Spiced Strawberry Chutney
De Arbol (Capsicum Annuum) means tree like in Spanish. The plant has thick, upright, woody stems and the chile itself is narrow, curved and bright red in color. Believed to be closely related to the pequin, the De Arbol is thin fleshed, with tannic, smoky, grassy flavor and searing heat. This chile has a heat range of 7.5 on the heat scale of 1-10. De Arbol Chiles are comparable to a Cayenne Pepper. Scoville heat units 15,000 to 30,000.
De Arbol is a hot chile and a staple in Southwest kitchens. Add some heat to your next salsa or Mexican dish. Be adventurous and add them to your next stew or chili along with the other spices Add some heat to your next salsa or Mexican dish.
1.5 – 2 lbs strawberries, washed & hulled
1 cup sugar/brown sugar (adjust to taste – add more or less to how tart or sweet you want it to be)
juice of half lemon + zest of 1 lemon (or orange)
1/2 teaspoon oil 1 teaspoon Panch Phoron * , divided
1-2 red dry chile pepper (keep them whole if you do not want it spicy)
1/2 inch ginger, peeled and grated
Makes approx. 10 -12 oz.
*Panch Phoron: This is a five mix spice. “Panch” means “five”.
The following spices are used in equal amounts:
Radhuni/ (use black Mustard Seeds if no Radhuni)
Wash and hull strawberries. Slice the strawberries, each into 3 – 4 slices. Combine berries with sugar in a large stainless steel/non reactive bowl. Let stand for about half an hour.
Heat a small skillet and very lightly roast 1/2 teaspoon Panch Phoron. It will be fragrant and make sure you do not burn it. It is little in amount and will burn very quick. Cool and grind it in a coarse powder (using a rolling pin or a mortar and a pestle). Set aside.
Heat oil in a pan and add the Panch Phoron and the red dry chili pepper(s). When the spices sizzle add the strawberries and ginger and bring strawberries to a boil slowly, for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add lemon juice and zest. Cook rapidly till it comes to a full boil, & then reduce heat to medium & gently boil until strawberry mixture is clear/glassy and mixture is thick & mounds on a spoon with a very slow drip, about 15-20 minutes. It will have jam/preserve like consistency.
Sprinkle the roasted Panch Phoron and stir gently. Cool and store in a clean air tight container. It will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks.
Serve as a condiment. Traditionally in Bengal, this sort of sweet/spicy chutney culminates a meal, but the chutney has many uses and further more when you can get creative.