It has been a long time since the time, I saw my grandmother sit on her kitchen’s floor stirring her bubbling karahi (wok) of mango chutney on top of her prized coal angeethi. Speaking of ‘the angeethi’, a regular feature of every indian kitchen a few decades ago, which is so lost today that an image search on Google gave me hundreds of pictures of restaurants called ‘Angeethi’ but none of the angeethi itself!
The Angeethi is nothing but a little bucket of clay with a wire mesh on top where the red hot coal sits for the main cooking. The wire mesh allows hot ash from the burnt coal to collect below in the bucket. At the base it has a little window to clean out the ash, this creates a little barbecue on top and a baking chamber at the bottom. We as kids would put guavas in the hot ash of the base of the angeethi while patiently circling the wok of chutney to be unloaded. If you have not had, the ash baked guavas, you must, next time try throwing them in the dying embers at the end of a bar be cue.
Coming back to my grandmother’s chutney. I was barely 10 when she passed away, I do not have her recipe but here is how I made it if you’d want to try.
4 raw mangoes-washed, peeled and grated
4 inch piece of ginger- washed peeled and grated
2 tbs canola oil
2 dried whole red chillies
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 cardamom pods crushed
1 garlic clove- finely sliced
1-1/2 tablespoon turmeric
1 tsp red chilli powder
2 tbs white vinegar
8 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fennel seeds dry roasted and lightly crushed
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy bottomed karahi (wok). Add whole dried chillied and splutter cumin and fennel seeds; add crushed cardamom pods, add the garlic, as it turns golden, stir in the turmeric and red chilli powder. Add grated mangoes and grated ginger. Saute and coat on medium heat for about 2 minutes and add 500ml water, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to let simmer till the mangoes are mushy. Add the granulated sugar and vinegar, let the sugar melt and dissolve in the chutney. Season with salt and taste to adjust salt and sugar. Add ground cardamom powder and the roasted ground fennel for aroma, simmer for a minute and then remove from heat. Let it cool. Store in a clean and dry glass jar.
Serve as accompaniment with papads, chapattis or on bread in sandwiches.