Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Bengal Relish - Hot Stuff!

This is the time of year for finishing things up, clearing away the last of the summer crops, (and thinking of things to do with them). I left my outdoor tomatoes a few days too long, and many if the fruits have the tell tale browning of exposure to too cold overnight temperatures. So I gathered them all in yesterday, and spent a hour or so sorting out the undamaged ones to keep indoors for ripening,** and chopped up  the damaged fruits for chutney making.

I've adapted an old WI recipe from a 1970s book I have for the green tomatoes this year. It's actually quite some years since I had any green tomatoes to use up so I'm looking forward to tasting the results of this old recipe. It's called Bengal Relish, - I think that's probably because it's a bit spicy, and in the old days anything spicy was thought to be Indian, hence Bengal. I somewhat doubt that they have green tomatoes to use up in Bengal! Anyway this is a relish, rather than a chutney, the difference being mostly in the amount of time that the mixture is cooked for. Relishes are usually more firm or crunchy in texture, whereas chutneys are long, slow cooked mixtures with a softer texture. You'll need to start the day before as you have to salt the vegetables for a day. This draws out the moisture and helps keep the relish firm.

**even the greenest of tomatoes can be encouraged to ripen up if placed in a drawer with a banana for company, apparently the ethylene gas given off by the banana encourages the toms to ripen.

Bengal Relish

obviously halve or double the recipe according to how many green tomatoes you have, I happen to have about four pounds, so..

4pounds/2kg  green tomatoes, chopped
1 small white cabbage, shredded
2 red peppers, chopped
1lb/500gr chopped onions
4 oz/100 gr salt
 2 chillis 
small piece of horseradish grated
cider vinegar
1 lb/500grsugar
spices -1 teaspoon each of cinnamon,nutmeg,alllspice,celeryseed, and mustard seed

Chop up the vegetables and sprinkle with the salt. Leave overnight.
Tip the veg into a colander to drain and rinse with fresh cold water to remove the salt.
Place in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and drain.
Almost cover with cider vinegar, add the sugar and spices and bring to boiling point. Simmer for 7 minutes stirring occasionally.
Pot into warm jars and cover. Keep for 4-6 weeks before use.

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