4 Easy Homemade Chutneys

CHUTNEY RECIPES

By Renu Chandarana

Renu Jain

Renu Jain Chandarana, Food Writer

My family is from North India and the food we eat reflects the region my parents grew up in down to the specific alley in the neighbourhood where certain specialties only existed.  The assortment of food is amazing considering it is limited to such a small geographic area.   That’s the beauty of Indian food; the variety is endless because of the diverse range in the people from North to South and East to West.  Something as simple as a chutney be limitless in taste, texture and ingredients.  Anything can be turned into chutney if you wanted!

So when my mom became friends with a South Indian mom in my kindergarten class, over 30 years ago, our little North Indian minds were blown.  We lucked out.  Aunty was a fabulous cook, and clearly very talented at teaching others her gift.  My mom learned how to make Dosa, Idli, Sambar and two delicious chutneys all from scratch.  The love was in the labour and it showed when you tasted the food.

Dosa became a Sunday tradition in our home about once a month and did we ever show our excitement when we had it!  While chutneys are supposed to be eaten sparingly, mom would make huge amounts because she knew we would eat it by the bowlful.  Chutney is a condiment that we use in Indian cooking to compliment an appetizer or a main course, like ketchup, some of us just can’t live without it.

Chutneys range from fruit based to vegetable based to herb based and they tantalize all your taste buds – salty, sweet, sour, bitter and umami.

When I think of the word chutney my mouth waters because I know, regardless of the flavour base, it’s going to elevate whatever I’m eating and give me that punch of flavour that I’m looking for in my food.

I’m sharing four chutney recipes with you that can be enjoyed with any kind of Indian food you like.  Wait, why put limits on this deliciousness?

I enjoy the green chutney on pizza and the coconut chutney with Thai food. You can use the tamarind chutney like plum sauce and the daal chutney tastes great on toast for a nice protein packed breakfast.

All of these chutney’s freeze well so feel free to make a double batch and freeze half – because if you’re like me…you don’t just take a tiny teaspoon, you add a large dollop to your plate.  The Cilantro and Mint Chutney and the Tamarind Chutney are from our North Indian roots while the Coconut Chutney and the Daal Chutney are South Indian.

The other important thing to know is that everyone’s taste buds are different, so while I go easy on the spice so my kids can enjoy too, you are welcome to add more spice or salt or lemon juice to make these work with your particular tastes!

CILANTRO AND MINT CHUTNEY (HARI CHUTNEY) 

Ingredients

½ bunch         Fresh Cilantro with stems   chutneys

½ bunch         Fresh Mint with stems

2 inches          Fresh Ginger

½                     of one Lemon or Lime juiced

½ tsp              Salt or to taste

pinch               Black salt (Kala Namak in Hindi)

½ tsp              roasted ground cumin

½ tsp              ground coriander seed

1                      Jalapeño (optional) for extra spice

2-3 Tbsp         Water

 

Method:

  • Place all ingredients except for the water into a blender (include the stems for the cilantro and mint, and the peel for the ginger if you like)
  • Add 2 Tbsp of water and blend
  • Check to see the consistency, if it’s too chunky or thick, or not blending well together, add another 1 Tbsp of water at a time until you have reached the consistency you desire

 

TAMARIND CHUTNEY (IMLI KI CHUTNEY/MEETHI CHUTNEY)

Ingredients

Tamarind chutney

2 Tbsp            Tamarind Pulp – seedless (can be found already prepared in a jar, or
soak a brick of tamarind in boiling water and push contents through a sieve, discarding the fibre)

2 Tbsp            Granulated sugar

3 Tbsp            Hot Water

1tsp                 roasted ground cumin

½ tsp              Salt to taste

¼ tsp              Black Salt (a.k.a. Kala Namak in Hindi)

 

Method:

Stir all the ingredients together in a bowl with a spoon until the sugar has dissolved.

COCONUT CHUTNEY:  

Ingredients

coconut-chutney

1 cup               unsweetened desiccated coconut (or fresh coconut if you like!)

1                      jalapeno deseeded or with seeds if you like the spice

3 inches          fresh ginger

1 ¼ cup          buttermilk

1 tsp                salt (add to your taste)

1 tsp                oil (I use grapeseed, but canola or vegetable are good too)

1 tsp                black mustard seed

4-5                  curry leaves

Method:

Place the coconut, jalapeno, ginger, buttermilk and salt in a food processor or blender and blend until the ginger and jalapeno are fully blended.  Be careful not to over blend because the coconut can become very creamy and butter like, this leaves a greasy film texture on your tongue.   I like to pulse everything about 5 times and then blend for about 10 seconds.  I have a high power blender, but I’ve done this recipe in a nutri-bullet or a magic bullet before too and pulsing then blending works well.

 

  • Heat oil on medium heat in a small pan.
  • Add black mustard seeds to heated oil.  Let them sizzle and pop (be careful, they jump out of the pan!)
  • Add curry leaves and watch them fry and sizzle too.
  • Keep on heat for just 10-20 seconds carefully watching to see that the mustard seeds and the curry leaves are not burning.
  • You’re going to want your hood fan on for this!  Pour the oil and black mustard seeds and curry leaves on top of the coconut mixture.
  • Stir and serve chilled or at room temperature.

 

LENTIL CHUTNEY (DAAL KI CHUTNEY): 

 

daal-chutneyIngredients

¾ cup             Split Chana Daal

¼ cup             white Urad Daal

2 tsp                oil (I use grapeseed, but canola or vegetable are good too)

½ tsp              red chilli powder (optional or to taste)

1 tsp                salt (to taste)

1 ¾ cup          buttermilk

1 tsp                black mustard seed

4-5                  curry leaves

 

Method:

  • Combine the chana daal and urad daal and rinse in cold water until the water runs clear.       daal-ingredients
  • Drain the excess water and pat the lentils dry with a paper towel to remove moisture.
  • Heat up a fry pan on medium heat and add 1 teaspoon of oil.
  • Once the oil is heated, add the daal mix and sauté on medium heat until they are golden and roasted.
  • Use a wooden or heat safe spoon to move the mixture around the pan constantly so you don’t burn the lentils.  You can instantly smell the nuttiness once it’s done.  You want the lentils to be a light to medium brown.  Dark brown means burned so stir constantly and watch over them carefully.  Add the red chili powder and salt to the roasted lentils and let cool slightly.
  • Add the lentil mix to a blender or food processor along with 1 ¼ cup of the buttermilk and blend until the mixture is the consistency of crunchy peanut butter.  You want some texture, but not whole pieces of chana daal remaining.  Take the remaining ½ cup of buttermilk and stir it in to the daal chutney mixture to get the desired consistency. Just like in the coconut chutney recipe above, heat remaining 1 tsp oil on medium heat in a small pan.
  • Add black mustard seeds to heated oil. roasted-lentils
  • Let them sizzle and pop
  • Add curry leaves and watch them fry and sizzle too.
  • Keep on heat for just 10-20 seconds carefully watching to see that the mustard seeds and the curry leaves are not burning.
  • Pour the oil and black mustard seeds and curry leaves on top of the daal and buttermilk mixture.
  • Stir and serve chilled or at room temperature.

The buttermilk soaks up quickly and the chutney becomes pasty or dry, so it’s nice to have some on reserve to stir in when serving.

 


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