Chutney Recipes

The word chutney derives from the Hindi word chatni that translates to heavily spiced and it is often used as an accompaniment to a main dish. It can be in paste form or it can even resemble jam, the main difference being that it requires spices for it to be a true chutney. Best of all it’s all wholly vegetarian making it suitable for most diets.

Instead of just eating these with your usual thosai or capati, why not get creative and use these chutneys when preparing other meals. We’ve given you a few suggestions, but as with any recipe, use your imagination and try it in any way you can think of. With a decent chutney you’re sure to come out with a delicious dish every time.

Ginger Chutney

4 Tbs chopped ginger, 5 dried red chillies, 4 tsp cumin, 4 tsp curry leaves, 1 small lemon sized tamarind, 3 Tbs gula Melaka, 3 tsp oil, Salt to taste

Heat oil in a pan, fry the red chillies and set aside. Roast the cumin and set aside. In the remaining oil sauté the ginger pieces and curry leaves for 3mins. In a blender or a mortar and pestle mix all the above ingredients along with the tamarind, gula Melaka, and salt. Grind to a smooth paste.

Food pairings: The strong flavours of this paste would make a great marinade for chicken. Let it marinate for at least 30mins and either bake or fry it afterwards. Serve topped with extra chutney and a side of rice to mellow out the strong ginger flavour.

Coriander Mint Chutney

½ cup mint leaves, 1 cup coriander leaves, 3 garlic cloves, 1/2 in ginger, 1 Tbs tamarind, 1 Tbs coriander seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 3 dried chillies, ¼ tsp coriander powder, 4 Tbs sesame oil, Salt to taste.

Heat 1/2 tsp of oil in a pan and add coriander seeds, chillies and cumin seeds. Once fragrant remove from heat and cool. Add to a blender or mortar and pestle and grind with the mint leaves, 1/2 cup of coriander leaves, garlic, ginger, and tamarind. Heat sesame oil in a pan and add the ground mixture and the remaining coriander leaves along with coriander powder and stir till fragrant.

Food pairings: This has a distinct coriander bite slightly reminiscent of a salsa that would work beautifully on cooked fish. Top it on a piece of cooked fish and eat as is or mix flaked fish with this chutney and pop it in a taco shell to make an Asian fish taco.

Coconut Chutney

6 Tbs grated coconut, 2 tsp roasted lentil seeds, 1in ginger chopped, 4 Tbs chopped coriander leaves, 4 chopped green chillies, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 4 curry leaves, 1 red chilli chopped, 2 Tbs oil, lemon juice to taste, salt to taste

Grind the coconut, roasted lentils, green chillies, coriander leaves and ginger to a fine paste using a little water. Heat the oil in a pan on medium till hot. Add the mustard seeds. Let them splutter and then add the red chillies, and curry leaves. Fry briefly and pour it on the ground chutney. Add salt and lemon juice to the chutney according to taste.

Food pairings: Since this is quite a dry flaky paste use it as a ‘crumb’ for a baked dish. Coat fish or chicken in this crust and bake till crisp on the outside and cooked on the inside. Eat this with a side of dhal and a warm fresh capati. Since the flavours are mild this could also be stirred through plain rice to jazz it up a bit.

Tomato Onion Chutney

1 medium onion, 1 medium tomato, 4 cloves of garlic, 1 tbsp coriander leaves, 3in tamarind, 4 curry leaves, ½ in ginger, 1 ½ tsp chilli powder, salt to taste, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 Tbs oil

Heat the oil and add it to all the other ingredients. Grind in a mixer or with a mortar and pestle.

Food pairings: This works best as a salsa. Serve it up at parties to eat with tortilla chips or add a dollop to your steak wrap to give it a slight Indian flair.

Hot Garlic Chutney

½ cup peeled garlic cloves, 2 green chillies, ½ tsp cayenne pepper, ½ tsp cumin, 1 Tbs oil, 1 Tbs ghee, salt to taste.

Grind garlic and chillies without water. Heat oil and ghee together and then add the cumin and fry till crisp not burnt. Add the garlic and cook on a slow fire till it is crisp, add rest of the ingredients and turn off fire. Cool and store in the refrigerator, keeps for several weeks

Food pairings: The extreme garlic bite in this dish makes it a great condiment in our books (Trust us! We hovered over this pan greedily with capati and finished the first batch within minutes; we made a quadruple batch the next day because one batch is not enough). Slather it on baguette slices and create Indian style garlic bread. Sprinkle it on cooked steak for that slight fragrant crunch. You can even sprinkle this on salads for an added punch.

Plum-Apple Chutney

2 plums, 2 green apples, ½ onion, 30g raisins, 2 Tbs ginger, 15g mustard seeds, 120ml vinegar, 100g sugar, 1 tsp chilli, 1 tsp allspice, 325ml water

Cut plums lengthwise into strips. Peel, core and dice the apples. Cut the onion into thin wedges. Place onion, raisins, plums, ginger, mustard seeds, chillies, allspice, vinegar, sugar, and 2/3 of the water in a large saucepan. Set over medium-high heat, and bring liquid to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 40 minutes. Add the diced apples and the rest of the water. Stirring frequently, cook until apples are soft and translucent and liquid has been absorbed, about 30 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Transfer chutney immediately to a jar.

Food Pairings: Despite the savoury ingredients and spices that go into this fruit chutney it still turns out rather sweet and it could be used to make a delicious spiced crumble. Top it with crumbled pastry and bake till golden. We tried it with a fragrant briyani and found it goes superb!

