Cookin' with Sunny Jain
December 5, 2017
Brooklyn-based drummer and composer Sunny Jain, recognized by fans around the world as Red Baraat's founder and dhol player, comes to the David Rubenstein Atrium on December 14 for his ExtravaJAMza, a unique program that demonstrates his love of music and food. In advance of the show, we asked the multi-talented Jain to give us a sneak peak of both the sounds and the tastes he has in store.
Sunny Jain: ExtravaJAMza is going to be a night of some my favorite musicians in this city coming together to create a joyous noise for your ears and your mouth! I'll be bringing in homemade samples of the pear chutney I've been making this season, and an amazing cast of people will be jamming: Marc Cary, Delicate Steve, Jonathan Hoard, Ganavya Doraiswamy, and Gary Wang and some wicked horns are coming thru!
Why music and food? I've loved cooking since I was 16 and I think what I've grown to enjoy the most about it is the improvisation. I like opening my fridge and cupboards and coming up with various concoctions that I think go well together. It's kind of like the music I grew up playing, jazz. But moreover, music and food are a perfect match for community gatherings, and I couldn't think of a better place to do this then with the social-minded people at the Atrium.
I chose the song "Two Ladies," from my album Taboo, for you to listen to while you make this chutney at home because it has the right vibe and bounce to keep you "dancing" as you put your ingredients together. It features Shayna Steele, Nir Felder, Gary Wang, and Marc Cary. The lyrics are by the poet Erin Thomas, and it's about a female bassist, playing her instrument. It also seems appropriate because it concludes with the words: "Never tire of their fruitive sound."
Enjoy the JAMz!
Sunny's Pear Chutney
Makes 1-2 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
2 ripe Bosc pears, peeled and cored
2 tablespoons golden raisins
2 teaspoons finely diced red onion
1 teaspoon chopped garlic clove
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon chia seeds
½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground all spice
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1. Wash, peel, core, and cut pears into 1-inch cubes. Put over medium-low heat using a non-reactive pan and add ¼ cup of water. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. The pears should start to break down and become very soft.
2. Add rest of ingredients and cook uncovered, stirring regularly and adding a few tablespoons of water as needed to avoid contents from sticking to pan. You may end up using an additional ¾ cup of water by the end, which is totally fine!
3. After about 15–20 minutes of cooking, your ingredient should have become more gelatinous. It won’t become the consistency of jelly, but more like preserves, in which there will be some small chunks of pear.
What's great about this recipe is that you add absolutely NO SUGAR or additional pectin. Since chutney is supposed to be a full and complex taste of sweet, spicy, tangy, pears have the perfect amount of sugar needed to create that chutney balance with the other ingredients. Also, pears have a high amount of pectin and combined with the chia seeds, a little lemon juice and vinegar, creates a nice gelatinous consistency. This goes great on toast, bread, crackers, rotis, paratha, whatever! I brought some over to my family's house for Thanksgiving and people ate it with biscuits.