Rhubarb and star anise chutney

Succulent forced rhubarb simmered with aromatic anise and Kashmiri chillies.
  • 1kg rhubarb, trimmed, cut into 2.5cm chunks
  • 660g sugar
  • 4 star anise
  • 2 tsp ground fennel seeds
  • 2 Kashmiri chillies, broken into small pieces
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida (optional)
1) Place the rhubarb in a wide, heavy-based pan and mix in the sugar. Cook on a low heat for 10 minutes.

2) Add two star anise to the rhubarb mixture along with the salt. Simmer the rhubarb on a medium heat for 25 minutes or until thickened.

3) To test if the chutney is done, place a plate in the freezer for 10 minutes, remove and put a teaspoon of chutney on it. Allow to rest for 2 minutes and push the mixture back with your finger. If it wrinkles, it's done.

4) If the mixture doesn't set after a long period of boiling, use my cornflour cheat and mix 1/2 teaspoon of cornflour with 2 teaspoons of cold water and add it to the bubbling chutney. You don't want to boil the chutney for too long because by doing so, you run the risk of boiling it into invert syrup (which will never set).

5) Once your chutney is cooked, remove it from the heat and add the fennel powder, two more star anise, Kashmiri chillies, asafoetida and butter. Stir and set aside while you sterilise your jars.

6) Dollop the chutney into sterilised jars. Cover the top of the chutney with a very thin film of groundnut oil and a piece of parchment paper and allow to cool to room temperature. This keeps for 2-4 weeks in the fridge— if it lasts that long.

This recipe make two jars — one for now and one for later.

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