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What Is Ginger Chutney?

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  • Written By: Lakshmi Sandhana
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 20 August 2016
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Ginger chutney, also known as allam pachadi is an aromatic paste that's very popular in Andhra cuisine. Though ginger is the main ingredient in this dish, it is made in such a way that the flavor stays subtle. In general, this chutney has a unique sweet-and-sour taste and goes well with popular South Indian dishes. The name of the ginger chutney varies from one state to another — ginger is referred to as allam in the Telugu language, adrak in Hindi, and inji in the Tamil language.

The basic recipe for this tangy chutney involves roasting mustard seeds and a mixture of lentils in oil and grinding the mix with fresh ginger, chilies, tamarind juice, and salt. Some add jaggery to the mix to sweeten it or even a few flakes of garlic. It is garnished with curry or mint leaves and cilantro. This chutney is quite distinctive because of its fiery sweet-and-sour taste. The taste can be very easily varied to make it sweeter or spicier by increasing the amounts of jaggery or ginger used.

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This chutney tastes a little sweet in the state of Andhra due to the addition of jaggery. Depending on the way the chutney is made, it can keep for several days. In Andhra, ginger chutney is typically served with pesarattu. This is a flat pancake made out of green mung lentils. Ginger chutney is a very popular side with many breakfast foods, like dosas — flat rice pancakes, idlis — steamed rice cakes, and upuma — semolina. It is also delicious eaten with hot rice and ghee or served with biriyani or pulav.

The ginger root is a much-lauded rhizome that is prized in Ayurvedic tests for its medicinal value. The pungency and flavor of this root is due to the presence of certain oils, such as shoagaols and zingerone. The flavors of this root come out very well in fresh ginger chutney. Reducing the amount of ginger used will decrease its pungency. The taste of it is also affected by the age of the ginger root used; the use of tender young roots is generally recommended.

It's best to pick out smooth ginger roots that are easy to slice through with not much effort. The more mature or shriveled-up root may not contribute the same level of flavor. When served for breakfast, more water is added to the chutney to make it a textured, thin paste. When made for serving with rice, the ginger chutney is ground into a very coarse, thick paste that also keeps for a long time. Some people add a little lime juice just before serving it to give it a little vitamin C boost and increase its tangy flavor.

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