Blatjang is an extremely interesting, and purely South African staple of Cape Malay origins. It is yet another example of why the country is known as the "Rainbow Nation," because in the origins of blatjang, you will find Indonesian, Malay, Indian and Dutch influences. The name itself is very much an Afrikaans word with no Dutch association linguistically. In fact, the actual word blatjang is comparable to the Malay word "belacan" or Indonesian word "blachang" which is a completely unrelated condiment to a chutney. Belacan is a paste made from fermented shrimp and prawns, is rather pungent and is a flavor enhancer in South East Asian curries and soups.
Chutney on the other hand, while it is a form of relish with South Asian origins, is rather sweet, tangy and at times fruity depending on what it is made out of. Perhaps the connection can be made in that both belacan and blatjang (chutney) are preserves and can both be used as condiments such as sambal or additives to curries, stews and other recipes. Blatjang is popularly served as a condiment with bobotie, another famous Cape Malay dish and one of South Africa's national dishes. In fact, bobotie is traditionally made with apricot jam, however, if you check out my bobotie recipe, you will note that I managed to sneak in some blatjang (hot and spicy chutney) instead.
And so you may be asking yourself whether there is a genuine distinction between fruit chutney and blatjang, with the latter almost always consisting of peaches and apricots, extra heat from chillies and with a smoother consistency in comparison to chutney. Although it is truly difficult to tell, there does seem to be a general consensus that every blatjang is a chutney, however not every chutney is a blatjang.
- 1 pound/500g peaches (dried)
- 1/2 pound/250g apricots (dried)
- 1 pound/500g onions (red)
- 1 pound/500g sugar
- 13 1/2 ounces/400ml vinegar
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons chili powder (level teaspoons)
- 1 chili pepper (whole, dried)
- 2 teaspoons salt (level teaspoons)
1. Soak the dried peaches and apricots whole in the vinegar overnight. This allows them to re-hydrate and become plump. Blitz or chop them into small pieces with a food processor.
2. Chop or dice the onions in a food processor.
3. Place all ingredients into a pot and heat gently for 20 minutes in order to allow the sugar to dissolve thoroughly.
4. Allow to simmer at a medium heat for about 1 hour without covering and stirring occasionally.
5. Once ready, allow ?it to cool for 10 to 15 minutes prior to bottling into hot, sterilized jars. Keep sealed and store in a cool, dark place.
|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|