Buying fruits and vegetables in our neighbourhood market the other day, I couldn’t resist picking up a packet of roselle fruits. It’s such a joy to see the produce of the season. Indian olives are making their first appearance so pickling days will soon follow. The purple of the water chestnuts, the pale green of amla/Indian gooseberry and winter vegetables like cauliflowers and kohl rabi are all being sold now.
Coming back with my bags, I thought of a few roselle recipes. The usual ones are adding them to dal or to fish curry but then I decided to make chutney. I had bought only 250 grams but the fruit is acidic anything sour does not have any takers in my house. So chutney was the best bet.
I must confess that I held the fruit in the sunlight and admired that gorgeous colour before clicking the pictures! Then the hard seed pods were removed. In our cuisine the mature seeds are dried and pounded and used as a substitute for fermented fish. According to Wiki, roselle jam differs from other jams in that the pectin is obtained from boiling the interior buds of the roselle flowers. It is thus possible to make roselle jam with just the fruit and sugar.
In our region, the leaves are widely used in cooking. They are also acidic but the sour taste is welcome on our unbearably hot summer days.
250 grams roselle fruit
5 tbs sugar
1″ piece ginger, grated
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tsp red chilli powder
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
11/2 cups water
A dash of salt
Remove the red portions/calyces and discard the seedpods.
Wash and put them in a pan along with some water, chopped onions, grated ginger, sugar and salt.
Add the red chilli powder and cook till the liquid is greatly reduced.
When the chutney is almost done, add the vinegar and give it a good stir.
The entire cooking time will be 30-35 minutes. After the seedpods were removed the quantity of the fruit was reduced.
Take it off the heat and let it cool.
Store in a clean glass container.
This chutney goes very well with our flatbreads. You can also have it with alu tikkis.
I thought a contrast in colours would be nice. The season of roselle is also when the leaves of my jamun tree turn a golden shade of yellow. Not all at once but a few at a time. I placed a spoonful of chutney on a leaf that I plucked from a lower branch. Cheery red on a plate of sunshine!