A chutney is a family of condiments or eatable pastes in the cuisines of the Indian subcontinent. The word has been anglicised.
Chatna in Hindi parlance translates “to lick” with a plucking of the tongue while tasting something tangy and spicy. This action perhaps led to the origin of the word “chatni” which converted into the anglicised “chutney” by the British.
The word chatni singularly integrates multiple actions of pounding, mixing, pickling & stirring. Its origins are undoubtedly rooted in the Indian subcontinent at the family level.
Relish and chutney are very similar condiments or side dishes and the terms are often used interchangeably, but some differences do exist between them.
Chutney is a perfect accompaniment to Indian food; however, it can also be used as a side dish, sandwich spread, dip, an accompaniment to cheese and crackers, or as an ingredient to enhance the flavour of everyday dishes like dosa, sabzi, curry & biryani all over India.
A chutney improves digestion, speeds up the metabolism, keeps your heart strong, reduces inflammation, enhances blood circulation etc. However, chutneys contain sugar as well and sugar has a devastating effect on your body. So do watch your intake.
Uncooked Chutney – An uncooked chutney is made from fruits, vegetables or both and/or seasoned with herbs with vinegar, sugar, and spices.
It is used to provide balance to an array of dishes, or highlight a specific flavour profile. An uncooked chutney may be hand pounded or blended in a mixer.
Cooked Chutney – A cooked chutney may have one of the main ingredients (for example, roasted tomatoes or brinjal) precooked before being blended into a chutney.
In some cases both of these formats may have a tempering added on the top after being blended.