“Chutney” does not need an introduction. They have been a part of Indian food culture for ages! Over the past few years, it has become extremely popular and has probably reached all parts of the world commercially: thanks to its ability to revamp any bland dish with its tangy flavours!
Chutney (originating from the Hindi word chatni) is a term for a variety of spicy preparations used as an accompaniment for a main dish. Punchy, flavourful chutneys topped in savories make great Indian appetizers. The chutneys are essentially made up of seasonal fruits, vegetables, herbs, legumes, spices, or even fish, or a combination of these. These may be sweet, sour, sweet-and-sour, hot, hot-and-sour and hot-and-sweet, with the texture being either smooth or chewy. The consistency can be either runny or jammy.
The sweet chutneys should not be mistaken as desserts. When they are served with main meals, the sweet (and sweet-and-sour) chutneys are often the last dish in the meal. However, the relatively drier, spicier and hotter chutneys are eaten at the beginning of the meal.
Pickles are also a kind of chutney, with a generous amount of (preferably) mustard oil in them. (For more on pickles, please click here.)
Tickle your tastebuds! Every state of India has numerous chutney recipes passed over from one generation to the other. The freshly made green chutney (comprising coriander and mint leaves and green chillies), sonth chutney (made with dry ginger powder and dates) and tamarind chutney are great accompaniments with various chaats, among other Indian dishes. The coconut chutney works best with South-Indian dishes, such as the Idlis and Dosas. The tomato chutney as well as the green mango chutney have different variations in each state of India and are among the most preferred chutneys! In Mumbai, the shengdana chutney (made from groundnut paste) and the dry garlic chutney are very famous. Other chutneys include the hot chilli chutney (the Assamese ghost chilli chutneys are for the most daring foodies!), green tomato chutney, berry chutney and onion chutney. However, the list is never-ending!
The spices used in these preparations include cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds, turmeric, dry ginger powder (sonth), dry mango powder (aamchur) coriander seeds, nigella seeds, mustard seeds and asafoetida (hing). Jaggery, lemon, chilli and tamarind are used to balance the flavours in some chutneys.
A Century-Old Chutney Recipe
In this post, I will share a mouthwatering chutney recipe (Bengali style) which is quite uncommon and is passed over to my dear grandmother by her ancestors. In her times, this chutney was cooked in villages in West Bengal during an important occasion, such as the Jamai Shosthi (an yearly celebration when the son-in-law and the daughter visits the mother-in-law’s house to receive blessings and to enjoy a feast!) or marriages.
The recipe is on the verge of extinction and there is a need to spread and share this unique Indian recipe with serious food lovers. I hope my endeavour to preserve this vintage chutney recipe through this powerful channel of blogging would be a small step forward to encourage many of the food bloggers like you to preserve and share “old”recipes like this, lying unnoticed in those torn and timeworn cookbooks and grandmothers’ diaries for years.
Old-Fashioned Mixed-Fruit Chutney
- Raw mangoes: 2
- Fresh pineapple ring: 1
- Tomato (medium-sized): 1
- De-seeded dates (each cut lengthwise into six): 7
- Preserved, dry mangoes (aampapad), cut into strips: ¼ cup
- Raisins: ¼ cup
- Oil: 2 tbsp
- Salt: 1 tsp
- Turmeric powder: ½ tsp
- Sugar (amount can be varied according to taste and sourness of raw mangoes): ½ cup
- Water: ½ cup
- Bay leaves (small): 2
- Dry, red chilli (optional): ½
- Cumin seeds: ½ tsp
- Fenugreek seeds: ¼ tsp
- Fennel seeds: ½ tsp
Method of preparation:
Dry-roast the last four ingredients in the list (till they emit a strong aroma and are just browned) and crush them coarsely. You can use an electric grinder, but make sure you don’t make a fine powder of these ingredients. Keep the crushed spices aside.
Cut the fruits into medium-sized pieces. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a skillet. Add the raisins and fry them till they are swollen up and become golden. Remove and keep them aside.
In the same skillet, add the rest of the oil and heat till the smoking point is reached. Add the bay leaves and let them turn light brown. Add the raw mangoes (peeled and cut into medium-sized pieces) along with their seeds. Cook for five minutes, with salt and turmeric powder added. Now add the rest of the fruits along with the preserved, dry mangoes. Cook on a medium flame for 5 min.
Add the sugar, raisins and water and mix well. Cover and let this boil over low heat for 20 min. Open the lid and add the crushed spices, mix well and continue to cook for two more minutes.
Let it cool at room temperature and serve in small portions at the end of an Indian meal.
I thank Shilpi Bose of It is tasty ma! to award Cosmopolitan Currymania with these three lovely awards! Her blog is full of yummy authentic Bengali delights, such as the banana flower cutlets and coconut laddoos. Please make sure to visit her unique platform to meet this wonderful person and her tasty recipes!
As a rule, I would like to pass these awards over to 15 deserving food bloggers. They are:
- Kankana of Sunshine & Smile
- Aldy of Al Dente Gourmet
- Catherine of Living the Gourmet
- Michelango of Art is in the Kitchen
- Ayeesha Riaz of Taste of Pearl City
- Tina of Flourtrader
- Malar Gandhi of Kitchen Tantra
- Elisabeth of food and thrift finds
- Junia of mis pensamientos
- Butrcreamblondi of Butrcreamblondi
- Ann of Cooking Healthy For Me
- Ushnish Ghosh of Cooking and Recipes
- Carol of There’s Always Thyme to Cook
- Parsley Sage of The Deep Dish
- Margarita of Pinoy Kitchenette
I appreciate your blogs each time I visit there. Each one of you motivate me with your wonderful posts and recipes. This is my opportunity to honour you, dear bloggers! Congratulations!!
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