A chutney is a family of condiments or sauces in the cuisines of the Indian subcontinent. Chutneys may be realized in such forms as a tomato relish, a ground peanut garnish, yogurt or curd, cucumber, spicy coconut, spicy onion or mint dipping sauce. A common variant in Anglo-Indian cuisine uses a tart fruit such as sharp apples, rhubarb or damson pickle made milder by an equal weight of sugar (usually demerara or brown sugar to replace jaggery in some Indian sweet chutneys). Vinegar was added to the recipe for English-style chutney that traditionally aims to give a long shelf life so that autumn fruit can be preserved for use throughout the year (as are jams, jellies and pickles) or else to be sold as a commercial product. Indian pickles use mustard oil as a pickling agent, but Anglo-Indian style chutney uses malt or cider vinegar which produces a milder product that in western cuisine is often eaten with hard cheese or with cold meats and fowl, typically in cold pub lunches.


The word ''chutney'' derives from Hindi चटनी / Urdu چٹنی ''chaṭnī'', deriving from चाटना / چاٹنا ''chāṭnā'' 'to lick' or 'to eat with appetite'. In India, ''chutney'' refers to fresh and pickled preparations indiscriminately; however, several Indian languages use the word for fresh preparations only. A different word, ''achār'' ( hi|अचार), applies to pickles that often contain oil and are sour/spicy in taste but rarely sweet.


In India, chutneys can be either made alongside pickles that are matured in the sun for up to two weeks and kept up to a year or, more commonly, are freshly made from fresh ingredients that can be kept a couple of days or a week in the refrigerator. In Tamil Nadu, ''Thogayal'' or ''Thuvayal'' (Tamil) are preparations similar to chutney but with a pasty consistency. In Andhra Pradesh it is also called ''Roti Pacchadi''. In Kerala it is also called ''Chammanthi'' and in Telangana it is called ''Tokku''. ''Thengai chutney,'' a coconut based chutney is the one being referred when only 'chutney' is said. Medicinal plants that are believed to have a beneficial effect are sometimes made into chutneys, for example ''Pirandai Thuvayal'' or ridged gourd chutney (''Peerkangai Thuvayal'' or ''beerakaaya tokku''). Bitter gourd can also serve as a base for a chutney which is like a relish or, alternatively as a dried powder. Occasionally, chutneys that contrast in taste and colour can be served together—a favourite combination being a green mint and chili chutney with a contrasting sweet brown tamarind and date chutney. Chutneys may be ground with a mortar and pestle or an ''ammikkal'' (Tamil). Spices are added and ground, usually in a particular order; the wet paste thus made is sautéed in vegetable oil, usually gingelly (sesame) or peanut oil. Electric blenders or food processors can be used as labour-saving alternatives to the stone grinding technique. Western-style chutneys are usually fruit, vinegar, and sugar cooked down to a reduction, with added flavourings. These may include sugar, salt, garlic, tamarind, onion or ginger. Western-style chutneys originated from Anglo-Indians at the time of the British Raj recreated Indian chutneys using English orchard fruits—sour cooking apples and rhubarb, for example. They would often contain dried fruit: raisins, currants, and sultanas. They were a way to use a glut of ripened fruit and preserving techniques were similar to sweet fruit preserves using approximately an equal weight of fruit and sugar, the vinegar and sugar acting as preservatives. South Indian chutney powders are made from roasted dried lentils to be sprinkled on idlis and dosas. Peanut chutneys can be made wet or as a dry powder. Spices commonly used in chutneys include fenugreek, coriander, cumin, and asafoetida (''hing''). Other prominent ingredients and combinations include coriander, capsicum, mint (coriander and mint chutneys are often called हरा ''hara'' chutney, Hindi for "green"), Tamarind or ''Imli'' (often called ''meethi'' chutney, as मिठाई ''meethi'' in Hindi means "sweet"), sooth (or ''saunth'', made with dates and ginger), coconut, onion, prune, tomato, red chili, green chili, mango, lime (made from whole, unripe limes), garlic, coconut, peanut, dahi, green tomato, dhaniya pudina (cilantro and mint), peanut (''shengdana'' chutney in Marathi), ginger, dahi (yogurt), red chili powder, tomato onion chutney, cilantro, mint coconut chutney, and apricot. Major Grey's Chutney is a type of sweet and spicy chutney popular in the United States. The recipe was reportedly created by a 19th-century British Army officer of the same name (likely apocryphal) who presumably had resided for a period of time in the Raj. Its characteristic ingredients are mango, raisins, vinegar, lime juice, onion, tamarind extract, sweetening and spices. Several companies produce a Major Grey's Chutney, in India, the UK and the US.


Similar in preparation and usage to a pickle, simple spiced chutneys can be dated to 500 BC. Originating in India, this method of preserving food was subsequently adopted by the Romans and British thanks to their encounters and contacts with the Indian subcontinent. As greater imports of foreign and varied foods increased into northern Europe, chutney fell out of favour in Britain. This combined with a greater ability to refrigerate fresh foods and an increasing amount of glasshouses meant the British consumption of chutney and pickle were relegated to army usage and individuals residing in India. Chutney became resurgently popular in England around the 1780s as an appetizer. Diego Álvarez Chanca brought back chili peppers from the Americas to Spain in 1493. He had sailed with Columbus. After discovering their medicinal properties, Chanca developed a chutney to administer them. In the early 17th century, officials of the East India Company on the Indian subcontinent subsided on preserved foodstuffs such as lime pickles, chutneys and marmalades. (Marmalades proved unpopular due to their sweetness. They were also rare due to a lack of available sugar.) Beginning in the 17th century, fruit chutneys were shipped to various European countries as luxury goods. These imitations were called "mangoed" fruits or vegetables, the word 'chutney' being associated with the working class in these countries. Major Grey's Chutney is thought to have been developed by a British officer who had travelled to India. The formula was eventually sold to Crosse and Blackwell, a major British food manufacturer, probably in the early 1800s. In the 19th century, types of chutney like Major Grey's or Bengal Club that catered to western tastes were shipped to Europe from India. Generally, these chutneys are fruit, vinegar, and sugar cooked down to a reduction.

By regions of India

See also

* – for a divergent type of chutney in the UK and elsewhere ** * * * – a yoghurt-based side dish classed as a chutney * – a dry, coarsely powdered Japanese food eaten similarly to dry chutney * * * * * * * * * and foods * * *


Further reading

* Weaver, William Woys. "Chutney". ''Encyclopedia of Food and Culture.'' Ed. Solomon H. Katz. Vol. 1. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2003. 417–418. 3 vols. . * Dahiya, Ashish. ''Food of Haryana: The Great Chutneys'' Vol. 1. India. .
Food Safety in Production of Chutney, Pickles. Jams, Oils – UK

External links

Foodreference.com. {{South African cuisine Category:Ancient dishes Category:Sri Lankan cuisine Category:Indian condiments Category:South Asian cuisine Category:Vegetarian dishes of India Category:Pakistani condiments Category:Bangladeshi condiments