I love the feeling of making my own sauces and condiments (case in point here and here). Most of the time, they turned out to be easier than I’ve imagined. Having said that, I do consciously try to steer away from recipes that are too complicated for my fuss free minded self.
Now making relish is no rocket science. Or at least this is what I gather from reading cookbooks. The only discouragement maybe the cooking time required to reduce the mixture into thick and sticky jam like consistency. But this can be easily averted if you make in a smaller quantity (you can halve the recipe below to make one cup of relish) and see if relish making agrees with you.
Not only I started small, I also started by using ingredients that are already in my pantry. The prep work for this recipe is minimal. So minimal that it can be a spontaneous relish making exercise if you wish. All you need to do is to peel and roughly chop the garlic and ginger…the rest is basically opening cans of tomatoes, pouring and mixing stuff together. Sounds pretty easy huh?
Pantry Tomato & Cranberry Relish
(Tweaked very slightly from The Food of India – A Journey for Food Lovers)
Makes two cups
What you’ll need:-
- 6 – 8 garlic cloves (depending on the size & your preference), roughly chopped
- about 5 cm (2 inches) piece of ginger, peeled & roughly chopped
- 2 x 400g/14 ounces canned chopped tomatoes
- 310ml/10.4 fluid ounces (1.25 cups) clear vinegar
- 350g/ 12 ounces soft brown sugar
- 2 tbsps dried cranberries (aka craisins) – original recipe calls for raisins (aka sultanas)
- 2 tsps salt
- chilli powder (optional) – which I have omitted
- a small food processor
- a 2.7 litre / 91 fluid ounces sized pot
- 1.5 hours of your time
(1) Fill a food processor with garlic, ginger and some canned chopped tomatoes – see Note 1. Blend until smooth…like smoothie. Set aside. (2) Meanwhile, fill a pot with the remaining canned tomatoes, dried cranberries, brown sugar, salt and vinegar. Bring the mixture to the boil over medium heat and then add the ginger-garlic-tomatoes mixture. (3) Reduce the heat to allow the mixture to simmer gently for 1.5 hours, stirring occassionally, until the mixture is thick enough… resembling a thick jam – See Note 2. (4) Add cayenne pepper to taste should you wish to do so. (5) Leave to cool, then pour into sterilized jars (as per the recipe book: wash the jars in boiling water and dry them in a warm oven). Store in cool place or in the fridge after opening.
Note 1 – The recipe says half the tomatoes but depending on the size of your food processor (mine is a really small one), just pour enough to fill up the food processor (no more than 1 can). Adding liquid will help to blend the ginger and garlic into very fine pieces. For this recipe, the canned tomatoes is the “liquid”.
Note 2 – I let the mixture simmer uncovered. When the mixture became really thick (about the last half hour of cooking time) and started to splatter a little, I place the pot cover, tilted to aside and continue to finish cooking. This way it will reduce the splatter around the kitchen area, allowing the mixture to reduce at the same time. The thicker the mixture, the more likely it is going to stick and burn. So towards the last half hour (apprx) of cooking time, you basically need to stand by the pot to stir gently.
Relish makes sandwiches more stylish and gourmet-esque. I also love relish with cheese and crackers. What else do you like to (or can) add relish to?