It seems as if without a bowl of chatni Bengali platter is never complete. The little bowl of chatni at the end of any meal brings a fulfillment to the meal. Chatni, for those who are not so aware of this word, is a sweet serving prepared of tomato, ripe mango, pineapple, or for that matter any sour fruits and even dry fruits. Chatni is prepared in various styles in all Bengali households. The preparation also depends on the season; tomato for winter, ripe mango for the summers, or any seasonal fruits during its time. The main ingredient though a fruit it is often accompanied with sugar or jaggery for enhancing the sweetness of the dish.
The last time when I went home, mom gave me a whole jar of jaggery. I had completely forgotten about it, last night I was cleaning up the kitchen when I found this jar, and the first thing that came to mind was having it with milk and rice. I was thinking of what else to do with that, when I saw the tomatoes. The answer to my question was instantaneous; chatni is the best option.
I prepared it this way; you can prepare it in any way possible. I will try to post some other types of chatni on my following posts. The combination of jaggery and dry chili helps in increasing its shelf life to almost two days without refrigeration.
For this chatni the only spice used is panch phoron. Panch phoron, as the name suggests is a combination of five different spices; “panch”, meaning five and “phoron” is spice. Nigella, cumin, fenugreek, fennel, and mustard mixed in same proportions are used for preparing panch phoron. This combination of spices is an earmark of Bengali cuisine. It is used in preparations like Khichudi and vegetarian dishes .
Tomato: 6 medium sizes
Palm Jaggery (Taler gur): 2 tablespoon
Bay leaf (Tej pata): 2
Dried chili (Sukhno Lanka): 2
Cashew nuts (Kaju): 5 or 6, cut into small pieces
Mustard Oil (Sarser Tel): 1 teaspoon
Panch Phoron: ½ teaspoon
- Cut the tomatoes into quarters
- Heat oil in a wok, as it gets heated throw in the panch phoron and bay leaves
- When the panch phoron starts popping put in the tomatoes and red chilies along with the jaggery
- Add little salt and stir the tomatoes well, partly mashing them
- Let the tomatoes be cooked in low flame
- As the tomatoes softens pour in the cashew nuts and take out of flame
Tips: Do not add water for the tomatoes to cook, this will make the chatni taste watery, and that doesn’t feel good.
Check for more updates from my kitchen, till then Happy Cooking and Happy Eating