Apple relish

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    2 x 500 ml


Appears in

Lands of the Curry Leaf

Lands of the Curry Leaf

By Peter Kuruvita

Published 2018

  • About

Apples used to be hard to obtain in Sri Lanka. I clearly remember biting into my first one. My mum helped an East German sailor, named Christian, defect from his ship while he was in Sri Lanka; the operation had been planned for years, and was finally executed with Jason Bourne–like precision. During the planning we would visit Christian’s ship in Colombo harbour and he’d invite us into his cabin, where he’d lavish us with German sausage, sweets, apples and oranges — flavours that would burst in our unsuspecting mouths.

Apples are now grown in the hill country, and here’s a lovely way to enjoy them.

Preparation 15 minutes
Cooking 25 minutes


  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2 red onions, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 1 small knob of fresh ginger, peeled and finely diced
  • a generous pinch of salt
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) white wine vinegar
  • 110 g ( oz/½ cup) sugar


Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry frying pan over low heat for 3–5 minutes, or until lightly browned and aromatic. Coarsely pound using a mortar and pestle and set aside.

Sweat the onion, garlic and ginger in a frying pan over medium heat with the salt for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent and the mixture is fragrant.

Stir in the pounded spice mix and the cinnamon sticks and cook for another minute or two, or until fragrant.

Add the remaining ingredients, stirring well, and cook over low heat for 5–10 minutes, or until the apple is tender. Season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper, take off the heat and cool quickly.

Once cooled, the relish is ready to eat straight away.

However, you could also spoon the hot relish into hot sterilised jars, seal, refrigerate and use within 2–3 days.