A Bengali chutney made with seasonal fruits that is the perfect last course for any meal or can be used for chapati rolls and sourdough toppings.
The chaatni, that lip-licking last course of a Bengali meal, is integral to Bengali cuisine. It cuts through the richness of the fish or mutton curry to prepare the taste buds for the dessert and kickstarts the digestive process most satisfactorily. Just what you need before you dive into the lush desserts!
Such is the importance of chaatni (chaat is ‘lick’ in the Bengali language) that a formal meal is incomplete without it. Case in point – when my baby sister got married a few months ago and we huddled to plan the menu for 3 days of festivities, the chaatni decision took forever!
The numbers of chaatni that the Bengali cuisine boasts of would require a book of its own – from fruits to vegetables, chaatni can be made from nearly everything in season. So while the ubiquitous tomato chaatni is a favourite throughout the year, the kaacha aam (raw mango) chaatni is savoured in summers, and the kool (Indian jujube) makes an appearance in January/February. And then there are the fruit chaatnis made with pineapple, plum, apple and more. The mixed fruit chaatni is one such.
Made with seasonal fruits, the chaatni is slow-cooked with jaggery/unprocessed sugar/white sugar till it reaches desired consistency. It’s then given a tangy twist with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice before being bottled and tucked into the refrigerator. Copious amounts are scooped out every day for the post-lunch lip licking and to ensure we end the meal with a sigh of delight. While it tastes beautiful on its own, Maa swears by her combination of chapati + mixed fruit chaatni roll, and I had a delectable party in my mouth when I used it as a spread over a slice of sourdough. This all-around-the-year chaatni is bound to be a favourite for those who love their sweet and tangy.
THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN MAKING THE MIXED FRUIT CHAATNI
- Opt for a combination of 4-5 fruits
- Mix firm fruits like apples, pears, pineapple with softer fruits like strawberries, plums, cherries
- Avoid citrus fruits like oranges and mandarin; these tend to melt, and unless sweet, they’ll sour the chaatni
- I prefer to use unprocessed sugar or jaggery in my food. You can use white sugar or sugar syrup as a sweetener
- If using canned products, like canned pineapple, use the juice to sweeten
- I love cinnamon, but don’t use it if you aren’t a cinnamon person
The mention of oranges/mandarin has inspired me to make a mandarin chaatni before the season ends. So while I figure that, go ahead and make yourself some mixed fruit chaatni.
Do let me know if you try this recipe! Leave a comment and don’t forget to tag me on Instagram at from.the.corner.table and hashtag it #fromthecornertable. I’d love to see it ❤️
For regular updates on recipes, recommendations on things to read and watch and ramblings that make sense, subscribe to the newsletter – you’ll find the form in the sidebar if viewing on a screen and at the bottom if viewing on the phone. Since spamming or flooding your inbox is a huge no for me, these newsletters go out only when I’ve put up a new post or sometimes, once in a month only.
- 120 grams Red/Green Grapes
- 200 grams Apple
- 200 grams Pear
- 200 grams Pineapple
- 200 grams Strawberries
- 2 tablespoon Mustard Oil/Vegetable Oil
- 1/8 teaspoon Cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
- 1 Dried Red Chilli
- ½ cup Unprocessed Sugar
- Salt to taste
- ½ cup Water
- ½ Lemon
- 1/8 teaspoon Cinnamon Powder
- Wash all the fruits well.
- Destem the grapes, pat them dry and place in a bowl.
- Peel, remove the core and cut the other fruits (apples, pears, pineapple, strawberries) into half-inch pieces.
- Place the fruits in separate bowls. Do NOT mix in the same bowl.
- The firm fruits will take longer to cook so line up the fruit-filled bowls accordingly. My lineup was – apples, pears, pineapple, strawberries, grapes.
- Heat mustard oil (or any other vegetable oil) in a pan on low heat.
- Add the dry red chilli, cumin and mustard seeds. Allow them to splutter.
- Add the apples and pears; mix well. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes.
- Add a pinch of salt and the pineapple.
- Cover and cook for another 5-7 minutes or until the fruits have softened.
- Add the remaining fruits and the sugar (or sweetener of choice).
- Add water, cover and allow the chaatni to simmer. Stir frequently.
- Cook till the fruits have softened but are not mushy. If you prefer a mushier texture, increase the amount of water and cook till the fruits have melted.
Adjust the salt and sugar level to taste. Remove the red chilli.
- Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon. Add a pinch of cinnamon powder.
- Mix well and remove from heat.
- Cover and let the chaatni sit till it has reached room temperature before serving.