In the past few weeks a lot of things slipped off my mind. It slipped off my mind that I had to attend parties and respond to invites that were sent my way. It slipped off my mind that there are a few deadlines I need to meet. It slipped off my mind that when people write emails they expect a reply back AND it slipped off my mind that there was a lot of POM juice sitting in the back of my refrigerator! Nice people at POM Wonderful were gracious enough to send me a big box of POM juice to try. Well, my whole family is a huge fan of its sweet and tangy flavor and the fact that its 100% Pomegranate juice with no added sugar makes it perfect for me. So thank you “nice people at POM Wonderful” for being so gracious!
Not before we started packing that we realized how many things were in the house that escaped our eyes. Those bottles of POM juice were one of them! I panicked because I had to use them to their last drop and I did not have enough time. So apart from making some sorbet and pomegranate molasses I made use of a ton of strawberries from the berry picking we went a few days back. I thought I will try this chutney recipe that my mom makes using raw mangoes with jaggery and panch foran (five spice mix). Only I made mine with strawberries and added pomegranate juice for tartness.
I somehow assumed that every Indian cook must know about panch foran. But the more I spoke with people, the more I realized that it was not as common in all parts of India as I thought it to be. Panch foran is a mix of five whole spices in equal parts – black mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds, ajwain seeds and nigella. You can use it as a tempering while making stir fried vegetables (eggplants taste best when stir fried with it). You can coarsely crush them and rub it on your meat before grilling or you can make some out of the world chutney with it! So much can be done with these five spices that I think I will do a post on it soon (I promise!).
For this particular mango chutney, my mom uses jaggery which is an unrefined form of sugar cane sugar. Its WAY better for your health than sugar but if you can’t find it easily you can use sucanat or dark brown sugar. If nothing, then use just plain old white sugar that you have in your kitchen. My point is don’t run to the grocery store if you don’t have jaggery. So here’s the recipe for my Strawberry POM chutney using panch foran.
1lb hulled strawberries
1/3 cup POM juice
1/2 cup jaggery or packed brown sugar OR 1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp panch foran (spice mix)
2 tsp oil (olive oil or vegetable oil)
Heat oil in a thick bottom saucepan. Add panch foran in it.
Once it starts to pop add strawberries a in it and stir it once. Then add POM juice. Mix it all together and turn the heat to medium and bring the mixture to boil.
As soon as it starts boiling, turn the heat to low and stir in jaggery/brown sugar/sugar.
Keep stirring until the sugar dissolves. Gently boil until the strawberries are clear and thick.
To test if your chutney is done, take some in the back of your spoon and let it stay out in the air for about 10-15 minutes then run a finger through it. If it wrinkles then its done.
Turn off the heat and let it cool.
Although I have never done it before, I am sure you can “can” and store this chutney in your refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.
I asked my friends if they can help with their trusted source for canning and one name kept that popping was Food In Jars. And I agree with them! If you want to learn anything about food in jars or canning visit this blog.