A tangy summertime tropical treat that goes well with most things; curries, burgers, salads, vegan cheese. I used our Moxarella – Vegan Mozzarella recipe here on quite a tropical ploughman’s style platter.
Mango and papaya are two of my favourite fruits, although getting good ones can be tough in Wales. I’ve noticed more papayas becoming available and the key to a papaya is to get them nice and ripe. The skin should be almost completely yellow and orange and it should feel a little soft. When I’ve eaten papayas in more tropical places, they go from just ripe to woah, take it easy, way too ripe in around 10 minutes. It seems that in cooler climates, papayas are more relaxed. Ours took around 4 days to ripen in a fruit bowl with bananas, if you want to keep it from ripening, pop it in the fridge. I think a ripe papaya is a match for a ripe mango and, in India especially, is probably a 1/5 of the price. No wonder Christopher Columbus called it ‘The Fruit of the Angels’.
I’ve worked on a organic farm which grew papayas in India. I became pretty good at harvesting them. This entails using a long piece of bamboo, standing under the tree and jabbing (gently) a ripe papaya with your bamboo appendage, they’re the yellow/ orange ones, and in approximately less than a second, catching the falling papaya with your free hand. This is a tricky business and takes practice and the reactions of a mongoose, of which there was family of living just beside my hut. This was in Tamil Nadu. Most mornings we harvested the crops for the local market, a fascinating array of produce created in a relatively small area, using mainly permaculture farming practices.
I was writing parts of Peace & Parsnips at the time, in the sweltering heat of summertime, the farming was a day job of sorts. It was a organic farm in a community called Auroville. A fascinating place. The farm was called Solitude Farm and I also cooked lunch there with the women in the kitchen. I learned much, mainly about using tropical ingredients like yams, banana flowers, plantains, various flowers, purple amaranth, snake gourds, plenty of coconut, and all kinds of other things. Surprisingly for me, basil and little sweet cherry tomatoes grew like weeds all over the place. We cooked on wood fires, crouching on the floor. I loved it. The restaurant used only organic produce grown on the farm, even the rice and peanuts.
I’ve also harvested mango’s. It’s a more dangerous undertaking. Mango trees do not want you to pick their fragrant fruits. Goggles and gloves can be useful.
This chutney is quick n’ easy, give it a whirl and be sure to let us know how it goes in the comments below.
This is a lower sugar chutney, I prefer it that way. This has a good balance I feel, but if you like a very stick and sweet chutney, you may prefer a few more tablespoons of sugar.
We enjoyed this chutney with a mixed bag of a platter. Nachos, salsa, smoky vegan mozzarella and pickled jalapenos.
Papayas are easy to skin, you can use a potato peeler or a sharp knife. Then just scoop out all the big black shiny seeds. The seeds are edible, quite peppery and bitter. Your papaya flesh should be soft and deep orange/ pink in colour.
When you cut into a mango, be sure to trim away as much fruits as possible from the seed. There can be quite a bit of fruit hidden around the seed.
Papayas can be huge, but in Britain, they are sold quite small, lets say around 8-10 inches in length. That’s the size we use here. Avoid papayas which are bruised or have lots of black spots.
Mango and Papaya Chutney (Vegan. Gluten-free)
The Bits – Make two large jars or 1 litre kilner jar
1 onion (finely diced)
2 heaped tbs fresh ginger (finely chopped)
1 small cinnamon stick
1 teas cumin seeds
1 teas coriander seeds
4 green cardamom pods (cracked)
1/3 – 1/2 teas chilli flakes or 1 red chilli (deseeded finely diced)
1/2 teas ground turmeric
3/4 teas nigella seeds
2 mangoes (peeled, deseeded and diced)
1 papaya (peeled, deseeded and diced)
100-125 g light brown sugar
125 ml red wine vinegar
1 tbs cooking oil
In a sauce pan, add the oil and warm on medium high heat. Add the cumin, cinnamon and coriander seeds, stir a few times, for around 30 seconds. Then add the onions and ginger. Fry for 6 minutes, until soft, then add the rest of the spices followed by the fruit and then finally, the sugar and vinegar. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Leave to cook for 35 minutes, until the chutney thickens.
Allow to cool, then spoon into a sterilised jar and use within three days. This chutney is ideal served with your favourite curries, salads, burgers or why not try a tropical cheeze platter.
Papaya is very high in vitamin C and is also a good source of folates, vitamin A and fibre. Papayas help to support our immune system, are anti-inflammatory and may well keep our hearts healthy.