Cucumber chutney is one of those spicy condiments which may well be native to Trinidad and Tobago, especially when it comes to the street food called ‘doubles’. A truly good doubles will always be topped with cumber chutney or depending on the season.. green mango chutney. The sour or tart base, spiced with the shando beni and the vibrant heat of the scotch bonnet pepper can cause serious drooling to take place (wipe your beak). As with many of the delicacies we enjoy in the Caribbean, we never give it much thought as to how simple it is to make. We all assume that there’s some level of difficulty when it comes to making traditional dishes, especially since our cuisine is not as readily documented in cook books etc.
Let’s take a look at how simple this cucumber chutney is to make.
1 large cucumber
2 cloves garlic
1 scotch bonnet pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoon Shado Beni
Notes: To kick this up a bit, you can add a dash of cumin (geera). I used a scotch bonnet pepper, but you’re free to use a habanero and any hot pepper you may have or like using. If you don’t have shado beni, feel free to use 3 tablespoons of freshly chopped cilantro (coriander). I used the entire pepper (seeds and all), but if you’re overly concerned about excessive heat, don’t include the seeds.
I used a seedless English cucumber for making this cucumber chutney so I didn’t have to remove ay seeds. Additionally I didn’t remove the skin as I like the texture and contrast the skin gives to the finished chutney. If using cucumbers with seeds, do use a spoon to remove them and any soft mushy areas. Must be firm for easy grating.
I simply washed, then cut my cucumber into 2 pieces (easier to handle), then I grated with my box grater. Use the side which gives you that sort of shredded finish. (see pic)
After grating I placed the now shredded cucumber into a strainer and squeezed out as much of the liquid as I could.
I then placed it back into a bowl and prepared the other ingredients. I gave the garlic, shado beni and scotch bonnet pepper a rough chop so it would be easier to puree.
You can use a Magi Bullet as I did, a food processor, a blender or just use your knife to give this a really fine chop. Additionally you can also use a mortar and pestle. In my magic bullet I squeezed the juice of the lemon, added the salt, black pepper and rough chopped – shado beni, garlic and scotch bonnet pepper. I started with a few quick pulses, then I let it run until I had a fine puree.
The scent of the lemon juice, with the garlic, shado beni and scotch bonnet pepper will be divine and cause your mouth to start springing juices (you know what I mean). The final step is to assemble everything. Pour the pepper puree into the same bowl where you have the shredded cucumber and give it a good mix.
The idea is to marry all the flavours so you have a nice spicy cucumber chutney. Allow this to marinate in the fridge for a couple hours and you’re good to go. This spicy cucumber chutney will last in the fridge for at least a week and goes well with anything you normally eat spicy condiments with..even your scrambled eggs at breakfast. Do remember to taste for salt.. the idea is to have a mellow/well-rounded undertone and have the shredded cucumber absorb the goodness of the garlic, shado beni and heat from the pepper.