Zesty Green Tomato Chutney

-Recipe from Yamuna mataji

                Bengalis love green tomato chutney –either sweet or sweet ‘n’ sour –for although it is made from a plebeian ingredient, it has a wonderfully delicate flavor. In this century-old recipe from Bir Nagar, saffron and lime juice beautifully set off a green tomato-papaya combination. Bengalis are fond of both unripened mango and papaya, and many cooks might toss in a handful of diced fruit about halfway through the cooking. A relative newcomer to greengrocers shelves and roadside stalls, yellow tomatoes make a fine golden variation in summer.

Preparation time (after assembling ingredients): about 30 minutes
Makes: about 1 cup (240 ml)

4 medium-sized green or yellow tomatoes (about 1 pounds/570 g)
3 table spoons (45 ml) ghee, or corn or mustard oil
1 table spoon (15 ml) minced yellow banana chilies, or 1-2 seeded and minced hot Serrano chilies
teaspoon (2 ml) black mustard seeds
8-10 curry leaves, preferably fresh
1/8 teaspoon (0.5 ml) saffron threads
2 table spoons (30 ml) each finely chopped candied ginger
cup (120 ml) peeled and diced green papaya or mango and papaya or other slightly underripe fruit
teaspoon (2 ml) salt
2 table spoons (30 ml) coarsely chopped fresh coriander

1.    Plunge the tomatoes into a pan of boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain immediately and peel the tomatoes. Cut each in half crosswise and squeeze out most of the seeds. Dice the tomatoes.
2.    Heat the ghee or oil in a heavy frying pan over moderate heat until it is hot but not smoking. (If you use mustard oil, bring it to the smoking point for about 5 seconds to make the pungent oil docile). Drop in the black mustard seeds and fry until they turn gray and sputter. Add the curry leaves, and in seconds carefully add the tomatoes and saffron. Stir and cook for about 15 minutes over in seconds moderately low heat.
3.    Add the candied fruit, diced green fruit and salt. Stirring often toward the end, cook for about 15 minutes or until fairly thick. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the fresh coriander, and let cool. Serve at temperature, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.