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Cranberry-Shallot relish with mustard oil and kalonji

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Cranberry-Shallot relish with mustard oil and kalonji
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Ingredients (9)

  • 12 oz. packet of raw cranberries
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp mustard oil
  • 1/2 tsp whole black mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp kalonji (aka nigella, "black onion" seeds, charnushka)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 2 finely chopped, seeded green chilies (jalapeno, cayenne, or serrano - your preference for heat)
  • pinch of salt

A raw cranberry relish loosely based on the raw starfruit-mustard oil relish in the Mangoes and Curry Leaves cookbook. When I made this for a Thanksgiving buffet last year I was worried it might be just too radical a departure, but it turned out that the kalonji and shallots go surprisingly well with turkey.


  1. 1Using a food processor, finely chop the rinsed cranberries and leave them to macerate with the brown sugar in a bowl.
  2. 2Finely chop half a cup of shallots. Depending on your tolerance for heat, seed and remove the white veins from the green chilies before finely chopping them.
  3. 3Heat 2 tsbp mustard oil in a small heavy skillet over medium high heat until it begins to smoke. Turn off the flame, let the oil cool down for a minute, and then turn the burner back on.
  4. 4Add the mustard, cumin and kalonji seeds. Shake gently over medium high heat until the mustard seeds turn light grey and begin popping.
  5. 5Immediately add the chopped shallots and green chilies. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt (scant 1/4 tsp). Cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots are transparent but not yet starting to brown.
  6. 6Mix the shallots and spices in with the cranberries.
  7. 7When first mixed, depending on how hot your chillies were, this might taste a bit jarring – but press on! Put the relish in a covered container and leave it in the fridge overnight. By the next day everything will have mellowed beautifully.
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