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Suvir Saran

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Chutneys are to Indian food what Salsas are to Mexican. Made from vegetables, fruits, dairy, grains and pulses, these are as diverse as the country itself. Each home has a favorite few and their own versions of those classics that are known throughout India.

When making chutneys in a food processor, make sure to use as little water as you possibly can. This makes the chutney taste more potent and rich in flavor. Often adding some sev, chivda or papri to the chutney is a good addition. These absorb the extra moisture and are also a great added flavor.

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In India we grind Chutneys between two pieces of stone. These are the best in retaining flavors. They have a great texture, have very little water and hence last longer and also taste very earthy.

My grandmother who lives in San Francisco freezes her chutneys as ice-cubes. She thaws as many cubes as she needs. The rest remain waiting to be used for another special occasion. This is also good for any leftover chutneys you may have.

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Leftover chutneys can make for great dressing for sauces for a meal the next day. They are great as gravies for potatoes, tossed in salads and also as an addition to other sauces. Here is a great opportunity for you to play with spices and foods and create your own signature recipe.

Chutneys are a great filling in sandwiches. Open and closed ones alike, taste much heartier with a dash of some chutney.

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Coconut Chutney

1 cup shredded fresh coconut

1/3 cup chana daal (gram dal/chickpea lentil), roasted in a tsp of oil until golden

1 tsp urad daal (white gram beans), roast with the chana daal

1/2 inch piece fresh ginger root

4-5 green chilies

3 curry leaves

1/2 cup coriander leaves

salt to taste

2 tbsp. yogurt

for tempering:

1 tsp.oil

1/4 tsp. mustard seeds

1/4 tsp. cumin seeds

4-5 curry leaves finely chopped

1 pinch asafoetida

In a food processor grind all the ingredients for the chutney other than those for tempering. The ground chutney will have a course but creamy texture.

The ginger, chilies and the curry leaves and cilantro should have all gotten pulverized. Set aside.

In a small frying pan, heat the oil and fry the ingredients for the tempering until the seeds are splattering.

Pour this tempered oil over the chutney and mix well.

Chill the seasoned chutney and serve cold.

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Akhrot kee Chutney (Walnut Chutney from Kashmir)

1 cup shelled and picked walnuts

1/2 cup fresh yogurt, whipped until smooth

4-5 Kashmiri red chilies

1/4 tsp. garam masala

1 tsp. powdered sugar

salt to taste

Grind the walnuts and the whole red chilies into a paste in a food processor.

Mix yogurt, garam masala, salt and sugar into the paste and process for another minute.

Chill before serving.

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Chutney Sandwiches

What started as a tea service munchie, has become a staple on the streets of Bombay. Chutney sandwiches can be eaten as a meal, or served as appetizer teasers for more to come. This is a simple recipe that will delight one and all. As an appetizer it sets the tone for a refreshing and clean meal that will follow.

6 tbsp. (3/4 stick) Unsalted butter (room temperature)

1 lemon, juice and grated zest

12 thin slices White or whole wheat bread

1 Small cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced

2 tomatoes, thinly sliced

1 Potato, boiled in jacket, chilled and thinly sliced

Coriander chutney*

Coconut chutney*

Black pepper,freshly ground, to taste

Granulated sugar, to taste

Salt, to taste

In a bowl, cream the butter with lemon juice and it’s zest. Evenly spread a light film of this butter on each slice of bread. Spread a spoonful of the coriander chutney on six slices and coconut chutney on the rest.

Cover six slices with a layer of cucumber, add a layer of tomato and top with the potato slices. Sprinkle black pepper, salt, and sugar then cover with remaining slices. Cut each sandwich into half then remove crusts. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and serve cold. Makes 12 light summer sandwiches.

(My grandmother would keep these sandwiches wrapped in moist muslin to keep them fresh for the afternoon’s tea. Refrigeration is suggested.)

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Sweet & Sour Tamarind Sauce (Imlee kee Chutney)

6 tablespoons of Tamarind Pulp (Tamco)

3 1/2 cups boiling water

1 1/2 tablespoons cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon ginger powder

1 teaspoon ground roasted fennel seeds

2 teaspoons ground roasted cumin seeds

1 teaspoon garam masala

Salt to taste

1/4 cup crushed Jaggery

In a bowl soak the tamarind in 3 1/2 cups of boiling water. Let soak for a half hour. Strain the liquid into another bowl.

Add all the spices into this juice and bring it to a boil over a medium flame. Remove from flame and cool completely. The sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days. It is great with Samosas, with papadums and as a condiment with most Indian meals.

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  • 1 year later...

My absolute favorite has to be cilantro/mint chutney. My method is pretty basic with a ton of green chilies, lemon juice, a pinch of sugar, ginger...hmm, I really forget how I make it. I just grab the stuff as I go.

Beyond the natural usage of eating it with Indian food, I love to use it for a huge variety of things. Add to sour cream or drained yogurt for chips, as a sauce for fish and chicken, on tacos and other Mexican foods, dallop some on top of Thai noodle dishes. It just imparts such great flavor and freshness, what's not to love?

