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What Is Banana Chutney?

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  • Written By: Malysa Stratton Louk
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 29 September 2016
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Banana chutney is a traditional sweet and sour relish or sauce made from bananas. Chutneys originated in India and are a traditional condiment in South Asian and South African cuisine. The basic ingredients of banana chutney include bananas, sugar, vinegar, raisins and spices. The combination of sugar and vinegar gives it the characteristic sweet and sour taste. The ingredients are mixed, simmered, bottled and stored for later use.

The spices used for banana chutney vary by recipe and personal preference. Ginger — either crystallized ginger or ground ginger powder — and red chili peppers are the most commonly used spices in banana chutney. Other optional ingredients that are commonly added include onions, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, carrots, dates, prunes, rum and coconut. Any type of vinegar can be used, although malt vinegar, red wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar are most commonly used for banana chutney.

Banana chutney can be served hot or cold and is often made in large batches, bottled, sealed and stored for later use. Chutney can be used immediately but it is generally bottled and allowed to age for several weeks to mature prior to use. Traditionally, it is served alongside fish and curry dishes, as a spread on buttered bread or with cheese and crackers. The chutney also goes well served with pork or chicken, as a sauce for falafel or vegetable pita sandwiches, and tossed with rice, couscous, pasta or vegetables.

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In addition to bananas, fruit chutney is often made from pears, apricots, apples, dates, nectarines, cherries, blueberries, pineapple, mangos and papayas. Fruit chutney often combines two or more fruits and always produces a sweet and sour sauce. The spicy flavor, or hotness, of the chutney varies from mild to fire hot, depending on the amount of chilies added to the chutney.

Chutneys are not always made from fruit; they also can be made from vegetables and herbs such as onion chutney or cilantro mint chutney. Recipes also are available for more uncommon chutneys, such as peanut or yogurt chutney. Chutney can be made out of virtually any combination of vegetables or fruits and herbs or spices with a focus on the traditional sweet and sour or sweet and hot theme. Cooks can experiment with different variations of banana chutney by adding various fruits and herbs to the basic recipe. One can try adding mango and papaya to the bananas for a tropical chutney; apples, pears, cherries, peaches and bananas for a mixed fruit chutney; or lemon and lime with the banana for a citrus chutney.

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ddljohn
Post 3

@ysmina-- Banana chutney is delish. I certainly don't have just a spoonful or two at meals. I tend to have half a small jar sometimes. I'm lucky that my mom makes it regularly. This is my favorite chutney although I have to admit it's not the most commonly eaten chutney in our house.

I don't know why more people don't know about this chutney though. Bananas are cheaper and more easily found in the US than some of the other chutney ingredients. And this chutney is easy to make too. And yes, this chutney is best with spicy peppers like jalapeno. There is just something irresistible about a hot and sweet combination like this.

ysmina
Post 2

@donasmrs-- If you like fruit chutneys, I think you will like banana chutney too. It might seem different at first, but it's definitely worth trying. I personally like the sweet and sour flavor of this chutney and the spice when it includes hot peppers.

All chutneys, especially Indian chutneys, are similar in that they are rich in different flavors. The sweet and the sour, astringent, bitter, hot, etc. They all have a special place and Indian cooking likes to combine these as much as possible. Chutneys are a great way of adding flavor to meals.

Keep in mind that chutney is a relish, a condiment. So one doesn't need a lot. Just a spoon or two is enough for me. I have it usually with rice although I have tried it with lentil pancakes before.

donasmrs
Post 1

I like fruit chutneys. I've had pear chutney, mango chutney and tomato chutney before. But I don't think banana chutney would work for me. Bananas don't seem like the right ingredient for a chutney. They are very sweet and aromatic and my mind just has it associated with dessert. And it would be too mushy.

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