Friday, March 16, 2007

Pineapple Chaatni/Chutney

Indian Pineapple Chutney

I have been waiting to see "The NameSake" (author Jhumpa Lahiri)but now they say it released only in select theaters and none of the theaters in my area belong to this elite group. So I have to wait I guess till it’s on DVD. I have read the book and liked it immensely. I admit that "The Interpreter of Maladies" was better, the short stories more crisp and succinct but I like this one for a whole different reason. I like it because of the oneness I feel with Ashima. The book narrates the story of a young Bengali immigrant couple (Ashoke & Ashima) who immigrate to Boston for higher studies in the early 70's and then the story deals with their settling down in the US, the kids growing up here and with everything that an South East Asian Immigrant has to deal with emotionally

It’s been 3 decades since Ashoke & Ashima made their journey and USA has changed a lot since, for one it’s more open to Asian and South Asian people and culture. Specifically the state I am in is almost like the 29th Indian state ripped apart and placed in the wrong continent, ok almost. I don't have to mix Rice Krispies with peanuts, chili and mustard Oil like Ashima, I get Muri/Mamra and I can get a closer cousin to JhalMuri than she could (not like the JhalMuri in the Kolkata Local Train but close). And Yet I feel the oneness the closeness with Ashima, if she was my neighbor we would be best friends maybe.

Like her I am apprehensive to raise my daughter in a country I still don't know much about.
I have a gnawing fear of the day she might stop responding to me in Bangla, and her accent will be difficult for me to follow (Bangla or Bengali is the language we speak at home, no English there).
I am deep down worried that she will look forward to Christmas more than she will ever do to Durga Puja, a festival close to my hearts, a festival we would wait for with fervor as soon as Summers heat mellowed down.
I don't know how I will explain to her how I with my friends, wearing our Ma's yellow saree, would go puja hopping on the morning of Saraswati Pujo from one school to other as she goes around for "Trick or Treat" on Halloween.
I am at a loss thinking what should I tell my daughter when she goes to her first prom, I have nothing, no experience to share with her. There are so many questions I need to get an answer to before I can even explain to my daughter as she grows up here.

I guess I will figure out like Ashima did and she will too like Gogol.

But even though it has been 3 decades there are some things in the book so true about the bengali immigrant community that I can easily identify with it.

A typical lunch menu that Ashima prepares and Lahiri goes on to narrate is "lamb curry with potatoes, luchis, thick channa dal with swollen brown raisins, pineapple chutney, sandesh molded out of saffron-tinted ricotta cheese"

As I was re reading the book, the "Pineapple Chutney" struck me and that what it is going to be for this Sundays Lunch where couple of our friends are coming over I thought. Perfect for AFAM and perfect for a Bengali Lunch

For Maheshwari the gracious hostess of AFAM at Beyond The Usual, I prepared this in a small qauntity yesterday and its extremely easy and quick to prepare. Sweet, a bit spicy and rich yellow in colour this chaatni/chutney is perfect to complement any lunch or dinner menu

Pineapple Chaatni/Chutney

What You Need

Serves 4

Crushed Pineapple ~ 1/2 of a 20 oz can . I used Dole Brand Crushed Pineapple 
If using fresh pineapples, use 2 cups of pineapple chopped in small pieces
Dry Red Chillies ~ 2
Mustard Seeds ~ 1/2 tsp (not heaped)
Ginger Julienne ~ 1 tsp
Sugar ~ 1/8 cup
For fresh pineapple, more sugar will be needed, at least 1/2 cup
Lime juice -- juice from a quarter of a lime
Salt ~ according to taste
Mustard Oil ~ 1 & ½ tbsp

Bhaja Masla  ~ ½ tsp

How I Did It

Heat Oil in Kadhai/Frying Pan
Add mustard seeds and dry red chillies. Cover if you are afraid of mustard seeds dancing around
When the seeds pop add the ginger .
Add the crushed pineapple If using fresh pineapple add them instead of the canned.
Add salt and sprinkle turmeric powder.
Saute the pineapple for 4-5 minutes and then add about 1 cup of warm water.Also add juice of a quarter of a lime.
Cook the pineapple pieces for 5-6 minutes and then add sugar. Cover and cook till pineapple pieces have softened. This will happen very quick for the canned one. For the fresh this will take about 40-45 minutes.
Sprinkle a pinch of bhaja masla to finish

The movie review for The NameSake from SepiaMutiny -- Read the comments too, very interesting

Trivia:The Spanish explorers thought pineapple looked like a pine cone, so they called it "pina." The English added "apple" to associate it with juicy delectable fruits. South American Indians had a name for pineapple meaning "fragrant excellent fruit," which became the basis for its botanical name: ananas.(Source:here)


  1. I am cooking pineapple a lot these days and just love the taste of any dish with pineapple. I think this is the chutney my friend was asking me from many days. I will try this soon. Thanks for sharing.

