Crab Apple Chutney/Dip

Crab Apple – don’t ask me how it is related to apple and why the word ‘crab’ in it! 🙂 Crab apple is a small red coloured fruit, which is very sour in taste. I came to know of a couple of years ago. There was (still is) a little tree in our front garden, planted by our house builder. It bears small fruit like a cherry, but not the same taste as that of cherry. For the first couple of years, I never thought of doing anything with it. Then one time a neighbour told me that it is crab apple tree, and it is used to make jellies. I googled and understood that it is an excellent source of pectin, hence people mainly use it to make jelly.

I am not into jelly, so the Indian in me finalised at the next best usage of this fruit – chutney! When I made the chutney for the first time, my darling hubby became a huge fan of it! After that I had to made 2 big batches as he plucked all the crab apples from the tree! This crab apple chutney is a sweet and sour dip which you can enjoy with chips, pancakes, fritters, paranthas, etc.

Crab Apple Tree
Crab Apples

Making this chutney is a very easy and quick process but the preparation is time consuming. And my preparation I mean getting the fruit from the tree and then cutting the right parts (without the seed) for the chutney.

Before we get to our Indian use of Crab apple (as chutney), I would like to share an interesting fact about Crab apple. It has mythological importance in English culture; it is a symbol of love and marriage. Shakespeare also referred to Crab apple in his books (A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Love’s Labour Lost).

Enough of the trivia! Let’s start to make this interesting, beautiful red coloured tangy chutney!

The ingredients for making Crab Apple Chutney are:

  1. Crab Apple: 1.5 kg                 
  2. Panchporan: 2 tsp                   
  3. Chilli powder: 2 tsp                   
  4. Turmeric powder: ¾ tsp                
  5. Coriander powder: 1 tsp (optional)              
  6. Salt: 2 tsp                   
  7. Sugar: 5 Tbsp                     
  8. Oil: 2 Tbsp


Firstly, cut the top and bottom part of the crab apple, then cut in half and take out the seeds.

Crab Apples

Secondly, put all the crab apple pieces in a colander;  then wash and rinse well in water and keep them aside to drain off all the extra water.

Cut and deseeded Crab Apples

Now heat the oil in a pan and do the tempering with panchporan. (Panchporan is a mixture of 5 spices; cumin seeds, mustard seeds, nigella seeds, fenugreek seeds and funnel seeds)

Then add chilli powder, turmeric powder, and coriander powder. Saute it for few seconds.

Now add the cut crab apple pieces and mix well. Then add salt to it, mix well and cook covered for approximately 5-7 minutes.

Once it is almost cooked,  add sugar and again mix it well. Cover and cook it for a further 4-5 minutes.

At this point, all the crab apple pieces should have been cooked thoroughly and would become mushy and of chutney consistency.

Your tangy, sweet and sour Crab Apple Chutney is ready!

You can store this chutney in refrigerator for 2-3 weeks or for 6-12 months in the freezer.

Insider Tips/Finer Points:

  • You can adjust spices according to your taste.
  • You can adjust the tanginess by adding less or more sugar.
  • Do not add water while making chutney.
  • Prepare to relish and enjoy this amazing chutney. It can also be seasonal.


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