Tangy, sweet, spicy Christmas food gift-tomato, pineapple and cucumber chutney

9 Nov
Tangy, sweet, spicy Christmas food gift-tomato, pineapple and cucumber chutney

Tangy, sweet, spicy Christmas food gift-tomato, pineapple and cucumber chutney

On our houseboat in Kerala we had chef with us, as part of the deal. It was during one of my birthdays and what a way to spend it; lying on a mahogany hammock on the boat looking out at the lush green backwaters and watching birds swoop. I don’t often feel utterly relaxed, but that was a time where I did. I find that when I feel too absorbed in the microscopic elements of life, seeing life from a different angle makes me feel more alive, more grateful and more free.

Kerela house boat

I could see fluorescent green rice paddies in the distance. I watched small children take a boat, run past a tiny white-painted church so they could get to school. I watched fishermen and people looked happy. I thought about my own social circles, how different people are.

In the morning chef made stacks of hot, fluffy idli (sour steamed little cakes made of fermented rice and lentils) and puri. As a snack he would make banana fritters and steaming hot cardamom tea and just thinking of the dinner makes me feel satiated. I’d ask him to make just a small amount of vegetable rice and maybe one curry…but no. You know what he made? Okra curry, a red lentil dhal, a mixed vegetable Avial, salad, potato fritters and a mango milkshake. I’m not kidding. For two of us. He served us so eagerly and affectionately that the result was, totally truthfully, that my husband and I had to sit up for several hours in bed because we were too full to lie down.

Chef made a spectacular tomato chutney which had some almost-raw bottle gourd in it (dud hi). I scooped excessive amounts of it on my idli in the morning and he smiled at me as I did so. He very kindly taught me how to make it I. The kitchen of the house boat and I gained new admiration for him. The kitchen was small as you’d expect, but it moved! This guy is genius.

I’ve adapted his recipe to Include pineapple for sweetness, and cucumber and not bottle gourd to give a crunchy texture and I’ve kept the tomatoes t give a sweetness and tangy. All in all, this is another sensory play that works fantastically with cheese and bread so you can whip it out for Christmas or dish them out as gusts, as I am doing.

Ingredients to make 4 jars of 150ml size

600g tomatoes skinned
400g pineapple chunks
280ml rice wine vinegar
2 tsp black onion seeds
2 tsp chilli flakes
5-6 curry leaves
1/4 tsp cinnamon
100g caster sugar
One large red onion
2 tbsp oil
2 tsp minced ginger
Salt to taste
Half a large cucumber, cut into bite sized chunks

Cooks tip; to skin the tomatoes pour boiling water into a pan with the tomatoes in. When the skin starts to split, drain the water and wash them in cold water before slipping the skin off.



1. Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion seeds and curry leaves and when the onion seeds crackle add the onions and salt. Sauté the onion for a minute before adding the ginger. Cook until the onion has softened.
2. Pour in the vinegar and sugar and stir it and simmer until the sugar has dissolved.


3. Pour the tomatoes, cinnamon and pineapple in and lower the heat and simmer until the juices have dried and the mixture is tacky. It should take about 30minutes.
4. Add the cucumber and cook for a further 4minutes before turning of the heat.

Make sure the jars have been sterilised before you our the cooled chutney in.

18 Responses to “Tangy, sweet, spicy Christmas food gift-tomato, pineapple and cucumber chutney”

  1. Selma's Table November 10, 2013 at 12:07 am #

    What a lovely thing to do for your birthday – a boat in Kerala – with a cook – fabulous! Recipe sounds delicious and is just the thing for gifting too. Have bookmarked it for later this month…Sx

    • Deena Kakaya November 10, 2013 at 7:10 am #

      Thanks Selma! It was lots of fun but importantly, utterly relaxing. Please send me a pic when you make it x

  2. Ganga108 November 10, 2013 at 7:25 am #

    I so need one of those trips in Kerala backwaters! And the chutney looks gorgeous.

    • Deena Kakaya November 10, 2013 at 8:11 am #

      I know what you mean, I want go back to! I also stayed in munar and loved it there.

      The chutney really is gorgeous, I hope you’ll try it! Thanks so much for stopping by, I appreciate it x x

  3. HELEN November 10, 2013 at 7:31 am #

    The house boat sounds like an amazing place, and all that food made for you too, what a luxury! The chutney sounds great too.

    • Deena Kakaya November 10, 2013 at 8:07 am #

      Hi Helen, thanks so much for your lovely comment.

      The house boat was such a wonderful experience, the memories will last with he forever. Great thing is that it was pretty good value for money compared to many other holiday experiences in other destinations.

      The chutney is incredible, I hope you’ll try it. I’m so grateful the chef shared his method with me xx

  4. Alex wilcox November 11, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

    We love your recipes and my husband and I will be making this for sure this Christmas. Thank you xx

    • Deena Kakaya November 11, 2013 at 4:51 pm #

      Thanks Alex, such a lovely and encouraging comment. I really hope that you enjoy this chutney xx

  5. Nip it in the bud November 12, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

    oooh your chutney looks so good – I’d never have thought of combining tomato, pineapple and cucumber but I bet it tastes amazing! You’re making me hungry now just when it’s time to go to bed …

    • Deena Kakaya November 12, 2013 at 11:09 pm #

      Hello! Thanks do much for stopping by! I love, love this chutney. I’ve been spreading it on toast fir breakfast! It’s sweet, spicy, tangy and cucumber give crunch. Please do try it xx

  6. Sharon November 17, 2013 at 11:56 am #

    I have just made this to use up a glut of cucumbers I’d grown. I think I may have slipped with the chili flakes as it’s a bit on the spicy side and I adjusted the other spices as I couldn’t find onion seeds, but I must say it is really tasty and will be making it again.

    • Deena Kakaya November 17, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

      Hi Sharon, I’m so glad you like it! I love this one. I got onion seeds from sainsburys. It’s defo worth getting then if you can, it will enhance the flavour. I had this chutney with my breakfast today, I love it! Xx

  7. Shelley December 15, 2013 at 1:22 am #

    It sounds so delicious and I really enjoyed reading about your wonderful holiday :), thankyou for sharing.

    • Deena Kakaya December 15, 2013 at 8:53 am #

      Hi Shelly, thanks so much for stopping by! I’m so glad you like this recipe…the sweet, spicy and tangy flavours are so lovely and it’s a versatile chutney. I hope you’ll try it out xx


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