Indian-style Cranberry Chutney

Cranberry Chutney 14

Or, How to make Indian-spiced cranberry sauce.

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, it’s the time of the year when fresh cranberries are in the stores, and it’s also the time of the year when we are looking for unusual flavor combinations for traditional ingredients. In that spirit, here’s a fantastic sweet, spicy and savory Indian-style cranberry chutney modeled after our favorite tamarind chutney recipe from the excellent Indian cookbook, Indian Home Cooking. Cranberries are tart like tamarind, so they work well here and bring a distinct new flavor to a familiar sauce.


Cranberry Chutney 01

The ingredients (counter-clockwise):

  • 6 oz cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ginger (ground or, preferably, grated fresh)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne (or less, if you’re so inclined)
  • 1 tsp garam masala (recommended)*

Also included, but not shown:

  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups water

*Don’t have garam masala? That’s okay, you can leave it out, or you can substitute 1/2 tsp ground coriander, 1/4 tsp ground cumin, 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/8 tsp ground cardamom and a pinch of ground cloves, or any subset of these that you do have on hand.


Cranberry Chutney 02

Mince the cranberries in the food processor.

Cranberry Chutney 03

Heat the oil and the dried spices in a small saucepan.


Cranberry Chutney 04

After the oil is hot, cook for about a minute, stirring.


Cranberry Chutney 05

Add the water and stir. Increase the heat and bring the water to a boil.


Cranberry Chutney 06

Add all of the sugar and stir to dissolve.


Cranberry Chutney 07

Add the ginger…


Cranberry Chutney 08

…and the chopped cranberries.


Cranberry Chutney 09

Stir and bring to a simmer.


Cranberry Chutney 10

Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until the cranberries are completely softened and the sauce is thickened, 30 to 60 minutes.


Cranberry Chutney 13

Works equally well with naan and papadums or biscuits and mashed potatoes.

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