22 November 2010


lovely image of tomato chutney found HERE

I'm quite a few words ahead in my NaNo novel, so I thought I'd let the foodie in me back out to play :)

For some reason (perhaps the fact my mom mentioned cranberry chutney last night), chutneys have been on my mind. Hmm, thought I, chutneys are Indian. Huzzah! An Indian themed post!

Off to Google I go and if I thought for a moment this would be a short and easy topic, I was very, very wrong.

Chutneys are quite diverse and (as you'll see from the links I've added at the bottom of this post) there are more combinations than I thought humanly possible.
The word "chutney" is derived from caṭnī , a term used for spicy preparations that are used as an accompaniment to a main dish. They usually contain ingredients that don't, at first, seem to go together but are surprisingly complementary. Chutneys usually resemble paste and are coarse in texture (though some can be smooth). In India and in the states, I've only had a green one. I don't know what was in it, or what it was called, but I call it "the really, really, REALLY tasty green mush". Most people who have had Indian food perk up and say, "Oh yeah! I love that stuff!" If anyone knows what it's called...or could even suggest what it may be, I'd be grateful. Of course, I could just as the next time I'm at an Indian restaurant and they plop the "good green mush" down in front of me :)

They can be sweet or savory and come in a seemingly endless variety of spice/veg/fruit/herb combinations. The types and preparations of chutneys vary across their native lands of Pakistan and India, though I did discover a traditional "rule" to chutneys. No raisins. Yay! (I don't like raisins). But of course, this rule has been broken and a raisin chutney was created for John Abercorn, 5th Viceroy of Calcutta. Darn viceroys.

You can eat chutney as a snack, a meal, or as an accompaniment to a meal. According to the research I've done, they are still popular in the Carri bean and the American South where they are used with pork and fish. Mmmm, pork...

Here's a good intro to chutneys along with lists of type and regional examples. It's also where I go most of the information in this post :) Thank you, Wikipedia :D

And if you're looking to experiment with chutney in your own kitchen, or you're just wanting another way to shake up the Thanksgiving turkey and madden all the staunch traditionalists, I leave you with THIS, THIS, and THIS. Don't say I didn't warn you. There's a lot of chutney out there!


Kittie Howard said...

Lots of great info, Jen. I love chutney, the red kind, but have never made it. There are many Indians in Kenya so chuney is a stable I learned to eat with lots of meat dishes (but it doesn't go with Creole/Cajun foods, the spices conflict.)

Thanks for the super links; will have a look.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Mmmmm...I love it when people post about food! :-)

Jennifer said...

I've never heard of that before, nor have I ever actually had Indian food.

Guess I should give it a whirl.

Brian Miller said...

nice...chutney is good...