Thursday, September 6, 2012

Lights. Camera. Chutney; the Misunderstood Condiment

Enjoy a samosa and kachori or idli and wada, even with momos we Indians cannot do without chutney. Yet, chutney has not got due recognition in our diet. Often Chutney is misunderstood as being a simple condiment like Tabasco or mustard sauce. This characterisation has led us to believe that chutney is just a flavour enhancer, however, other functions of chutney are often neglected. #chutney not only adds to the taste and nutrition of our daily meals but also helps in digesting our food. #foodmantra

Chutney is one of the best ways to eat fresh and healthy food. Most chutneys, as a rule are made with fresh, raw ingredients. The ingredients are uncooked and therefore provide the nutrients that are destroyed by heat. Dietary fiber present in ingredients like coconut, coriander and tamarind, frequently used in making chutney, aid proper digestion.

Different chutney is eaten with different food, from wada-pav in Maharashtra to idli in Tamil Nadu, from aloo-tikki in UP to dhokla in Gujarat. The sweet, sour or spicy flavours in chutneys not only compliment Indian snacks but also act as a moistening agent to dry snacks. In modern times making chutney requires a simple spin in the blender as opposed to hours of hard work that our ancestors put in making them. This is a boon now that fresh chutneys can be prepared everyday in a matter of minutes.

The ingredients in chutney, the flavour balance and its nourishing properties can be altered according to individual preference or specific requirements of the body. Eating different chutney for ailments or specific requirements of the body to maintain good health is a practice adopted by Ayurveda practitioners. For instance using dates, which is a gentle laxative in chutney will ease constipation on the other hand, using fennel seeds (saunf) as a flavouring agent in chutney cures an upset stomach.

Types of Chutney

Dry Chutneys have a longer shelf life. They are often prepared and kept for several months due to their good keeping quality. They can also be carried along during travel to be eaten with Indian breads or idlis.

Gun Powder is a dry mixture of roasted pulses ground together along with chilly and spices. It is a common part of the diet in South Indian states. There are many recipes of gun powder, in fact, it is said that each village has a unique recipe for their gun powder.

Peanut Chutney is made with red chilly, garlic and peanuts.

Coconut Chutney is made with dried coconut, garlic and red chilly.

Wet Chutney

These freshly prepared chutneys cannot be stored for long periods. They provide nourishment as well as flavour with uncooked ingredients.

Date- Tamarind

One of the best #chutney I have recently learnt about is dates-tamarind chutney. It has the goodness of both and the sweet n sour flavour.

Dates-Tamarind #chutney #twecipes soaked tamarind + Black Salt + Cumin Seed powder + Dates + Jaggery + Red Chilly + Mint (Optional) Great for the stomach #foodmantra

Try it with samosa, dhokla or kachoris.

Dates are a gentle laxative, rich in iron, potassium and calcium. Tamarind, which is used in equal proportion with dates contains dietary fiber which helps in easing digestion. Save the recipe to cure constipation.


The refreshing aroma of mint, coriander and lemon in chutney, add green chilly and it’s heaven on earth. This chutney can brighten up any dish you care to serve with it. I love using this chutney on boiled potatoes, with aloo-tikki or in bhel.

Coriander leaves + Mint leaves + Green Chilly + Rock Salt + Lemon Juice

In the summer I like to use raw mango in place of lemon juice to add the a new zing to the chutney.

In Coriander-Mint #chutney, both the herbs help in digestion. Lemon maintains immunity with Vitamin C and along with anti-oxidants in green chilly is good for the skin.

Tamarind-Ginger (Sonth)

This chutney is bursting with flavour, it is tangy and vibrant, the sweet, sour, spicy flavours of this chutney will blow your mind. The tamarind and jaggery are cooked together for a few hours to thicken and reduce.

Soaked Tamarind + Jaggery + Ginger + Roasted Cumin powder + Black salt + Red Chilly + Garam Masala powder

Tamarind, ginger, cumin and black salt are all beneficial to the stomach and ease the digestion process.


Across the world, chutney is most frequently identified with the presence of coconut in it. Coconut chutney can be made in combination with a variety of ingredients such as coriander and green chilly, sesame, garlic and red chilly, ginger and as such. In this section, we are looking at a simple coconut chutney which blended together with salt and a little coconut water to make a smooth paste.

All coconut chutney are then tempered with some hot ghee, mustard seeds and curry leaves. Urad dal and green chilly can also be added to the tempering.

Coconut #chutney for instance provides dietary fiber, beneficial fats for the body and boosts energy levels.

Groundnut (peanut)- Sesame

This chutney may or may not be tempered with ghee, mustard seeds and curry leaves.

Roasted Peanuts + Sesame + Garlic + Red Chilly + Salt

Peanut #chutney for instance helps increase 'good' cholestrol or LDL and decreases bad cholestrol in the blood. Garlic boosts immunity and is also an anti-carcinogen.


There are two types of tomato chutneys. The one mentioned below is the fresh tomato chutney which can be eaten with onion fritters or paranthas. The other style is the Andhra-style tomato chutney that is made with cooked tomatoes, mustard seeds and tamarind and can be pickled and stored for several months.

Tomato + Coriander leaves + Green Chilly + Salt

Tomato chutney can be tempered with ghee, mustard seeds and curry leaves.

Fresh tomato chutney helps prevent some cancers, known to prevent prostrate cancer. #foodmantra

There's a reason grandma gave us ginger, tamarind #chutney with kachoris, she knew we'd love it and we couldn't digest kachoris without it. We are taking Indian Cuisine across the world and yet the significance and importance of chutney in Indian Cuisine has not been recognised as it should be. Let’s bring this ‘star’ of the kitchen into the spotlight.

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