Thursday, November 22, 2012

Cranberry chutney - spicy way to say Thanks on Thankgiving

Thanksgiving & Christmas have become family traditions for us after we moved here. As leaves change color, trees become bare, Summer gives way to the chill, jackets & heavy clothing wrap the body, holiday spirit sets in and the twinkling lights, shopping malls will suck you in for sure. We have over the years enjoyed these holidays with friends, family, co workers and others. Thanksgiving is very similar is spirit to the Sankranthi festival that it celebrates a plentiful harvest and lets people come together over food and say Thanks. The first Thanksgiving is thought to have been observed in the US in the 1600s.

I used to watch my co-workers & friends prepare for Thanksgiving for many days in advance. It takes a lot of planning to host a Thanksgiving family dinner where extended families sometimes travel to meet each other. It is a time for reunion, laugh & reminisce over some a spread of good food. Being a vegetarian, I only used to listen to the food stories around the holidays, remember I am not much of a baker and so didn't feel confident about the pies, cakes, brownies either. Then one day few years back, things changed. We used to go to Chinmaya Balavihar in Michigan and got invited to the Thanksgiving celebration, it was a vegetarian fare but with a focus on the local food traditions. There was roasted sweet potatoes, cranberry chutney, masala dosa (yes, that was our stuffed turkey equivalent).

We celebrate Thanksgiving at home with masala dosa, an Indianized cranberry chutney, oven roasted sweet potatoes & butternut squashes and corn bread. So I use most of the harvest ingredients and make the menu my own which I think is a wonderful way of customizing the celebration. Earlier this week, walking down the isles of Whole Foods market, I found an entire section dedicated to vegan Thanksgiving, it had Tofurkey, squashes, cranberry sauces and other things.

Cranberries are those super berries with a lot of health benefits. The tart berries are known to help fight against diabetes, cholesterol build up and urinary tract infections. Cranberry sauces I get here in the stores are too sweet for my taste and almost jam like, so in my usual tradition of finding a spicy alternative I have zeroed in on this recipe of a spicy chutney. All you need are 3 basic ingredients with some salt thrown in and 10 minutes of cook time, you will have a delicious spread. I have heard you get frozen cranberries in India also, go ahead and give this a try for a refreshing change in your chutney varieties. One of my friends who ate this when she came home for the Bommala koluvu has been asking me to put the recipe on the blog, so here it is for you N. Enjoy..

We had a very relaxing Thanksgiving brunch earlier today and enjoyed the food. As I reflect on what I am thankful for, there is indeed plenty. I am blessed in a lot of ways starting with a wonderful, loving family, host of friends that care, good health, my work. This year has been extra special with the blogging and I am very grateful for the happiness blogging gives me. It is fulfilling and relaxing and I am very happy for all the friends I have made through my blog. Thank you All!

For those of you in the US of A, if you are planning on a Black Friday shopping, stay warm, stay safe. We don't have any big shopping agenda but will hit the malls for a few hours just to be part of the fun :-). See you later this week.
What do you need to make Cranberry chutney? 
1/4 pound cranberries (I used fresh, bagged ones)
6-8 dry red chilies (adjust to taste)
1/4 of a medium onion chopped into thin strips
1 Tsp salt (adjust to taste)
1 Tblsp fenugreek seeds
1 Tsp oil
1 Tsp oil
1 Tsp mustard
1/4 Tsp asafoetida
a few curry leaves

How do you make Cranberry chutney?
  • Dry roast fenugreek seeds on medium heat until the seeds turn pink and start to pop. Keep aside to cool. 
  • Heat a Tsp of oil in a pan and roast the red chilies for a minute, set aside. 
  • Add the sliced onions to the same pan, add salt to hasten the cooking process and roast for a minute or two until onion turns limp. 
  • Add the washed cranberries to the pan and continue to fry for 5-6 minutes. 
  • The cranberries pop, turn into a mush, at this stage switch off the stove and let it come to room temperature. 
  • Make a dry powder of the roasted fenugreek seeds and red chilies. 
  • Add the cranberry & onion mixture and pulse it in your blender. Avoid adding any water and make it into a paste by pulsing it. 
  • Make a seasoning with mustard, asafoetida and curry leaves roasted in oil and pour it over the chutney. 
  • Seasoning is optional and if you do not want to season the chutney, add the asafoetida while grinding the other ingredients. 
  • Cranberries are quite tart in taste, make sure you balance the taste with a good amount of red chilies and salt. 
  • Avoid adding water while grinding and let the ingredients cool down completely before grinding them.


Vidya said...

Delicious and inviting chutney..nice clicks.

Vijayalakshmi Dharmaraj said...

very nice chutney...
Today's Recipe - Gulab Jamun SNC No - 2

Premalatha Aravindhan said...

wow yummy chutney...

NamsVeni Pothas said...

happy Thanks Giving to sattvaa readers. wonder full menu. very tasty and we are so exited with this special menu. thank you very much for the wonderfull brunh..

Alamelu said...

Lovely recipe.. a friend of mine here makes a sweet n spicy version of cranberry chutney... most of us just eat it up like jam.

Priya R said...

cranberry chutney looks so yum and i love the color, nice write up dear

Priya said...

I never had a chance to celebrate thankgiving coz its doesnt exist in France, thats really a wonderful to celebrate it na,that too with our foods.

Btw cranberry chutney looks fabulous, undortunately i dont get this berries here.

Julie said...

wow,yummy delicious chutney..happy Thanksgiving to u!
Join my ongoing EP events-Asafoetida OR Fennel seeds @ Divya's Culinary Journey

Kannada Cuisine said...

Happy Thanksgiving Nagashree...chutney looks very good