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Gingered fig chutney

I love the world of chutneys. These condiments sit quietly on the table, but no meal almost anywhere in the world is complete without them. These overlooked dishes come in 1000's of flavours, from super spicy to mild raitas, and delicately herby sauces that compliment the other dishes on the table. They serve to add that pop of flavour, to bring out subtle nuances of the dishes or even to cleanse your palate between bites. It is a challenge for a chef to choose the perfect condiment for the meal, one that fits in, and one that makes the meal perfect.

This fig chutney is an absolute stunner! Bright, bold and beautiful, this chutney will dominate the meal. The chutney is a balancing act of sweetness from the figs and sugar, the abundance of ginger and the bold spice from the chillies. The flavours play together in harmony, creating a riot on your tongue. The complex flavours bring the right meal alive, I serve it with heavy slow-braised or grilled red meats. The sweetness and acid cut through the fats and compliment the flavours of the meat beautifully. Watch out, this chutney is addictive. You can also use this chutney on sandwiches, or crackers on top of cream cheese. It will always shine, no matter how you use it.

This is one of the first cookbooks I purchased over 27 years ago. I got it to learn how to cook and because it has such a wide variety of global cuisines that pop with spice. All the vegetarian recipes are easy to make and have always turned out delicious, though on a few occasions I have had to turn down the heat a notch or two. Jennifer is a well-published cookbook author, with 11 books, and Jump Up and Kiss Me a brand of natural spicy foods is amazing. This is a cookbook I need to pull out more often.

For more recipes from this very spicy book, click here.


1 tablespoons oil

1 small mild white onion, finely diced

4 tablespoons ginger paste

2-4 hot green chillies, finely diced

2 teaspoons lemon, or lime zest

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/3 cup white wine vinegar

1/3-1/2 tablespoon brown sugar

1 heaped teaspoon ground cardamom

Salt, to taste

1 teaspoon chilli powder, or to taste

4 figs, diced

Heat oil in a small pot and add the onions, ginger and chillies. Fry on low heat till the onions are well cooked and soft. Add the zest, and raisins, and stir for 1 minute.

Add the vinegar, sugar, cardamom, salt, and chilli powder. Stir for 1 minute to mix in well.

Add the figs and stir in well and cook for 1-3 minutes depending on the ripeness of the figs. If the figs are ripe cook them less so they do not melt into the chutney. Cook longer for raw figs that have more structure.

Use immediately, or store in an air-tight container for about 5-7 days in the fridge.

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