So, today I decided to use up the dorset naga chilli we picked at Edible Ornamentals in Chawston, Bedfordshire. I also had an oversized courgette-turned-marrow, and had a craving for something to replace tamarind chutney in the chaat that I was also craving (more of which later). Anyway, after reading numerous recipes online for how to make chutney (this is my first experiment in chutney), this is how my experiment went…
3 onions: dice and sautee
1 dorset naga chilli: chop finely with rubber gloves on, add to onion
The Dorset Naga is, according to Wikipedia, the Naga Morich chilli, and is a subspecies of the Red Naga aka Ghost chilli, which is apparently being developed into a weapon (like pepper spray) in India…! Wikipedia also tells me that both of these chillis can have a Maximum Scoville Rating of >1,000,000. This is a measure of the capsaicin (C18H27NO3) in the fruit, which is the molecule that makes chillis “hot”. Between 2007 and 2012, the Red Naga was hottest in the world, at 400 times hotter than Tabasco!
Knowing all this, I tried a little bit raw. It was indeed hot, but nibbling on a little piece did not, thankfully, incapacitate me. I was, therefore, able to continue with the cooking after a small glass of milk and a briefly runny nose! Sorry, probably shouldn’t mention that kind of thing when describing food. However, this is my experimental lab book, so I feel compelled to record what happens. It was actually quite tasty, with a kind of savoury flavour, aside from the hotness.
And as an aside about the effectiveness of milk for reducing the burning. It’s definitely better than water, as capsaicin is hydrophobic, meaning it doesn’t dissolve in water. Drinks that contain fat (eg milk) or alcohol will remove the capsaicin better, although there’s also the risk of the liquid simply spreading the heat around your mouth. Which definitely happens! So I recommend alcohol as it also dulls the senses.
Anyway, to continue with the recipe…
2 mild + one quite hot chilli: ditto
A load of marrow-courgette: dice and add to pan. I cut off the hard skin and the seeds that were more like squash than courgette.
1 tomato: dice and add to pan.
1 small green apple: ditto, and added the core for the pectin to help set the chutney. (not sure if that did much really)
Large pinch ground ginger
Few coriander seeds (these were good, might add as much as a half or even a whole teaspoon next time)
Few crunches of ground coriander
Big squeeze tomato puree/leftover tomato sauce plus a bit of water
Probably about 200-300ml vinegar (cider and white wine). Being a pretty rubbish experimentalist, I didn’t measure this, just chucked in what seemed “about right”.
A load of sugar, just poured in to taste. Possibly about 100g.
I didn’t assemble the ingredients beforehand for a nice picture, like they do on TV, or on less shambolic blogs. That was because I was making it up as I went along, but for the record, here’s some of the ingredients once I’d finished putting it all in the pan:
I then simmered the ingredients for about 45-60 minutes until it seemed about done, tasted good, and had made the whole room smell like vinegar. I cooked a jar at 130C in the oven for about half an hour, and then once both the chutney and jar cooled put the former in the latter. I also immediately used it in a made up chaat recipe (which will be my next post), as it was very chilli-hot but only mildly spiced, tangy and a bit sour, but also savoury and delicious!
So all in all, a very successful experiment. It might not last as long as proper chutney (don’t think I added enough vinegar or sugar to preserve it for that long). I guess I’ll find out, if I don’t eat it all first!