Lime pickle sauce has been a condiment of legend for hundreds of years in the Western world. Brought over to England from India, a version of lime pickles even features in the book "Little Women," with children holding them as almost a sacred thing on the playground. While lime pickle sauce is typically served alongside curries and other main meals, use the purported mystical flavor to add taste to the curry itself as it cooks.
Adding chutney to curry is less of an exact science and more to taste preference, especially considering the spice tolerance of those who will be consuming the curry. While the coconut milk will greatly offset the spice, it is still strong enough in lime chutney to burn the tongues of those not used to heat. A good rule is to begin by adding about 1 teaspoon lime pickle for every 5 tablespoons cream of coconut. Once mixed in and tasted, add more, if desired. Add 1 teaspoon at a time until you achieve the desired taste.
If the curry recipe calls for the addition of sugar, lime juice or spicy flavors, such as chilies, omit these ingredients until after you add the lime sauce. It is intensely sweet, sour and spicy on its own, and these flavors may overpower other tastes or the creaminess of the coconut milk if doubled up. Taste the curry about 10 minutes after you add the lime sauce, allowing the flavors and spice to infuse the dish, and then decide whether to add the omitted ingredients, if, for example, you want a sweeter curry.
For those with the most sensitive palates or inability to handle spice, keep the chutney out of the curry recipe and serve it in its traditional manner, on the side. Take half of that to be served and mix it in a ratio of 1:1 with yogurt. This allows for spice lovers to still spoon their desired amount onto their curry and mix it in on their plate, while those who cannot handle a great deal of spice can still enjoy the sweet and tangy flavor of lime pickle sauce with yogurt taming the heat.
4. Other Uses
Pickled lime sauce shouldn't only be relegated to an accompanying dish for curries -- its flavors make it a versatile condiment. Combine with coconut milk and spoon onto fish before poaching it on the stove, or use it to marinate chicken breasts overnight before grilling them the next day on the barbecue. Serve small spoonfuls of the lime chutney on cheese and crackers for a easy yet elegant party appetizer.
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