We are right at the cusp of my favorite holiday. My kids get excited about Thanksgiving too, for them is mostly about visiting friends and family while for me it is about the food. I would like to think I have finished most of my food shopping, but, there is always stuff that keeps popping up. My thanksgiving menu like most of the other food in my house is re-worked with some Indian spices. I shall be posting some of my recipe as we go along, so keep checking into to Spices and Seasons, to see what I will be cooking. As for this one, some technical glitches made this one an evening post, not bad for a change of pace.
A versatile quick fix that I add to almost anything for that touch of spicy flavor is a spice mixture that is a mixture of five whole spices, cumin, mustard, nigella, fennel and fenugreek. It is a colorful mixture of spices that are bursting with flavor and usually toasted in hot oil and used for seasoning. The Bengali Five Spice Blend or Panch (Five) Phoron ( Whole Spices). A little goes a long way, in seasoning things.
This spice is one of the signature spice in the cuisine of Eastern India, and very popular in my kitchen.
Our recipe today pairs seasonal cranberries with the five spice blend to produce a chutney that adds a touch of nuance and flavor to the cranberry relish, that I make with cranberries, dates and brown sugar tempered with a touch of the five spice blend.
If you want to actually want to see what this tastes like, you can certainly make it yourself or stop by this Saturday at 11 AM the Greenburgh Public Library where I shall be doing a cooking demo and serving up chutney samples and signing copies of my just released Bengali Five Spice Chronicles. I would love to see you there.
The recipe I feature here uses tomatoes, but you can leave them out or used packaged tomatoes and just increase the amount of cranberries.
- 2 tablespoons oil
- ½ tsp panch phoron (page 5)
- 2 or 3 dried red chilies
- 6 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
- ½ cup fresh cranberries
- ½ cup fresh dates, cut into thin slices
- ? cup or more dark brown sugar or molasses
- Heat the oil in a wok or skillet.
- Add the panch phoron and red chilies and saute until the chilies darken and the panch phoron crackles, about 40 seconds.
- At this point add the tomatoes and cranberries and cook for about 4 minutes.
- Add the fresh dates and brown sugar or molasses (you can add additional brown sugar if you like a sweeter chutney) and cook the chutney until it is fairly thick, about 15 minutes.
- Chill the chutney before serving.
Rinku Bhattacharya is a daytime financial professional, who spends the rest of her time immersed in food. Rinku is the author of the blog, Cooking in Westchester, where she shares her life experiences, original recipes that combine Indian flavors with produce from her backyard and local farmers markets. Rinku is blessed with a gardener husband, who always surprises her with a prolific and fresh supply of produce to keep her creative instincts flowing. Rinku has been teaching recreational cooking classes for the past six years, and has found her classes a great way to teach and learn. Her cookbook the Bengali Five Spice Chronicles, shares over 180 recipes made simple. Rinku can be found on facebook, twitter and pinterest.