The Victorian Kitchen

Bengal Recipe for Mango Chutney

The first thing to be said about this recipe is the complete absence of mangoes. The only fruit involved is what Mrs B calls ‘unripe, sour apples’ and a few raisins.

She notes that ‘this recipe was given by a native to an English lady, who had long been a resident in India’ and that, when the woman returned to England, she became ‘quite celebrated … for the excellence of this Eastern relish.’

And Mrs B’s opinion of the chetney? It was ‘very superior to any which can be bought, and one trial will prove it to be delicious.’

I do enjoy a challenge and making apples taste like mangoes is definitely a challenge.*

img_20190102_223347496‘The smell of the [garlic] plant is generally considered offensive, and it is the most acrimonious in its taste of the whole of the alliaceous tribe.’

Mrs Beeton minces many things but not her words.

(Little known garlic fact: British serviceman in World War II carried bars of garlic infused chocolate with them so that, in the event of their being taken prisoner, they could make their breath smell French.

*RABBIT HOLE WARNING*

Let’s move on.

I’ve calculated, converted, and significantly reduced the amount of ingredients as I am not going to peel thirty sour apples (I’m using Bramley’s which I wouldn’t exactly call sour, just a bit tart) nor do I want gallons of chetney lurking in my understairs cupboard. I’m also going to have trouble drying my vinegar-washed mustard seeds in the sun. But, as recipes go, it looks pretty  straightforward apart from using a wet bladder to cover the necks of the bottles after they’ve been corked. Personally I shall be using a Kilner jar.

Step 1: Make the sugar into syrup. No indication here of how much water to use so over to Google and, after bit of mathematics, it looks like 85 ml is enough for my 67g of ‘moist’ or soft brown sugar.

Step 2: Pound the garlic, onions and ginger in a mortar. Wash the mustard seed in vinegar and dry (in the airing cupboard). NB. I think this should actually be Step 1 as they take hours to dry. Maybe do it the day before?

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Step 3: Peel, core and slice the apples. Boil them in three quarters of the vinegar (until soft?) Leave them to get cold. Basically it’s apple puree.

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Step 4: Gradually mix all the other ingredients into the apple, including the remaining vinegar. When thoroughly blended place in a bottle for use. (Here’s where the wet bladder comes in).

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Ta da! Mango Chetney.

And so, to the taste test …

Much to my surprise this got a big thumbs up from the family – apart from one comment about the amount of ginger. It’s really good with cheese and crackers and the husband is working his way through the jar. Unlike my previous attempt at a Victorian recipe it went down very well.

Heart rating (out of 5) ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

* I failed.

From The Book of Household Management by Mrs Isabella Beeton, Volume 1. Published by the Ex-classics Project in 2009. http://www.exclassics.com