Chutneys are an Indian condiment that range in consistency from
chunky salsa to relish to that of preserves and jams. They typically
, vegetables, vinegars
, and herbs
to achieve the ultimate balance of sweet and sour sensations. Some are
raw, as in the case of an all-vegetable chutney. Others are semi- or
fully-cooked when fruits are added.
The secret to an outstanding chutney is the use of underripe fruits and crisp vegetables. Peppers and raisins are common ingredients. It is these combinations that go so well with samosas, rotis, and papadums.
Indian recipes are not the only foods to benefit as chutney can be paired with any cuisine. Great Britain was the first country to embrace the taste and developed its own variations, including Major Grey’s, which is made of mangoes.
They are known as “chatni” in India.
Authentic chutneys will fall within three categories: hot, sweet, and a
combination of the two. From here, the ingredients used will veer into
many other sensations that include sweet/sour, peppery/tart, and tangy/hot.
Many supermarkets carry a range of chutneys, but the greatest
selection will be through ethnic retailers. Most requested blends
include tamarind, coconut, plum, tomato, and mint.
Before chutneys made their way from India to Europe,
they consisted mainly of fresh fruits. These were incorporated in a
range of dishes and used for dipping at the table. As other countries
discovered the wonders of chutney, the ingredients and preparation
methods changed. When purchasing, buy several chutneys in small
quantities and experiment. There is no “right or wrong” pairing.
Most chutneys have a long life due to high vinegar content. They can
be stored unopened for several months at room temperature. Refrigerate
after opening and they will be good for much longer.
• Mix with cream cheese to create a spread for crackers and toasty breads.
• Sweeter chutneys can be treated as a glaze