Making mango chutney in Mexico

Chutney and mangoes both originated in India, the birthplace of my mother. As a child, my mother’s second language was Urdu. She probably knew the word for chutney, چٹنی, spelled phonetically as catni. Making mango chutney connected me to that far-away country, when that part of the world was still part of the British Raj.

Chutneys in India are described by Wikipedia as “pasty sauce” made with a mortar and pestle. They can be sweet or hot, both forms containing spices. The western palate has adapted chutney to the familiar tastes of fruit, sugar and vinegar, reduced with many of the same spices found in curry. Joy of Cooking, the first cookbook I owned, inspired this recipe.

Mango Chutney can be blended with mayonnaise to dress a chicken salad, served with crackers and queso fresco (or cream cheese), and enjoyed as a condiment with curries and stir-fried dishes.

Mango Chutney

  • 6 cups (1.5 liters) chopped mangoes, either ripe or green
  • 2 cups (480 ml.) organic sugar
  • 1 seeded, finely chopped lemon or 1 large lime
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml.) finely minced fresh ginger
  • 1 cup (240 ml.) raisins
  • 2 cups (480 ml.) cider vinegar
  • 1/4 scant (1 ml.) teaspoon cardamom seeds
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 3″ (7.5 cm.) cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1 ml.) cayenne pepper or 1 small, whole cola de rata chile
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml.) salt
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large, heavy-bottomed pot.
  2. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until thick, about one hour.
  3. Remove chile pepper, cinnamon stick and cardamom and cloves.
  4. Spoon into sterilized half pint canning jars, cap and seal tightly.
  5. Process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath. Makes 9 cups (about 2 liters).


In case you are wondering why the raisins in the above photo look a little crumby, there is a perfectly good explanation. When I started to make Mango Chutney, I discovered I was out of raisins. The solution was to sort through the box of All Bran cereal, picking out every raisin I could find. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

“Process in a boiling water bath” means to submerge the canning jars, tightly sealed, in a pot of water and bring to a boil for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the jars with tongs and cool. Store in a cool place. These instructions are for sea level. If you live at a high elevation, consult high altitude cooking directions for proper time.

So that the small cloves and smaller cardamom seeds are not lost in the chutney, tie them up in a piece of cheesecloth, or put them in a tea infuser. Whichever you use, the spices are easily removed from the chutney to be discarded after cooking.


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