small book is a priceless collection of authentic Indian and Asia Minor recipes. I present just one here. The booklets were originally published separately but were combined into one binding. Each book kept it's original pagination.

CAVEAT: Dates burn easily. Do not leave the pot unattended. Stir like crazy. You are warned.

Curries of India
The Second Book of Curries (Book 2) by Harvey Day
Jaico Publishing House 125 Mahatma Gandhi Road
Bombay, 1
©1963
Fifth Impression 1978
India's Own Pocket Editions

Page 57

Sweet Lime Chutney

25 limes or lemons
2 oz salt
½ pint vinegar
¼ lb raisins
¼ lb dates
1 oz ginger, fresh
1 oz garlic - finely chopped
½ oz red chiles, dried
½ oz mustard seed
4 oz brown sugar

Divide the limes (or lemons) into quarters but do not separate the pieces. Rub the flesh with salt and expose the fruit to the sun for three days, turning daily, or put in a warm oven until dried off. Remove the seeds, grind the fruit in the vinegar and other ingredients, bring to a boil and simmer for half an hour. Allow to cool and bottle. Can be used at any time.

My notes: Key Limes if available. I believe that the pint refers to the British Pint, hence that is 18 fluid ounces, not the U.S. 16 of white vinegar. The limes called for would be an Indian variety which in the West we call a Key or Mexican lime. These are much smaller than the typical supermarket lime, known in the trade as a Bearss Lime. They should be had as yellow as possible. Key limes will ripen if kept in vegetable compartment of the refrigerator. They ripen quite slowly. The dates are pitted. I would use a moist date for this recipe, ex. Medjool. If you cannot find moist ones, use dry dates, but soak them in water, overnight.

Mr. Day's use of "finely chopped" may be confusing to some. Does he mean a large dice, etc.? I would aim for pieces about 2mm on a side or 1/16". Red chiles. Ahem. Mr. Day uses the Indian-English spelling of Chilli. I would suggest jaggery as it's now an available ingredient. In Harvey Day's day, they equipment used would be a vegetable chopper, pictured below. You should use your food processor.

Helpful Hints: Put the salted limes in a glass casserole and place in the sun in mid-July. (Northern Hemisphere, January in the Southern Hemisphere) Bring the casserole in the house overnight and set on a dry countertop, un-covered. During the day, rotate the fruits once in the morning and a second time in the early afternoon. But in any event, twice a day. The fruits' skin must reach dryness to prevent spoilage. I am going to use .1% of sodium benzoate in mine. I will put the sodium benzoate in the vinegar and allow it to dissolve before proceeding with the making.