Friday, November 17, 2006


Quince Chutney (Sambal)

I couldn't resist picking up a few quince at the market the other day.

They have such a dreamy fragrance. Makes a girl just want to bite in.


Funny thing though. They have to be cooked to eat. Or so I have always heard. And in my limited experience they have always turned a shocking shade of pink when cooked.

Well, not this batch. They just stayed white. Confusing to little ol’ me.

I had a few ideas for what to do with them. Preserves being the first thing that came to mind. But then I realized that I really don’t eat that much jam/jelly/preserves. The apricot jam I made last month is still in the fridge and adding another jar didn't seem like such a hot idea.

So what did this girl do? Log on to the Food and Wine website of course! Recipes and ideas galore.

Except if you are seeking recipes for quince. Pout.

The only thing that really caught my eye was this recipe for Sambal by hottie Swedish-Ethiopian-American chef Marcus Samuelsson. (Purrr.)

The first sign of trouble was that according to the reviewers, it isn't really sambal - a Malaysian condiment made of fried chiles, sugar and salt. And the second was that, according to me, it was, um, hard to pair with anything.

But I made it anyway, and used it as a salad dressing. Just tossed it over some greens and voila, dinner. Weird but true. It seemed healthy and whatall. Right? Tasty too.

Sweet and spicy, fresh and nutty, it was a good way to spruce up something bland. On futher inspection, I think it would have gone perfectly with some simply grilled pork, a chicken breast or a fat slab of grilled tofu.

Any which way, I hope you will try it, and enjoy! I adjusted it for my taste and what I had on hand, but for the most part, it is really their recipe. Deliciousness indeed. Gesondheid!

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
3 red Thai chiles, very finely chopped
One 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 small red onion, chopped
1/4 cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
2 small quinces—peeled, halved, cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Lots of coarsely chopped mint

In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil. Add the garlic, chiles, ginger and onion and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the peanuts and cook until sizzling, about 3 minutes. Add the quince, lemon juice, sugar and salt. Cover and simmer, stirring a few times, until the quince is barely tender, about 3 minutes. Let cool slightly. Stir in the mint and serve.

Makes about 1.5 cups


Tagged with: +

Quince is the only food in the English language that starts with the letter "Q." (Quiche and Quinine are not English words.)

Raw quince has a rough and woolly rind, and the flesh is hard and unpalatable, with an astringent, acidulous taste. When cooked it tastes like a cross between apples and pears.

The term, honeymoon, is derived from the Babylonians who declared mead, a honey-flavored wine, the official wedding drink, stipulating that the bride's parents be required to keep the groom supplied with the drink for the month following the wedding; that month became known as the honeymonth, hence our honeymoon

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I love sambals but I have never had a quince in my life. What a great way to test them out! Thanks for the recipe -- I'll go seek them out!
I saw that you give cooking classes in Los Angeles on the Internet, but i can't find any contact information on your company. Do you have an office phone or email that I can get info at?
I have been really curious about quince but never knew what one does with them. Now I do! Hope I can try the sambal recipe soon.
"quince" only ever makes me think of jeopardy. LOL!
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