People often ask where I get my ideas from and pass comments about ‘how creative I am’. Truth is, it’s a direct function of surrounding myself or being surrounded with material – fodder for the creations. These ideas are almost always a progression, a building on a pre-existing tennet, foundation – I’m very much of the school of ‘look through the fridge and make something of it’.
In the past, I’ve sautéed pawpaw chunks and stuffed them into hand pies. This chutney came about for 3 reasons:
- I had ripe pawpaw in the fridge which I didn’t want to use in salads/ salsa or puree for smoothies so I chose to cook it
- I felt it needed a flavor contrast to lift the mushy creaminess and slight muskiness of the pawpaw hence the green chilies
- The addition of the tomatoes and cilantro stems – my current favourite version came about because once I was a judge on Knorr taste quest Season 3 and had the most awesome tomato jam. And because I LOVE cilantro.
When I first began cooking it, I would simply combine all the ingredients in a pot and cook with some sugar till it was done. But I’m all about CANI – constant and neverending improvement so I took another route.
“CANI” stands for Constant And Never-ending Improvement. It’s an acronym that Tony developed more than a decade ago and he was influenced by Dr. W. Edwards Deming. Dr. Deming is credited as one of the leaders who brought one of the first quality movements to the Japanese. His basic premise was that the secret to help the Japanese achieve world power and economic success was if every single person and organization commit to constant improvement.
The Japanese have a single word for “constant and never-ending improvement” and it’s called “Kaizen.” Kaizen is from the Japanese words Kai and Zen where “kai” means change and “zen” means good; Source
I realized the flavours were amplified if I changed the order, quite by accident. So one day, I didn’t have all my ingredients prepped and so I began put the ingredients in the pan as I had them.
First, the the sugar, water and chilies – I had sugar syrup. Into it went the chilies, then the tomatoes and finally the pawpaw. The result was clean clear flavours and beautiful glazed chilies and tomatoes. The cilantro stems came later.
The result is a glorious chutney that works well with cheese, meats, vegetables (I serve dollops on a cassava-coconut salad, on fried/ roasted plantain…)
- 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
- 1/2 - 1 teaspoon chopped green chilies
- 1/2 cup of fresh tomatoes, chopped (1 - 2 large tomatoes)
- 3 cups chopped ripe pawpaw
- In a pot, combine 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 a cup of water. Stir and let look for a minute or two before adding the green chilies and chopped tomatoes
- Let cook for 2 - 3 minutes, or till the tomatoes 'glaze' and take on some shine
- Add chopped pawpaw, stir and let cook for 10 - 15 minutes, stirring often till pawpaw is 'cooked' and translucent. (I like a mix of pureed and chunky so while in the pot, I mash gently)
- Leave to cool
- Once cool, put in containers and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months
- Goes well with rice dishes, plantain, salads, vegetables, etc. Enjoy
- To use from frozen, let thaw in the fridge for a few hours/ overnight. Use as you desire