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Fig chutney is a type of sauce or relish made by cooking figs with a variety of spices and seasonings. It is a variation on the chutneys that form a central part of many Asian cuisines. Usually, its taste is simultaneously sweet and tart, making it a pleasant complement to many kinds of food. Fig chutney can be eaten in a number of different and creative ways, from being an appetizer or part of a cheese board to being served on top of or alongside main dishes to being used as a sandwich spread.
While fig chutney is familiar to many diners in Western countries, it is actually a variation on the chutneys that are a central part of many Asian cuisines, particularly in countries such as India and Pakistan. In these countries, chutney is essentially an umbrella term that encompasses an enormous variety of sauces which may be either fresh or pickled, and which may be served before a main course or alongside it. Commonly eaten chutneys in India and Pakistan include tamarind chutney, mint chutney, and mango chutney.
To make fig chutney, fresh or dried figs are combined in a saucepan with a variety of ingredients. Many fig chutney recipes call for spices and seasonings such as cinnamon, anise, cloves, and lemon zest as well as sugar, onion, and either red wine or red wine vinegar. All of these ingredients are cooked on the stove over low to medium heat until the figs begin to break down and the entire mixture takes on a thick, syrupy consistency. This process typically takes approximately 30 minutes. The chutney can then be either eaten warm or stored in canning jars for later use.
Usually, fig chutney has a flavor that is simultaneously sweet and tart, making it a pleasant accompaniment to many different types of foods. Some opt to serve it with toasted baguette slices or crackers as a dip-style appetizer. Many find that fig chutney complements mild, soft cheeses such as brie and camembert very well, and it is thus often found on antipasto or dessert cheeseboards. This chutney may also be used as a glaze for roasted meats, such as lamb or pork, or may be placed on a dining table along with other condiments. Finally, some people enjoy using fig chutney as a sandwich spread, in the same way that one might use cranberry sauce or hot pepper jelly.