Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Plum Thoku (chutney, pickle, spread...whatever you want to call it)

I had a lot of plums sitting in my fridge. I have been getting them in my weekly organic produce box from Tiny's organic. I love plums, but eating ATLEAST two a day for more then 3 weeks gets boring, so I had to find out some ways to use them up:). I have one more organic produce box due tomorrow, and I am sure I am getting more plums:)
I looked up online for spicy/savory eggless and vegetarian recipes using plum, but couldn't find anything that I liked. So, I thought of using them up by making plum thoku, just like I made the tomato thoku to use up the whole lot of tomatoes I got from my veggie garden.

While I was getting the plums out of my fridge, I saw that I also had a small bag full of tomatillos. I had planned to make tomatillo salsa out of them, but then I thought that the sourness of the tomatillos will go well with the sweet plum, and I might get a very good tasting pickle (thoku) with this combination. I wasn't wrong!!. My husband and I were licking our spoons when I emptied with pickle from the cooking pan to a jar:). Here is the recipe for the Plum-Tomatillo thoku I made.

Note: As mentioned above, I added Tomatillos as an after thought. My initial plan was to make the thoku using the plums. If you do not have tomatillos, you can add about 1.5 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to give some tartness to the thoku/chutney/pickle.

5 Medium Plums, Finley Chopped (about 1.5 cups Chopped)
5 Medium Tomatillos, Finley Chopped (about 1.5 Cups Chopped)
Salt to Taste,
2 Tablespoon Jaggery (Gud), Grated (adjust the amount based on the sweetness of the plum)
1/4 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder,
2 Tablespoon Sāmbhar Masala,

To Roast and Grind:
1/2 Teaspoon Oil,
5 Dried Red Chills
1.5 Teaspoon Fenugreek Seeds (Methi Seeds)

To Temper:
1/2 Teaspoon Oil
1 Teaspoon Mustard Seeds,
1/4 Teaspoon Asafoetida,

Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in a pan. Once it is hot, turn the heat to medium-low and add the dried chilis and fenugreek seeds. Cook on medium-low flame for about 3-4 minutes, or until the fenugreek seeds start changing color. Do not let the seeds turn dark brown. This will give a very bitter after taste. Just roast the seeds until golden brown. Take off the stove, and transfer to a mixer grinder and set aside. Grind to a coarse powder. ( I used mortar and pastel).

Heat the remaining 1/2 teaspoon in the same pan. Once hot, add the mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds stop spluttering, add the Asafoetida and tomatillos and cover immediately. Turn the heat to medium and cook covered for 30 seconds. Take off the lid, then add the turmeric powder and salt. No need to add any water as far as the heat is set to low, and the tomatillos are getting soft and releasing water. Cover and cook stirring often.
When the tomatillos are half cooked, add the plums. Cover and cook for 1-2 minutes. Take off the heat, and roughly mash the fruits in the pan with the help of a potato masher. Add little water if the mixture is getting too dry and if the fruits are not completely cooked yet. (I didn't have to add any water).
Once the plums are almost done, add the ground methi-chili powder, Sāmbhar powder and jaggery. Stir well. Cover with a splatter screen. Cook until the mixture gets thick (like chutney/spread consistency). Turn off the stove and let the mixture cool down completely.

Serve as a side with puri, paratha, roti or spread it on toast. Tastes good on its own too.

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