Childhood memories are the best. They shape our lives and stay with us all our lives. I have been privileged to live in the midst of all the cultures. My dad is a government employee and we lived in a township amidst greenery and peace. People from all the states lived together and celebrated all the festivals together.
I have great memories of the Navratri festival. It was my favorite time of the year with so many pandals and celebrations. There used to be pandals of Maa Durga, Ramayan enactments, and what not. One delight during Navratri was the Prasad or offering to Maa Durga. I cannot forget the flavor of the Prasad/Bhog given to Maa Durga in the Bengali Durga Pujo pandal. There were a flavorful combo veg khichdi and Dates – Tomato Chutney (Khejurer-tamatar chutney). I was remembering the chutney from yesteryears and tried to recreate it and it was very close to what I remembered it to be.
PREPARATION TIME: 5 minutes
COOKING TIME: 15 minutes
SERVINGS: 1 bowl (4 servings)
DIFFICULTY SCALE: Low
- Tomatoes – 4, medium
- Dates – 8-9
- Panchporan spices – 1 teaspoon
- Red chili – 2
- Sugar – 2 tablespoons
- Mustard oil – 1 tablespoon
- Salt – to taste
- Roughly chop the tomatoes.
- In a heavy bottom pan, add some mustard oil and heat it.
- Add a teaspoon of panch poran spice. If you don’t have the mix, then add these spices separately (totals up to 1 teaspoon) – fennel seeds (saunf), nigella seeds (kalaunji), fenugreek seeds (methi dana), mustard seeds (rai) and cumin seed (zeera).
- Add the red chilli and then add the roughly chopped tomatoes.
5. Add some salt and a few spoons of hot water. This will allow the tomatoes to cook and disintegrate quickly.
6. Cover the lid and place the pan on low flame for about 5-7 minutes.
7. Cut the dates into small pieces.
8. Once the tomatoes are almost cooked, add in the dates and 2 spoons of sugar.
9. Use a masher to lightly mash the tomatoes and dates to remove any big chunky pieces.
9. Mix well and allow the moisture to dry and serve the chutney.
This Khejurer-tamatar chutney could be consumed for 5-7 days. Store in a refrigerator. It tastes best with khichdi.