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Chutney

Chutney is a loan word incorporated into English from Hindi describing a pasty sauce in Indian cuisine. It is derived from a term for a class of spicy preparations used as an accompaniment for a main dish. Chutneys usually contain an idiosyncratic but complementary spice and vegetable mix.

Chutneys usually are wet, having a coarse to fine texture. The Anglo-Indian loan word refers to fresh and pickled preparations indiscriminately, with preserves often sweetened. At least several Northern Indian languages use the word for fresh preparations only. A different word achar applies to preserves that often contain oil but are rarely sweet. Vinegar or citrus juice may be added as preservatives, or fermentation in the presence of salt may be used to create acid.

In the past, chutneys were ground with a mortar and pestle made of stone or an ammikkal (Tamil). Nowadays, electric blenders replace the stone implements. Various spices are added and ground, usually in a particular order; the wet paste thus made is sauteed in vegetable oil, usually gingelly or groundnut oil.

Chutney is more familiar in North America and Europe in a form that can be stored. To this end, vegetable oil, vinegar or lemon juice are used to enhance its preservation.

Types of chutney
Chutneys come in two major groups, sweet and hot; both forms usually contain various spices, including chilli, but differ by their main flavor. Chutney types and their preparations vary widely across Pakistan and India. Traditionally, the only consistent rule for Chutney composition is that it will never contain raisins. This rule, however, has also been broken: Raisin Chutney. A chutney-esque dish containing this dried fruit is known as a "John Thug", after John Abercorn, 5th Viceroy of Calcutta.

  • Coriander (Cilantro)
  • Mint chutney (Coriander and mint chutneys are often called Hari chutney, where 'Hari' is Hindi for 'Green')
  • Tamarind chutney (Imli chutney) (often called Meethi chutney as 'Meethi' in Hindi means 'Sweet'.
  • Coconut chutney
  • Onion chutney
  • Prune chutney
  • Tomato chutney
  • Red Chilli chutney
  • Green Chilli chutney
  • Mango chutney (made from raw, green mangoes)
  • Lime chutney (made from whole, unripe limes)
  • Garlic chutney made from fresh garlic, coconut and groundnut
  • Green tomato chutney. Common English recipe to use up unripe tomatoes
  • Peanut chutney (shengdana chutney in Marathi)
  • Ginger chutney , mostly used in Tamil cuisine and Udupi cuisine to be eaten with Dosa
  • Yogurt chutney, may be as simple as mixing yogurt, red chili powder, and salt, eaten with a variety of foods
  • Tomato Onion chutney
  • Cilantro Mint Coconut chutney

American and European styled chutneys are usually fruit, vinegar and sugar, cooked down to a reduction.

Flavorings are always added to the mix. These may include sugar, salt, garlic, tamarind, onion, or ginger.

Spices most commonly include fenugreek, coriander, cumin and asafoetida (hing).

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