Recipe: Fiery Courgette Relish

Courgette relish 2

I’ve been really looking forward to sharing this recipe for courgette (zucchini) relish – it is a wonderful way to get rid of a glut of courgettes at the end of the season, when you are getting a little tired of them… It will transform a kilo (2lb) of those green monsters that you have left on the bush for just a little too long into 2 jars of the most incredibly addictive relish. It has the advantage of being one of those chutneys can be eaten straight away, but it will also keep well (although I have never kept it for more than a couple of months because it gets eaten up too quickly) in a cool cupboard in properly sterilised jars.

It’s very definitely an Indian style chutney with the smoky pungent spice of black mustard seeds, onion seeds, cumin and more, and a not insignificant kick of chilli, but it also preserves the summer-fresh fruity flavours of the tomatoes and courgettes. We eat it with curries (of course – I love it with chana masala and especially with lamb curries), but also on sandwiches with cheese, ham or (fantastically) bacon and spinach,  and it is absolutely at its best with a homemade beef burger.  I use a Scotch Bonnet chilli and then add further heat with quite a lot of dried crushed chilli. If you are worried by this kind of fieriness, then feel free to start small – use a bog-standard supermarket chilli or 2 and halve the quantity of dried chilli – then have a taste towards the end of the cooking process and add a little more if you think you can take it! Remember that it is meant to be a relish, and a little will go a long way, so it needs to be punchy.

Courgette Relish header

Fiery Courgette Relish

  • Servings: makes about two 500g jars
  • Print


  • 6 large cloves of garlic (8 if they are on the puny side)
  • 30g piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 red Scotch Bonnet chilli
  • 1kg courgettes (zucchini)
  • 500g vine-ripened tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons of onion seeds (aka nigella or kalonji)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  •  2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 320g white wine or cider vinegar
  • 350g golden granulated sugar
  • 1 heaped teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 2 level teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 level tablespoon garam masala
  • 2 tsp salt

You will also need two 500g (1lb) sterilized jars


  • Peel and chop the garlic, fresh chilli and ginger very finely and then scrape onto a small plate or saucer. WASH YOUR HANDS AND RINSE THE CHOPPING BOARD AFTER HANDLING THE CHILLI.
  • Chop the courgettes by slicing them lengthways and then chopping them into fairly chunky half moons (1cm wide) and slice the tomatoes thinly and put together in a large bowl.
  • Measure the black mustard seeds, onion seeds and cumin seeds into a small cup or bowl.
  • Heat the oil in a large sturdy pan until it smokes a little. Tip in the mustard, onion and cumin seeds and as soon as they start popping and crackling, turn the heat down to medium and add the garlic, chilli and ginger. Fry for about 5 minutes to allow the ingredients to soften and release their flavours.
  • Stir in the courgettes, tomatoes, vinegar and sugar and bring them slowly to a simmer.
  • Add the chilli flakes, turmeric, garam masala and salt, and then simmer gently for an hour or more until you have a nice chunky relish consistency. The length of time this takes will vary depending on the juiciness of the tomatoes you have used, so just be patient and stir the mixture from time to time to make sure that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Before you pot up the relish, take a little from the pan, allow it to cool a little and taste the mixture for flavourings. Now is the time to add extra chilli or salt if you need to.

Really hope you like it! Do let me know if you give it a try.

For more recipes do visit my directory of Very Berry recipes.

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