Chutney is marvellous, it feels as if this popular accompaniment adds extra bursts of flavours to the food we consume. Be it sweet, sour, hot or spicy, India indeed has innumerable versions of it. Doesn’t need any specific time or occasion to be made, an all-time favourite with different ingredients, taste and health benefits to offer.
You all must have witnessed your grandmother or mother toiling in the kitchen, cooking up a dozen varieties to make the meal all the more toothsome. They seem to have the magic wand to turn the most disliked ingredients into a completely delightful chutney. Mostly, once in our lifetimes, we all have come across the famous chutneys made with pudina, dhaniya, coconut, peanut, amla, etc. Since you are acquainted with most of them, I thought to unleash some native specials from different parts of India.
But, before I do so, here’s something intriguing about the chutney world that you might want to know about. It all started when the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan fell sick, seeing to which his hakims recommended him to consume a spicy, flavourful and easily digestible dish. Hence, chaat was invented, made with lentils and pulses. You must be wondering what it has to do with chutney, right? Well, the catch is the chaat was finished with a drizzle of mint and coriander chutney giving a spicy taste along with the sweet-sour date and tamarind chutney. Therefore, chutney originated from the Sanskrit word chaatni meaning ‘to lick.’
Now, time for some of the most interesting versions you’d love to read about. Don’t miss any, as each one is distinctive and make sure you put these on your bucket list too. You cannot not try these!
Ulundu Chutney, Tamil Nadu
This chutney is one of the easiest yet the most delicious one! It is generally served along with idli and dosa. Made with roasted green chilli, it is definitely a favourite for spicy food lovers. More than chutney, it is treated like a pickle in this South Indian region.
Olive Gur Chutney, Assam
This chutney is a popular Assamese delicacy, which tastes tangy and leaves the taste buds tingling. It is made from olives, honey, jaggery and spices like chilli powder, mustard oil and paanch phoron – the Bengali five spice mix. Olives grow abundantly in the interior wilds of Assam, hence, makes for this chutney.
Amshotto Khejurer Chutney, West Bengal
Delish and dominated by a sweet taste, this signature Bengali chutney is made with tangy aam papad and dates alongwith some typical spices. To make this chutney richer, sometimes fried cashewnuts and raisins are added too. It is usually not seen as a regular affair and is rather prepared on special occasions. However, when prepared in a pure home-style version it is made with tomatoes.
Doon Chetin (Walnut) Chutney, Kashmir
Coming straight from ‘heaven on Earth,’ this is one of the most unique accompaniments from Kashmiri cuisine. Apart from walnuts, this chutney also has other ingredients like black cumin, raw onion, curd and mint. It goes very well with both with starters and breads. Definitely, adds a feather in Kashmir’s cap besides its scenic beauty.
Dondakaya Pachadi (Ivy Gourd) Chutney, Andhra Pradesh
Fiery and tangy – this chutney is all that and more. Besides pairing amazingly well with both rice and breads, it is believed that consuming this chutney boosts the digestion process and suppresses the stomach gas. Who would imagine that ivy gourd or tendli/tindora could have this interesting avatar!
Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.