RECIPES: Iconic Indian chutneys to add flavour to your favourite dishes
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From hot and spicy mutton curry to potato samoosas - these foods would be nothing without a side of sweet, spicy or tangy chutney to take flavour to a whole new level.
Part of the condiment family, chutneys originated in South Asian cuisine but have exploded in popularity across the globe.
Made from a blend of fresh herbs, fruit and vegetables that are either cooked down or blitzed together in their raw form, the ingredients are then seasoned with spices that uplift every element for a sauce that makes the perfect accompaniment to savoury dishes.
The roots of chutney date back as far as 500 BC in India.
Bottling fruit and veggies with vinegar, oils and spices prolong the shelf life of perishables.
This style of preparing the ingredients was brought to the Romans and British after their trade encounters with South Asia.
Today, these flavourful sauces are served as a dip alongside chaat (savoury snacks that originated in India).
Various countries have their own versions that range in sweetness, spice and texture.
In South Africa, sweet, tangy fruit chutneys are eaten with biryani and Durban style curries to cut through the richness of the dishes, and help balance out the spiciness.
Chutneys go beyond being just a condiment though for they can be used as marinade for succulent braaied meat, as glaze for roasts or as part of an impressive cheese and charcuterie spread.
With so many big flavours packed together, it’s popularity with snack style foods is obvious.
The bright, freshness from an array of green herbs and chilli has the capacity to make anything from crispy samoosas to boring cheese sandwiches and even pies, stand out more than ever.
These simple and easy recipes for popular chutneys can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for easy use.
Most of the ingredients are readily available and can be adjusted to suit a variety of paletes, so get creative when making your own.
3 iconic Indian flavourful chutneys to pair with curries, samoosas, snacks and more:
Nuts chutney has all the elements that make a food addictive. It’s balanced with freshness, richness from the nuts, heat from the chillies and oomph from the garlic.
Serve it as a side with anything from beans curry and rice to samoosas and sandwiches. Or, simply spread it over toast and enjoy it as is.
6-8 roasted dry chillies
1/2 fresh green chilli
2 garlic cloves
Lemon Juice - about 2 large lemons
Sprinkle sugar (1 tsp)
Additional water to gain spreadable consistency
Oven roast peanuts, until fully roasted and golden.
Remove skins and sieve completely.
Add all ingredients into a food processor and blend.
Occasionally add water in between pulses until you reach a hummus-like consistency that is spreadable
Also known as pudina chutney, this zingy green condiment is an iconic part of any Indian snack.
It can be drizzled onto sandwiches, over sev and nuts, mixed into marinades, mixed with yoghurt to make raita which is the most delicious accompaniment to biryani, or as a side to both meat and vegetarian dishes.
2 cups roughly chopped mint leaves
3/4 cup chopped coriander (dhania)
1/2 tsp roughly chopped green chillies
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
salt to taste
Combine all the ingredients in a mixer and blend to a smooth paste using a little water.
Store refrigerated in an air-tight container and use as required.
Lightly spiced with a sweet nuttiness from the coconut, this chutney pairs well with a range of dishes.
Serve it alongside curries, dosas, vadas and more.
Coconut chutney is best eaten within a day as fresh coconut doesn’t keep long.
It may last longer in the fridge or freezer. But honestly, it’s so delicious, it probably won’t last too long.
1 cup grated coconut (fresh is best)
2-3 green chillies, chopped
1-inch grated ginger
4-5 stalks’ worth of curry leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds
Salt to taste (1 tsp at least)
1 cup or so water and/or coconut milk
Handful roasted gram/chana dal toasted until golden (optional, lends body to watery chutney)
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 dried chilli, cut in half
10-12 curry leaves
Blend all ingredients in base, no more than two minutes to avoid blender motor heat. Adjust water accordingly to achieve desired consistency.
Heat oil for tempering spices.
Add in mustard seeds, dried chilli and curry leaves. Swirl a few seconds and remove from heat. Pour on top of the prepared chutney base.