Tamarind chutney is another favorite. I love it with seared Ahi Tuna.


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my favorites change with the seasons.

but year around i like "pulikaachal". the tamarind / peanut

paste thingy, which is the basis of puliyogare.

other than that, we use it as a sandwich spread (sparingly

and with lots of butter) for cheese sandwiches.

perennial tiffin favorite several generations now.

i also like a sprouted methi chutney / jam published in the

folio mag a few years ago. very very good.

there's the usual green chutney, imli chutney, coconut chutney;

then very easy and nice chopped tomato chutney with

panch phoran, turmeric and LOTS of red chilli powder.

can make with chopped mango, or very ripe peaches too.

and thokkus galore...


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I love pulikaachal too. Normally I'm not a sweet-and-sour kind of girl, but I make an exception with pulikaachal. I keep a big jar full of it in the fridge, ostensibly to make puliyogare, but in actual fact I'm lucky if I get around to making the rice with it. I use it in sandwiches, eat it with dosas and this most frequently, stand in front of the open fridge heaping spoonfuls in my mouth. :wub:


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We make several kinds of chutneys at home.

Groundnut and chillies chutney

Sesame and chillies

Jawas(flax seeds) Chutney

Thecha - Chutney made from green chiliies and garlic

Tomato chutney

Mint chutney

Tamarind and red chillies chutneys.

Khajur (dates) chutney

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Sesame chutney and Jawas chutney are both dry chutneys and made in similar manner.

Roasted sesame/Jawas 1/2 cup

Roasted dried red chillies (the long variety) 10-12 for milder version 20 to 25 for

the spicier version.

1 tsp roasted cumin


Ground the chillies and cumin first in the mortar then add the sesame and ground them till they just break. The chutney stays fresh for a month or so.

These chutneys taste best if made in a traditional mortar by pounding rather than the mixer, needless to say it invloves some effort and lot of discomfort due to red chillies. The mixer breaks the seeds and changes taste.


This is staple food in rural Maharashtra normaly consumed with bhakaris and raw onion .

green chillies 10

garlic 8-10 flakes


Heat tawa and spread a small quantity of oil and heat the green chillies till they crackle. (10 to 15 minutes). We normaly cover the green chillies with plate while heating becuase they start bursting and fly around.

Coarsely grind together green chillies, the garlic and salt in mortar.

Edited by easyguru (log)
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Your question comes just at the right moment - since a few weeks now, I’m on “chutney mode”. I’ve got myself a couple of books and I’ve made:

- Suvir’s tomato chutney

- Pear and candied ginger chutney (my own invention – I do not even remember exact ingredients)

From Larrouse des confitures (a book on jams, jellys and chutneys + other recipes) – I have adapted each recipe mostly to add more spice:

- Rhubarb chutney

- Dried fig chutney

- Red current chutney

I want to try the nut & the peach chutney but I think that will wait till the above have been consumed.

I like mixing boursin or any other soft cheese (goat does well) with normal green chutney and stuffing cherry tomatoes for appetisers.

Another fav recipe: Mix spicy chutney with the yolks of hard-boiled eggs. The mixture is then piped back into the egg white shells. Take a slice of bread for each reconstituted half-egg. Soak the bread slice in water and press out extra water. Cover the half egg in bread slice. Deep fry till golden and serve with some more chutney.

I also bake fish or chicken breasts coated with chutney.

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can we consider pickles (indian style) as chutney? if so, does anyone have a good recipe for pickled lemons? I ate one at Rasa in London, and it was soooo good. not in the owners own cookbook, alas.

the lemons were silky soft and lemony. salty-pickley-spicy-sweet, and i think there was the crunch of black mustard seeds here and there.

Also, I like to add storebought lime pickle, the ordinary stuff you get in a jar, to my chickpea and tomato spicy stew, along with lots of coriander leaves and of course garlic, lemon, etc.

Oh, and smear a little mint-coriander chutney inside a goats cheese quesadilla (on naan or flour tortilla, not corn)



Marlena the spieler


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Hi! Marlena,

I didnt realise you were a member here when I linked to your story on Parsi Eggs on Potato in the Indian food-media and news section.

RE:Pickled Lemons, here is what you may be looking for:

It's very easy to make and is served with all South Indian fare.

Mix 10 Limes (quartered) with red Chilli powder, Turmeric powder, Asafoetida, Salt and keep in fridge for a few days. Then saute mustard seeds in half a cup of oil( preferably sesame) and add to the pickle. After a few days more the pickle should have softened and is ready to eat.

If you are using lemons which may be thick skinned, the pickle may take some more days to be ready. The pickle is ready when the skin is 'al dente'.

I fry by the heat of my pans. ~ Suresh Hinduja


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episure, others,

a quick question about sesame oil: since i didn't cook as much when i lived in india i hadn't really encountered sesame oil there until my recent trip home. my wife was cooking a korean meal for the family and we used the sesame oil available in the local market. compared to the sesame oil available in asian stores in the u.s this one had almost no aroma (almost analogous to the non-pungent mustard oil available here). was this an anomaly or do indian sesame oils generally not have the powerful, smoky sesame aroma?



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