About This Recipe
During pineapple season, you’ll find this sweet and tangy anarosor ombol or pineapple chutney on just about every table in the state of Assam in northeastern India. On Magh Bihu (the Assamese harvest festival) or Bohag Bihu (New Year), the relish is served with luchi (a puffed bread) and meat or potato curry for breakfast or brunch. Pineapple ombol can double up as a spread by slathering its gooey goodness on a slice of toasted bread.
Indian chutneys and relishes are a great way to incorporate a bit of sweet, balanced by sour, into your diet to take the edge of sugar cravings without resorting to heavy desserts. This one is packed with vitamin C and manganese from the pineapple, which also contains bromelain, an enzyme that aids digestion and may boost immunity. Cardamom, an antibacterial, and the other toasted spices boost this effect as well.
Note: If fresh pineapple isn’t available, use canned. Coarsely chop the slices to cook into ombol.
Makes 450 g
- 1 (900 g) pineapple
- 2 Tbsp (30 ml) peanut oil or any neutral vegetable oil
- 2 dried bay leaves
- ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
- 1 whole dried red chile (Kashmiri or other mild variety)
- 2 green cardamom pods, freshly pounded with skin
- 2 Tbsp (24 g) coconut sugar or other unrefined sugar
- A pinch of turmeric
- 20 (10 g) raisins
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp (15 ml) milk
Step 1Prep the pineapple: With a sharp knife, chop off the green top and the bottom. Fold a kitchen towel and use it to hold the pineapple to peel the thick skin. With the pointed tip of the knife, scoop out the eyes and quarter your pineapple lengthwise; this makes it easier to hold and grate the fruit. In Asian markets, you request the fruit seller do this for you and bag the pineapple to take home.
Step 2Cut out the tough core and coarsely grate the pineapple into a bowl. From a whole pineapple, you get about 400-450 grams of grated fruit. Set it aside.
Step 3In a medium cast-iron pan, heat the peanut oil over medium heat until hot. Add 1 Tbsp ghee and wait for it to melt and blend with the oil. Drop in the dry spices –the bay leaf, fenugreek seeds, dried red chile, and cardamom and sauté the spices until the bay leaf slightly browns and the spices are aromatic.
Step 4Add the grated pineapple and mix well. Stir in the sugar and a pinch of turmeric powder. Cook on medium low heat while stirring continuously until the sugar dissolves, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the raisins and stir well to combine. Add ½ tsp of salt and turn the heat to high to help dry up the water released by the pineapple. Stir frequently for 12 minutes until the pineapple is tender, and the mixture attains a jammy consistency. Pour in 1 Tbsp of milk and mix well. Adjust seasoning and turn off the heat. Cover and let it rest for 10 minutes. Serve the pineapple ombol as a side with any hot meal.
Level up: Thin out the relish with water to turn it into a piquant, fruity salad dressing.
Try it with: Use it as a condiment in your sandwiches.