Today is Earth Day…a day we all pay homage to the planet that houses us, feeds us, hydrates us and nourishes us, in body soul and mind. Each moment, around each corner, the hues, patterns, shapes, sounds in the immense natural beauty that surrounds us are ever present to brighten our outlook.
A recent visit to the land of Costa Rica reinforced this sense of being blessed by varying ecosystems. On account of its sheer greenery and a rare observation that each person, whether living in a tiny dwelling or a massive mansion, was not only aware of this abundance, but was instrumental in preserving it as well, through simple civic sense, Costa Rica was the most fascinating place that I’ve visited.
This is where we as a family were introduced to pineapple farming by a wonderful cousin. It was amazing to see row after row of pineapples, neat in their pristine surroundings. It was a treat! And of course, the taste, oh, the burst of sweet flavors when we were offered freshly cut pineapple slices, right there, on the farm!! That was the icing on the cake!
“Nothing beats fresh cut pineapple,” was something that my husband would always insist. I, on the other hand, reluctant to go through a messy surgery on the kitchen countertop, would always shy away from getting an entire pineapple at home. However, after showing me the art of going through the outer layer of the fruit systematically, he finally managed to convince me to try it. And I did and now, I can very well say that I can cut a pineapple on my own…with relative ease!! And the little mess that comes with it is definitely worth the taste!
Inspired by the luscious tomato chutney a friend from Calcutta whips up for us in no time, I decided to pair tomatoes and pineapple and make a quick, tangy chutney. It goes well with a simple Indian meal or can also be eaten with meats (it cuts the fat very well) or tacos and quesadillas too.
Tomatoes: 1 big or 2 small.
Pineapple chunks (crushed pineapples work well too): 1 cup with any juice that is present with the fruit.
Raisins, about 1/4 cup or less if you’d like. These can be omitted entirely.
Sugar: 3-4 tablespoons.
Salt: 1/2 tsp.
Dash of Paprika
Fennel seeds: 1 tsp.
Fenugreek seeds (optional): 1/2 tsp.
Nigella seeds: 1/2 tsp.
Black Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp.
Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp.
Vinegar: 2 tablespoons.
A wooden spoon (preferable)
Olive oil (any oil will do): 1 tablespoon.
Wash the tomatoes and cut them into big chunks. Set aside. Heat the oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, add all the seeds and allow them to splutter. Reduce the heat to its lowest setting and add the sugar, pineapple juice and vinegar. Stir until this melts. Now add the pineapple, raisins and tomato and cook on a slow flame or simmer until the chutney has a thick consistency. It takes about 10-15 minutes. Add salt and allow to cool. Remove to a non-reactive glass container and enjoy!