While devouring some delicious Kairi chutney recently, we realised how much we miss seeing, and eating, as many chutneys as we used to. There seem to be many more dips and sauces at dinner parties these days and the chatori chutney seems to be losing its place on our thalis. We won’t stand for that.
There must be hundreds of chutneys in India, thousands even. They could be sorted by seasons, region, ingredient, texture and on and on and on. We’ve tasted a lovely green chili chutney from Himachal Pradesh called Chuuk and a Thecha from Maharashtra also made of green chilis. There’s a delicious garlic and peanut chutney from Maharashtra and one from Tamil Nadu that is very similar, but the magic is in the details and differences. Here are some of our favourite chutneys.
Chammanthi Podi – A Kerala speciality, an amazing dry chutney powder made of made of coconut, gram flour and spices. This rust coloured dust is glorious. A touch of fenugreek, the texture of coconut, warm spiciness, perfect with idli, dosa or ghee rice.
Poondu Chutney – A Tamil Nadu specialty made of garlic and groundnut. Whether had with a dosa or idlis or even sprinkled over some buttered toast, this chutney adds an addictive hit to any meal.
Shengdanachi Chutney – This Sholapuri chutney has the butteriness of peanut butter but with a delicious spiciness. Another non-stop addictive chutney. Once there’s a jar of this in the kitchen, you’ll find yourself adding some to every meal. We know from a friend. Not from an empty jar in our kitchen. Really.
Mithi Tamatar ki Chutney – A speciality of Bihar, UP and of course Jharkhand, the best version we’ve had was made by Tanul’s Nani. In the winter months when tomatoes were abundant, she would make a delicious Mithi Tamatar ki Chutney that was eaten with roti, samosa bread and also just on its own. Here’s how you can make some too:
½ tsp Panch Phoran
1 Red Chili, dry
Salt to taste
4-5 tbsp Sugar (depending on how sweet you want it) or you could use a couple of cubes of jaggery
2 tbsp Mustard oil
Heat oil in a pan. Add the panch phoran and the red chili. Once the panch phoran splutters, add the roughly chopped tomatoes and salt. Cook on medium heat till the liquid of the tomatoes is cooked off. Add the sugar or jaggery and cook till they dissolve. Chill the chutney.
Kairi ki Chutney: A popular chutney in Bihar, UP and Jharkhand, one that everyone makes a little differently and everyone has a favourite recipe. We tasted the chutney made by Mrs. Pushpa Mishra and it was perfect and also surprisingly easy to make.
Roast together and grind 1/4 tsp Coriander seeds, 1-2 whole Red Chili, 1/4 tsp Jeera, pinch of Fenugreek seeds, 1/2 tsp of Ajwain seeds. Peel and cube a raw mango and make a paste. Mix everything together and top with some mustard oil.
Kashundi – No, it’s not mustard sauce. This gem of a relish of fermented mustard (in some cases mixed with mango) is the perfect accompaniment to Fish Fry ( batter or straight up fry ). In Bengal it isn’t Fish and chips, it’s Fish and Kashundi.
We haven’t been lucky enough to try chutneys from the North East (Yes we know the North East is huge with so many different cuisines) but a friend from Shillong recommends Turungbai, a fermented soyabean chutney and Tungtap, a dry fish chutney which are both specialties of Shillong which comprises of east and west Khasi hills, Garo hills and make lots of different types of chutneys. We’re looking forward to trying these soon and discovering more chutneys from around the country.
Here’s to more chutneys in our meals!