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What Is Allam Chutney?

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  • Written By: Angie Bates
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2016
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Sometimes referred to as ginger pickle, allam chutney, or allam pachadi, is Indian ginger chutney, a thick condiment. Made with ginger root, this chutney also consists of a combination of spices, lentils, and sugar. Although it compliments both sweet and non-sweet dishes, allam chutney is most often served with dosas or uttapam, types of Indian pancakes.

Garlic, turmeric, and coriander or fenugreek seeds are popular spices used in this sauce. Red, and sometimes green, chili peppers, are usually added as well. Although refined white sugar can be used, jaggery, a type of unrefined cane sugar popular in Asia and Africa, is normally used to make allam chutney.

Fresh ginger root is always included. The ginger must be peeled before use. The simplest way to peel ginger is to use the edge of a spoon like a knife, pushing away the thin skin. After the ginger is peeled, it is chopped.

Beans or lentils are staples for allam chutney. Chickpeas, usually called Bengal gram or chenna dal in Indian recipes, are most often included. Black gram dal, or urad dal, is also added as well.

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Allam chutney frequently includes tamarind pulp. The tamarind is a type of fruit popular in Indian cooking. It can be found fresh or in pulp or paste form in specialty groceries stores or online. If fresh tamarind is used, it is usually soaked in water to soften before the pulp is removed. The seeds and skin of the fruit are discarded.

The lentils are first fried in oil, then the chillies and spices are added and fried. Once complete, the mixture is removed before the ginger is added to the pan and allowed to cook. If garlic is used, it is generally included with the ginger. After cooking, all the fried ingredients are combined with the jaggery and tamarind pulp. Salt is often added to taste before the mixture is crushed into a paste.

A special spice mixture called tadka is made to help temper the chutney. Tadka usually consists of curry leaves, mustard seed, and cumin which are toasted in peanut oil or ghee, a type of unsalted butter. Once complete, the tadka is mixed with the ginger paste.

In addition to dosas and uttapam, allam chutney is often served with idli, a type of Indian cake. It also may be a topper for rice. If refrigerated, this sauce will keep for about a week.

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