My current favorite snack is a couple of crackers dipped into or topped with something. Non fussy, easy to put together, enjoyable, and filling. That’s what I need on a mad day of writing, juggling excel sheets, planning classes and meetings. I always carry a pack of diabetic-friendly biscuits in my bag when I go out, but when I am at home, I need a little extra. That’s when all the chutneys, relishes (sometimes just some thick curd mixed with a condiment) come to the rescue. Remember this?

I’ve been enjoying this Bengali-inspired Tomato and Raisin chutney for a while now. It is a wonderful amalgamation of tart, sweet, earthy, and bitter flavors, and comes together very easily. It works very well on my poor cracker and as a side with parathas, or with a good grilled chicken. I imagine it would be great with a grilled cheese sandwich as well.

Tomato and Raisin Chutney


  • 3 large tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins, soaked in a cup of water for half an hour
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp. Panch Phoron [Mix equal quantities of black mustard (rai)  seeds, fenugreek (methi) seeds, nigella seeds (kalonji), fennel seeds (saunf), and cumin seeds (jeera) and use as required; this also makes for an excellent flavor base for daals]
  • 4 tbsp. raw sugar or jaggery
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tsp. Kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp. oil (I used rice bran)


  1. Heat the oil in a thick bottomed pan.
  2. Add the bay leaf and panch phoron and saute momentarily until fragrant.
  3. Tip in the tomatoes and saute until soft. Add all the other ingredients and combine. Add 2 tbsp. water and cover and cook on low heat for 5 minutes.
  4. Uncover, check for seasoning, and cook until most of the moisture evaporates.
  5. Cool and decant into a jar. Store in the refrigerator for upto 15 days.