I’ve had my allotment for four years now, and every year for the last four years I’ve made the same mistake, which such unwavering consistency that I’m starting to believe it’s not a mistake at all and more an expression of some hidden desire in my subconscious. In the collective subconscious no less, as every gardener I know seems to do the same.
I’m talking about courgettes.
Come August, the delight that the first, precious few harvests brought is starting to waver under the weight of a seemingly endless avalanche of fruits. This post is the first in a series of culinary cucurbit suggestions for the gardener bored of the usual roast it/bake it/stuff it. First up – chutney! You can use any courgette or summer squash for this – my favourite to date is ‘yellow crookneck’. The below makes about four jars but it could easily be doubled (or more!) to match however many courgettes you have.
My recipe for glut-busting Indian spiced chutney:
- 2 kg courgettes, coarsely grated
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 200g fresh ginger, chopped
- 1 bulb of garlic, peeled
- 10 dried birdseye chillies
- 200g sugar
- 350ml apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 star anise
- 2 tsp salt
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
- Place the courgettes into a bowl and sprinkle the salt over. Leave this to drain for at least an hour. (This step is necessary to make the courgettes crunchy instead of disintegrating in the pan!)
- Blend the vinegar with the onion, garlic, ginger and chillies. I don’t usually peel the ginger as my blender is very powerful but you may wish to peel it.
- Heat the oil in a maslin pan or other large pan and add the spices, being careful not to burn them as they will easily stick to the bottom of the pan. Once the mustard seeds have started to ‘pop’, add the blended paste and cook for ten or so minutes.
- Drain the courgettes very well and add to the maslin pan with the sugar. Cook this down on a low heat for around an hour, until it has thickened.
- Turn off the heat and remove the star anise. When the chutney has cooled slightly add to sterilised jars and seal.
You can enjoy it straight away but like all chutneys the flavour improves with age. Stores well in a cool dark place for several months, but keep in the fridge once opened. I find it delicious with cold, ‘gamey’ meats or in cheese sandwiches!
Hope you love this recipe as much as I do! If you make it, do leave a comment below and let me know what you think!