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Chutney is a thick, spicy relish made of vegetables or fruit, vinegar, and sugar. It originated in India but has found popularity in many other countries. The green, or haki, chutney is a blend of fresh ingredients, including coriander leaves, mint, and lemon juice. People incorporate green chutney into modern dishes as well as with traditional Indian foods, such as chaat, which is a fried dough snack, and bhel puri or bhelpuri, which is a puffed rice food.
Many people are familiar with chutney, but not everyone knows that there are different types of chutney. Traditionally, the Indian chutney, which is made from fresh ingredients, is rarely cooked and is piquant, sometimes bordering on sour. Indian cooks typically make the chutney fresh for the meal. English cooks usually preserve their chutneys, which are generally sweeter and often cooked, for future consumption. Normally, cooks make green chutney in the Indian style.
Indian cooks use green chutney to add flavor to bland dishes, such as dal, rice, and roti. Dal is a stew-like dish made of legumes, such as lentils and peas, and roti is a flatbread. The spicy chutney brings a new dimension to these dishes comparable to the addition of salsa to bean dishes in the New World. Depending on the region, chutney may be spelled chutnee, chutni, or chatni.
The typical ingredients in green chutney generally are coriander leaves or cilantro, pudina, and an acid-like lemon juice. Pudina is Hindi for mint, and usually cooks use field or wild mint. Other ingredients may include green mangoes, green chilies, and other fresh vegetables. Frequently, the English make green chutney using green tomatoes. Depending on the ingredients, chutneys range in color from bright green to olive.
As a rule, chutneys are thick condiments. Some people use them as a sandwich spread or to flavor samosas, seafood, or chicken. Traditionally, the ingredients were ground using a chutney stone, which is a granite stone with a pestle for grinding. Many cooks still use the chutney stone or a mortar and pestle, but most use an electric appliance. Cooks may use a blender or food processor.
Many Indian cooks suggest that a person remove the mint stems, but use the coriander stems when making green chutney. Green mangoes often irritate people's skin like its distant cousin, poison ivy. Handle green mangoes like hot peppers; wear plastic gloves and do not touch sensitive areas, such as the face or eyes, until the toxins have been thoroughly washed away. Green mangoes, like hot peppers, are perfectly safe to eat and make a good addition to green chutney. Chutney recipes are available through several recipe websites, and there are many cookbooks devoted to chutneys.
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