Happy Thanksgiving to all Healthy Indian readers. I have a lot to be thankful for – good health, wonderful family and friends, a comfortable lifestyle, a sensitive and gentle 4-legged kid that (I hope) is having a ball living with us, a life partner that means so much more than I remember to express, to name a few.
When you have got a native berry that’s the foundation for a must-have sauce at every Thanksgiving dinner table across the country, you can count on lots of variations. Just check the Internet. However, be warned – this is not your run-of-the-mill cranberry sauce. I don’t think this recipe even exists anywhere online, since it is completely made up by my cousin/friend Jyothi. Copy cats could crop up, after publication on this blog, of course. She brought home some cranberries and asked her mom to cook it with South Indian spices. She served this chutney at her Thanksgiving party last year, and people made several trips for seconds. So, this year, I’d like to share this recipe with you. Jyothi is a world traveler, and knowing how hard it can be, to be a vegetarian on the move in foreign lands, she has created a website to help fellow travelers identify restaurants near tourist attractions. Check out her guide here.
This chunky and bright, tangy-sweet-spicy chutney is loaded with cranberries, and south Indian spices. It tastes super-fresh because the cranberries are simmered briefly. The best part? It comes together in under a half hour!
Make sure you make extra chutney in case you find yourself sneaking to the fridge to eat spoonfuls of it in the days leading up to Thanksgiving or even after (if friends have not begged for left-overs already). The texture of the cranberry chutney, the subtle hints of jaggery and spice, how the tanginess and sweetness hit you at the same time – it’s grand. And so quick and easy! But….didn’t I say this already?
You can serve this delicious chutney over cream cheese or Brie with crackers, or as a condiment with your Thanksgiving dinner, or as a dip with chips or pita. I’ve even had this with roti (flatbread), and it tastes yum. Either way, its slightly tart flavor and deep red hue lends a festive flair to the table.
You can purchase Rasam powder online or in Asian markets. 24 Mantra makes organic rasam powder. After opening, store the powder in a container in the fridge or freezer. Rasam powder is ubiquitous in almost every South Indian household. Rasam is a soup made from tamarind pulp, jaggery and various spices. Normally my mom will spend several hours gathering, cleaning, roasting and grinding various spices to make this powder, which I religiously carry back to my Dallas kitchen every year. However, these spice blends are now available for purchase and they are reasonably close to home-made in taste. The powdered blend usually contains coriander seeds, red chili, black peppercorns, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds and nutmeg. Use it sparingly or generously based on how spicy you like your chutney to be.
You can use frozen or dried cranberries for this recipe. If you are using dried cranberries, they are already sweetened, so skip or go easy on the jaggery. Remember, this is NOT a sweet sauce, so don’t overdo the jaggery or brown sugar. Let the other flavors come through to your taste buds and senses.
Cranberries contain high levels of antioxidants and per Dr. Mercola, research bears out that cranberries also protect against cancer, particularly breast cancer, due in part to potent antioxidant polyphenols. One serving of cranberries also provides 24% of the daily value (DV) in vitamin C, along with vitamin E (alpha tocopherol), the only form of this powerful antioxidant actively maintained in the human body.
Did you make this recipe? We’d LOVE to see your creations so click a photo and tag us on Instagram with the hashtag #healthyindian3 and please give a star (★) rating below. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for healthy, easy and delicious recipes.
- 2 Cups Cranberries Frozen or Dried
- 2 Teaspoons Olive Oil Extra Virgin
- 1/2 Teaspoon Mustard Seeds
- 1/2 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
- 1 Medium Dry Red Chili Or to taste
- 1 Sprig Curry Leaves
- 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt Or to taste
- 1/2 Teaspoon Rasam Powder Or to taste. Available online or in Asian stores
- 1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Jaggery Grated to dissolve faster. Substitute with brown cane sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Tamarind Soaked and juiced. You can substitute with tamarind paste
- Use frozen, or dried cranberries. Skip or reduce jaggery if using dried berries. Wash cranberries, and grind in a blender with half cup of water to make a smooth mixture. Add water as you grind so it doesn't get too runny. Set aside.
- In a thick bottomed dish, heat oil on medium flame. Splutter mustard seeds, cumin seeds, dry red chili and curry leaves. Now add grated jaggery and turmeric.
- Add the blended cranberries to the pan. Add tamarind juice, salt and rasam powder and let it come to a brief boil. Taste for salt, spice, tartness, and sweetness and adjust according to your taste. Remember, this is not a sweet chutney, so let the other tart and spicy flavors come through.