Saturday, June 2, 2012

Tomato Chutney

How about some tomato chutney Bengali style? It is fairly simple provided you have no objection to a little mustard oil. This particular chutney serves as an excellent accompaniment to any meal, though Bengalis normally do not have it as an accompaniment, a typical Bengali meal begins with something bitter like a karela dish, then comes some dal chawal which is accompanied with some fried stuff, followed by some vegetarian dishes, then come the non-vegetarian dishes. The meal normally ends with some papad, followed by chutney and finally  some mishti--- that is the Bengali
word for sweets. I guess it is needless to mention here that this is not what a Bengali will have every day, certain courses for instance the karela maybe skipped, some veggies maybe skipped when they are not in season. Now, I being a fourth generation migrant Bengali, I am used to having the chutney as an accompaniment and not at the end; in fact when I once visited some friends in Calcutta, I requested them to serve the chutney with the main course.
Bengalis make different types of chutney, I have already posted the Ber Chutney made by mom, this time it is the tomato chutney. The photo you see above is of the tomato chutney made by mom.
  • 3 big tomatoes
  • A teaspoon of mustard oil
  • A pinch or ¼ teaspoon of mustard seeds
  • A pinch of salt
  • A ¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • A ¼ teaspoon of ginger paste or finely chopped ginger
  • Sugar to taste, add enough sugar to make it nice and sweet.
  • Few drops of lemon juice
Before I go on to the method, I would like to point out that barring the sugar you have to be careful with the quantity of all the other ingredients for the chutney just has to have a hint of the flavours of the other ingredients.
  • Chop the tomatoes
  • Heat very little mustard oil, just about a teaspoon, in a kadhai or wok.
  • Add the mustard seeds
  • Once the seeds begin to crackle add the chopped tomatoes
  • Add turmeric powder
  • Stir a bit and add a pinch of salt. The salt will not only help balance the flavours but also help soften tomatoes.
  • Add the ginger
  • Stir it a bit and then add the sugar
  • Once again stir and then add some water. You have to use your judgement but it would be better not to add too much water for the chutney will become too watery.
  • Now cover and cook till done, take care to stir intermittently.
  • Add a few drops of lemon juice before you switch off the flame. The lemon juice not only helps to balance the flavours  but also acts as a preservative.
If you look closely at the photo of the tomato chutney you will notice that Ma had added a few pieces of raw mangoes to the chutney. The raw mangoes add a nice tangy flavour to the chutney,  if you do want to add raw mangoes then take care to immediately add the sugar soon after you have added the salt, for the salt can soften the mangoes thereby releasing its sour juices and you will soon find yourself adding tonnes of sugar to sweeten the chutney.
Finally I would like to add here that ten months after Ma’s demise I feel happy to once again post a recipe of a dish prepared by her.


  1. Ah, a recipe for a dish that I actually have made before! Last night, I had a lovely sweet-sour mango chutney that reminded me of this timator chutney, so it's quite a coincidence that I read this new post this morning.

    1. Oh so you have made this one, I love this and also aamer ombol that is the chutney made from raw mangoes.Hope to post that soon.

    2. Oh, yes - please post that! There are lots of raw mangoes in the market, and I've been wanting to make a raw mango chutney, only I don't have a recipe.

    3. I will try my best Madhu, I am terribly short of time.

  2. Whenever I read your recipes, I feel hungry, Shilpi. :-) Not only is the dish itself tasty, the way you write - putting your feelings into it - makes it that much more enticing. There are lots of food blogs out there, many good ones too - but most of them are so "professional" (or try so hard to be "professional") that somehow the fun goes out of it all. Yours comes straight from the heart - that's what I like most about it.

    Keep going!!! Nice to see you blogging.

    1. Thank you so much Raja for those kind words, it really helps me keep going. I do feel guilty for not being able to reply to all the comments on time but thank you very, very much for that wonderful comment.

  3. Hi Shilpi, Guess we were destined to meet today and then connect in this cyberspace.
    I have tasted this tomato chutney made by our Bengali family friend. Am not too fond of tomato ketchup hence didnt expect much from the chutney either.But I was left licking my fingers. Will try your recipe. I shall introduce my colleague at work to your blog. She speaks about Kolkata and the cuisine with such great passion but is always at a loss of how to make the dish. She sure will love reading this blog. Keep going...Jane

    1. Hey Jane nice to see your comment. Sorry for the delayed reply, you see I just had a hacking scare and was therefore spending a better part of the evening trying to find out how to protect my blog. Hope to see you soon on cyberspace or shall I say to our food blogging community.

  4. love this chutney as thats my most fav. chutney.

  5. Tomato chutney!
    Is mustard oil mandatory. Can I use rape-seed oil? Rape-seed and Mustard are related.
    Everytime I ate tomato chutney (once in O Calcutta and once at a friend's place) I loved it!
    I will try it out as soon as the local tomatoes come. That should be soon!
    Nice to read your recipes again!

    1. Harvey I have no clue about rape-seed oil but I guess you could try refined sunflower oil and in anycase the quantity of oil used in this recipe is almost miniscule so it should not make any difference I guess.

  6. Thats a fantastic Khatta meettha tangy chutney Shilpi ! Sure would love to try this Bengali version of Tomato Chutney. Thank you so much for sharing your Ma's legacy to Healthy Morsels-Baby and Toddler Foods. Hoping to see more of your recipes :)

  7. Liebe Shilpi,

    wie geht's dir? Ich bin momentan in Indien. Kein Urlaub, sondern wegen Gesundheitsprobleme. Deswegen, konnte ich nicht viel im Blog konzentrieren. Aber, mir geht es jetzt gut, keine Sorge. :)

    Das Link zum Image ist:

    Hoeffentlich funktioniert es :)

    Tomato Chutney looks yummmm.... Thank you for sharing with us :)