Friedchillies Pineapple-Mango Chutney

1 cup chopped pineapple, 1 cup chopped mango, 4 Tbs brown sugar, 1 garlic sliced, 1 tbs salt, ½ cup vinegar, 1 chilli, ½ in ginger sliced, 3 red onions sliced thinly

Cook vinegar, sugar and salt in a pan till syrup thickens. Add chopped pineapple and mango and continue to boil. Remove seeds from chilli and slice thinly. Add ginger, garlic, red onions, chilli and raisins to the pot. cook down until mixture thickens. Store in jars and refrigerate for future use.

Food Pairings: Upon tasting this we knew immediately that it would work in our own version of a Coronation chicken sandwich. Marinate the chicken in curry spices and bake, then dice and place in a sandwich topped with this chutney. The sweet and savoury flavours will not disappoint.

published first  on:

What is Chutney?

What is Chutney?


Chutney, pronounced “chuht-nee”, refers to a family of condiments from South Asian cuisine, and just like salsa in this country, there is no right or wrong recipe – just a preferred flavor or two.  While Chutneys are most often associated with India they’re also popular in Africa and the Caribbean islands. Chutneys are served with almost every meal in India, especially with curries, but also as sauces for hot dishes (typically meats). They can be fresh or cooked, and are made from a wide variety of ingredients usually from some concoction of fruits and/ or vegetables and spices. They range in flavor from sweet or sour, spicy or mild, or any combination of these, while their texture can be thin or chunky.

Some compare chutneys to a relish and others to a jam. Chutney is most often used to balance a dish and may be on the sweet and tart side or provide a spicy and hot flavor.

To add to the confusion, many times chutney is also mistakenly called a relish (and vice versa) but there are subtle differences between the two. Relishes tend to be a bit sweeter, while Chutneys are more on the savory side. Chutneys are cooked slowly, are more likely to be chunkier and have a consistency that is much like preserves while relishes are barely cooked, rarely use any sugar and are crunchier. The best rule of thumb is to think of chutneys as pickled fruit and relishes as pickled vegetables.

History of Chutney

Chutney is derived from the Hindi word “caṭnī” & Northern Indian Urdu word “chaṭnī” meaning to lick.

Simple spiced chutneys originated in India and can be traced back to around 500 BC and preserving food in this manner was adopted by the Romans. Chutneys made their way to England and France sometime in the early 1600s where they were often referred to as “mangoed” fruits and sometimes as “mangoed” vegetables. The fruit versions were much more popular. Chutney recipes flourished in the English speaking world and the Brits passed on their recipes to their colonies in early America and Australia. Indian immigrants were the ones who introduced chutneys to the Caribbean region in the 17th century. Chutney is also popular throughout Africa.

Types of Chutney

Each region has a particular style that seems more popular. African chutneys are popular with bobotie (spiced minced meat baked with an egg-based topping) or boerewors braai (a sausage dish). In Britain chutneys are typically sweet and tart utilizing fresh or dried fruits. They tend to be served with both hot curries and cold foods. In the Caribbean chutneys are served with many dishes as well as dips with delicacies and starters such as samosas, poulourie (fried green pea and flour balls), aloo (potato) pies, fish cakes, shark and bake etc. Cooked mango or papaya chutneys are common, fish dishes are often served with mango chutneys. Throughout India, curry dishes are served with tamarind chutneys. Mint chutney is probably one of the most famous types of chutney served in north India. Mint is called “Pudeena” in HindiI (sometimes spelled as Pudina) and Pudeena chutney may be served with many different types of curry but may be most popular with sheekh kebabs and tandoori chicken.

In the New England region of the US cranberry chutneys are most popular, while in the southern US apple, peach and green tomato chutneys are served with chicken, ham and pork.

In the majority of chutney recipes one ingredient tends to dominate the flavor and that is how the chutney is referred to (i.e. mango chutney, apple chutney or tomato chutney).  Chutneys may also be either dry or wet and citrus juice or vinegar may be used as a natural preservative. The sweet and sour flavor of chutneys works well with beef, chicken and pork. Sweeter versions perk up bagels, breakfast toast, cheese and crackers.

Most Popular Fruits, Vegetables and Spices Used in Chutney

The most popular fruits used in chutneys are mango, cranberry, apple, peach, pear, apricot, fig, pineapple and plum.

Some of the most common types of vegetable chutneys are eggplant, tomato, onion and rhubarb.

The most frequently used spices in chutneys are allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, fennel, ginger, lemon zest, mustard seeds, nutmeg, orange zest, peppercorns and chile flakes. When using spices it is best to use whole spices, as ground spices tend to make the chutney cloudy or muddy.

How to Make Chutney

While there are hundreds, if not thousands of possible recipes for chutney most will start with a fruit base, although non-sweet vegetables may also be used. Once you master the basics of making chutney you can create your own versions using any number of fruits and/or vegetables.

To make the best chutney select fruits that are not completely ripe and have a firm flesh. Avoid softer fruits such as blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries as these lose their flavor, and when cooked reduce down to more of a jam texture. We’ve had great success using dried fruits, as their texture holds up well and their flavor tends to balance well with the spices and sugars. Firm eggplants, tomatoes and rhubarb work well if you prefer vegetables. Most chutney recipes call for some onion and many will also include garlic.

Some of the rules of thumb for a chutney are 1.3 lbs of fruit, 1 cup of sugar and a little over .75 cup of vinegar. If adding chile powder or whole chiles increase the sugar a bit and if using dried fruit decrease the sugar a bit.

Now that you know the basics you can begin experimenting with making some chutney to impress family and friends alike. Whether you prepare it as a pleasing fruity appetizer with cheese and crackers or make a vegetable topping for your chicken or fish, we’re sure you’ll have some happy mouths when it’s all said and done.

post published first at

RecipesPublished at 6:00pm 12/9/2017

recipes published first at