Tangy Tart Cranberry

Like many of us, come November, I grew up eating jellied cranberry out of can. What is the necessity of cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving, I thought? I didn't get it until my very first Thanksgiving in California, and I finally tasted the magic of fresh cranberries. Cranberry sauce can be a serious playground for Indian spices - like tamarind pods, cranberries are tart and sour, inviting all sorts of complexity from sweet, spicy, and salty ingredients. Although I will probably play around with cranberry recipes from now until Thanksgiving, incorporating fun ingredients like preserved lemons and maybe a surprising spice or two, I end up coming back to my tried and true orange-cumin-turmeric cranberry sauce time and time again. This cranberry sauce couldn't be easier, and should take about 20-30 minutes to prepare. 

Making this for Thanksgiving? This is a one day meal-prep item, so no day-by-day guide, but here is a printable ingredient list to make shopping a breeze. 


1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp turmeric

16 oz fresh cranberries

3 valencia oranges

1/4 cup mirin

3/4-1 cup dark brown sugar

2 tbsp finely minced ginger

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar


Cut top and bottom off of two oranges, and then use a knife to slice off the peel. Segment the orange, using a paring knife to cut in between the white membranes to pop out orange segments. Set segments aside. Zest the remaining orange and set zest aside. Squeeze the juice out of the remaining orange. 

In a saucepan, fry cumin seeds and turmeric in olive oil for 1 minute on low heat, until aromatic. Then, place cranberries in saucepan with mirin, ginger, and 1/4 cup orange juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and then immediately lower to a gentle simmer. Wait until all the cranberries have popped (7-10 minutes). Add the vinegar, 3/4 cup brown sugar, and orange segments. Stir frequently for about 5 minutes, until a thick sauce has formed. Remove from heat. Taste, and add a little more sugar and salt to your liking.