I love chutney but I am always put off by the high sodium content of commercially made chutneys. If I ate the amount I wanted at a meal, I’d end up eating over a days worth of sodium! No way! And it just tastes too salty to me! Because chutney is a high sugar, high acid canned food, the salt is not needed for the preservation of it.
So, I make my own chutney. Historically, a long-simmered chutney is not particularly authentic in Indian cuisine–it was created and made for the British. Fresh chutneys are the more traditional sauces eaten in Indian homes. But I still like the spicy cooked chutney as a sauce with grilled chicken and fish and as an accompaniment to rice.
And, a big bonus, chutney is a great way to easily get the antioxidants and possible anti-tumor compounds in turmeric, ginger, onions and garlic. Preventive medicine that tastes good!
Recipes for mango chutney usually call for green mangoes. That has always struck me as odd–but I realize that green mangoes don’t fall apart and lose their texture in the cooking as much as ripe ones do. Still, I’ve found it hard to imagine intentionally buying unripe mangoes and cooking them. Then, I discovered a Trader Joe’s product called “dried Green Mango”– and it is sweetened, unsulphured and unsalted–perfect for trying in my chutney recipe.
Alternatively, here is what fresh, green, unripe mangoes look like. I was surprised at how soft the texture of the fruit can be–given that it is unripe. It does not taste too sour. With some sugar, it will have a good taste and texture when cooked.
I did a side-by-side comparison of this chutney recipe, one version made from the dried green mango and one made from the fresh green mango–and I much preferred the texture of the chutney made with fresh green mangoes. It is a softer and more jam-like chutney and the fresh mangoes give the chutney a more cohesive texture. The dried green mangoes never fully rehydrated or softened–feeling hard and chewy in the finished chutney–not what I wanted.
I don’t like overly hot-spiced chutney, so I did not use any chilies in this recipe. The ginger and mustard seeds are enough heat for me! You could add serrano or jalapeño chilies to suit your taste (1-2 ounces of minced chilies/recipe, or to taste.)
This recipe makes 3 pints of chutney. It is a very easy recipe to make–just combine the ingredients, keep and eye on it, stir frequently and in no time you’ll have chutney! Cut the pieces small if you don’t want it too chunky, cut them a little bigger for chunkier chutney. This recipe is gluten-free.
Mango Chutney: A Low Sodium Version
- 3 pounds of fresh green (unripe) mangoes, peeled, seeded and sliced into small slices–or–6 ounces dried green mangoes (Trader Joe’s) cut into 1/4″-1/2” lengths
- 2 cups cider vinegar (or white vinegar)
- 2 cups white sugar
- 8 ounces raisins or currants
- 2 large apples, peeled and cored, cut into small slices (I use Fuji apples because they hold their shape well)
- 4 plums, peeled and seeded, cut into small slices (optional)
- 4 ounces onion, 1/2 cup, diced
- Zest and juice of 1 orange or large lemon
- 1-2 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 ounces candied ginger, minced small
- 2 Tablespoons fresh ginger, freshly grated
- 1 Tablespoon ground dried ginger powder
- 4 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 teaspoons ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon salt or Morton’s Lite Salt (optional)
- 2 Tablespoons mustard seeds
- (1-2 ounces serrano or jalapeño chilies, minced–optional)
1. If you have a “flame tamer” place it on the burner you will be cooking on. It will evenly distribute the heat and minimize the risk of scorching the chutney. Use a large, heavy-bottomed 4-8 quart pot.
2. Place all ingredients into pan and simmer on low-moderate heat, stirring frequently. Stir often to keep the high sugar mixture from scorching and burning on the bottom. At the end, be sure to stir every few minutes–or it will burn.
3. Cook until the liquid is brown and the consistency of jam. It may take up to 1 hour, depending on the pan you use and your stove. Important detail: it will thicken more when it cools.
4. Can it while it is very hot, in half pint or pint jars, using conventional canning methods. Or, if you do not want to can it, cool and cover it and refrigerate for 1-3 months.
Nutrition Information, per Tablespoon of chutney: 40 calories, 11 mg sodium, 10 g carbohydrate (9 g sugar), 0 g fat.
© 2011 Ann M. Del Tredici, MS, RD, CDE