  2. chatni toh achcha hi hai - but Im more interested in Namesake, its releasing next week in Bombay and I cant wait to catch the movie...I loved the book, felt totally involved in Ashok's and Ashima's lives...It's on my MUST SEE NO MATTER WHAT list!

  3. Hi,
    Similar way we make with Raw mango.. Your Pineapple chutney is good combo for plain parathas.. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Sandeepa,

    What an interesting chutney, something for me to try....and I liked that you can use canned pineapples...can be made in a jiffy.

    I am looking forward to watching 'The Namesake" Tabu fits the role perfectly, I have always liked her...and story is so close to home, for many.
    I had been trying to comment on your Haldi post, but couldn't last night. I love the pickled turmeric,both the yellow and orange kind....I used to eat it a lot when I was pregnant.

    Have a wonderful weekend,

  5. I was going to this but somebody will come up with these!:)) Looks great and taste great with sandwiches too,thanks S!:)

  6. Sandeepa, just read the review for the movie this morning. Will have to wait for DVD I guess.

    Pineapple chutney looks super easy and tasty but you added sugar...

  7. u know ever since i started following ur blog i keep thinking of that movie and what a coincidence! i feel apprehensive too abt staying here but seeing my friends kids slowing growing with one foot in each boat, i guess it will be ok.

  8. Hi Sandeepa, pineapple chutney recipe is perfect for me..i am sure I will like this, thanks a lot for sharing this. Looks like many are waiting for The Namesake...dont break ur head too much worrying about a future which none of us have any idea about, lets just hope that ur daughter will have strong value systems imbibed by then to appreciate her roots too !

    Keep Smiling :)

  9. Watched Namesake. Its a must watch, I would say. As I would say it is the story of every probashi Bong. However, on my recent to visit ot Kali Mandir for pujo last year, I saw all the kids who grew up in this country attended it. I somehow always feel, bongs try to imbibe their kids with the culture more than anyone and the kids atleast learn a part of it.

  10. looks like many of us waiting for namesake. well, i dont have a kid, so not gonna think much abt it. i have decided to take things as they come. donno if this theory is gonna fit for long. looking @my cousins kids, just hopeing for the best i guess:)

  11. Shilpa
    Thanks and would love to look at some of your pineapple dishes

    Yeah do see it. It's weird here in "my gaon" its not releasing yet :)

    Good idea..with Paratha. Somehow we laways end up serving it with lunch or dinner

    Jiffy right. Pop the can and done

    With sandwiches too..thats a nice idea, never thought of it

    Shouldn't I have added sugar ? The can of "Crushed Pineapple" had no added sugar and pineapple is sweet but the kind of chaatni/chutney Bengalis have has to be on the sweet side. Try without the sugar if you wish :)

    Hee, hee that's funny. You are right kids do grow up right. But when I read the Book I see there are many things that Gogol(the son) doesn't like, he doesn't rebel or anything but I feel he is just that tad bit uncomfortable with his dual culture. It must be tough for the kids too

    Mishmash!, Pilgrim, Supriya

    Thanks and its not so much about the value system...its just that there will be things dear to me which I won't be able to share with her.
    But then I guess by then even india will not be the sepia toned pic I have of it. Globalisation hits everyone

  12. Hello Sandeepa,

    Very beautifully you have portrayed the doubts every other Indian couple goes through before making the final decision where to settle down USA or Back Home in India...

    I am planning to watch this movie tonight...

    Coming back to the recipe, Pineapple chutney sounds delicious..sweet and spicy... a beautiful entry Sandeepa.

  13. Hi Sandeepa, I've heard a lot about The Namesake but haven't gotten round to reading it and already the film is out?! Being an immigrant and a parent like you, too, I can relate to some of your "fears"..

    Well, your urge to cook pineapple chutney sounds like my urge for dhansak! ;-) Did you already know how to make pineapple chutney or did the book make you go look for a recipe?

  14. wow u did a great job dear!still i am thinking of what to do with pine apple..:-Dchutney is looking interesting..

  15. Sushma
    So it has released in LA ?

    Pineapple Chutney is a very "typical Bong recipe" so I have had it and made it numerous times.
    Reading the book just made me decide to make it again:)

    Looking forward to your Pineapple recipe

  16. Sandeepa, I will make this pineapple chutney someday :D It sounds delicious!

    BTW, thanks so much for your encouragement for my PHD. :) And I teach university students (Undergrad & master).

