When eating a diet consisting mostly of vegetables, there are many ways to make the meals varied and interesting. This can include the cooking methods used ranging from frying in butter or, my particular favourite of roasting, or by changing them visually such as spiralising, grating or julienning!
Seasonings are also key and can include salt and herbs to bring out the flavour or add something tangy like lemon juice which is sure to liven up many a veggie. Another method that I find increasingly appealing is adding a flavoured sauce or, alternatively, a mixture of flavours found in the many types of chutneys available.
What is Chutney?
Chutney is a delicious and versatile condiment that is full of micronutrients and thought to aid digestion. It can be used in a variety of cuisines and is often made from fruits, vegetables, and/or herbs with vinegar, sugar, and spices. There are many types of chutney which can be used to add a variety of flavours to a range of things such as curries, cheese and biscuits, roasts and sandwiches. Generally, chutney can be used to highlight specific flavours or provide balance to a range of dishes.
History and Origin of Chutney?
The word ‘chutney’ derives from the Hindi word ‘chatni’ which means ‘to lick’ or ‘to eat with appetite’.
Originating from India, chutneys can be dated back to 500 BC. Surplus foods were preserved by maturing them in the sun for a few weeks and then combining them with spices and an acid base. Gastroutes says this method was adopted by the Romans around 30 BC and they then used their vast trade networks to deliver chutney to many corners of the world.
The British took to chutney in a big way during their colonial presence in India in the 18th century and, as they were able to export it in large quantities to the west, it became very popular in England and was widely used as an appetizer.
Recipe for Spiced Mango Chutney
This hearty and flavourful chutney is based on a recipe from The Minimalist Baker and contains plenty of spice which helps to balance the natural sweetness and acidity of the mango. This recipe makes just over 4 cups of chutney which will keep covered in the refrigerator up to 1 week or in the freezer up to 1 month (let thaw before use).
- 1 TBSP coconut oil
- 1-2 serrano peppers
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup red onion
- 2 TBSP minced ginger root
- 1 red pepper
- 3 cups ripe mango
- 1 TBSP curry powder
- 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup raisins or sultanas
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 3-4 TBSP coconut sugar
- 1/4 tsp garam masala (optional)
- pinch of salt
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, add coconut oil (or water), red onion, serrano pepper, red bell pepper, ginger, red pepper flakes, and curry powder. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Then add the remaining ingredients and cover. Cook on low for 20-30 minutes. The mango should be soft but not entirely mushy.
- Enjoy warm or let cool to room temperature before use.
Although chutney is integral in Indian cuisine, apparently it is still equally celebrated in Britain. The difference is that the British tend to use more fruit creating more of a jam or preserve consistency. In India, chutneys are often water-based, thinner consistency, pureed or blended, and more savoury with the main purpose to enhance the overall taste of a meal. They can include nuts or lentils and often make use of fresh herbs such as mint or coriander. Although this recipe is more akin to what is familiar in British cuisine as a chutney, the blend of spice, natural sweetness and acidity will go a long way to elevating the taste of any ordinary meal.