  17. Hi Sandeepa

    My wife is into her 2nd month of pregnency and somehow I have turned into the master of the kitchen for the time being. I stumbled into your blog some days back and find your cooking guidelines so matching my ma that I have stopped calling her up when I am confused with anything. I tried a lot of your dishes. My wife is veg and thus I cook one veg and one non veg dish almost daily. She being in the state she is likes lots of spicy and chaotpot dishes.

    Some people find cooking a tough job but seeing my ma and then reading your receipes I am really enjoying my cooking.

    Thank you for all the help. I am going to make Ilish with begun for tomorrow's lunch.

    Wish me luck


  18. Sandeepa, I simply loved reading Namesake, is one of my all time favourites...can reread it anytime.

    And you are right, sometimes I too feel the same when my daughter questions me about my childhood...although she is still young, having dad only five springs so far, I can't help but question myself at times as to how I'll deal with all the intricasies of growing up...and after her, my son will soon follow suit...I wonder if I'll be able to relate to their emotional turbulances, having grown up in an entirely different environment...oh dear, I better stop thinking about all that...makes me sort of nervous...lets take one thing at a time

  19. chaatni looks delicious, sandeepa. I liked interpreter of maladies more than namesake too...
    tomar advice niye blog banner ta lagiechi, thank you.

  20. wow...never had pineapple chutney before...wonderful...can wait to try...hey send me some...~grin~

  21. SLURP!!!!! My mouth is watering!!!!! This is new to me and anything with pineapple is a must try for me!!! :)

    I am with you for namesake..... waiting for it to come on DVD!!!!

  22. Pineapple rasam I have had but chutney is absolutely new to me and interesting. How much one learns through food blogging.:)

  23. Nice entry and tangy looking.
    I am also waiting to watch Namesake.


  24. Hi Sandeepa,

    GReat post.....very touching. Many of my friends whose kids are born in this country have the same anxieties.

    and Yummy chutney too :).

  25. I loved the book - so chances are I won't like the movie ;) the book affected me so much, I felt very sorry for Gogol - because he was so caught between the worst of the two worlds...

    abt the chutney, good idea! I have some leftover after my pineapple entry, which i havent posted yet...i think i'll try the chutney with some tamarind and roasted peanuts.

  26. Anh

    Wish you and your wife all the best. If you stop by, the latest post is for her.
    Ami o kal Ilish Begun baniyechilam kintu chobi tola hoyni :( How did yours come out

    Yeah shall cross the bridge when we come to it

    Tomar banner ta shundor hoyeche

    Dilip, Coffee, Sailaja
    Nice to know this is new for you guys. This is avery common chutney in Bengal but back home done with fresh pineapple thinly sliced


    Welcome to my blog

    I am totally with you when you say you feel for Gogol. But I guess he was too hyper about the name thing. My daughter has 3-4 names, a pet name, a good name and many more that her Nani, Dadi call her. Hope she doesn't crib :)

  27. Never heard of chutney with pineapple. Looks very appetizing.

  28. Wow..chutney out of pineaaple..never heard it before..looks delcious..will give it a try soon.Thanks for the entry sandeepa.Sandeepa, could you send me the link and pic.

  29. Hi Sandeepa,

    At the outset let me tell you, you have got a flare for writing! I am yet to try any of your recipes, but I confess I have loved reading your ramblings.

    One more thing, I literally love Lahiri's way of writing. Have read Name Sake and Interpreter of Maladies... I like to reread the short stories...

    Am a born vegetarian, so I am delighted that you have quite a 'khazana' of vegetarian dishes too. I will definitely try Pineapple chutney and let you know!

    I have a blog where I generally ramble, and it is more like a personal blogs visited by friends, you might like to peek and see if you like it around there. Am thinking of a food blog too. But it really seems lot of hard work!

    Anyways, GREAT JOB.


  30. Hi,

    Thanks for the measurement of aloo posto. Will try it soon. First listen to my pineapple chutney account! I tried it today. I had bought sliced pineapples instead of crushed and this is the begining!! I thought it wouldn't matter as I could chop it into small chunks. I should have asked you. I had to simmer it for a long long time, which I think was a misatke now. I finally gave up and took the mixer out. I will have my Bong friends try it tomorow and let me know if it is good at all!

  31. Vidwata
    You don't need the mixer. In India we do it with pineapple slices, just cut it into very small thin pieces.
    Only difference is with crushed the process is faster, but with slices you have to simmer for long
    But you have to slice them up pretty thin

  32. Thanks a lot....
    God knows so many people needed this Blog...
    Hey you should monetize it..!!

  33. I have added some sherded coconut with the your recipe. it was so great!

  34. Bong Mom Zindabad!!
    I was looking for an easy chutney recipe, thanks so much, S, I found it!! It turned out just like the taste I remember, and good to take for the potluck!! yea...! :-)


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