Finger-licking good

Alisha Shinde
Thursday, 9 May 2019

By now, you must have guessed what we are talking about: chutneys, and now is the season to enjoy them. Chefs tell us how to make some lip-smacking condiments to make your meals more delightful

Think of summer and one of the first things that come to mind are chutneys and pickles. It’s the season of mangoes, so making mango pickles and chutneys is almost a ritual in every Indian household. As a child, during your summer vacations, you must have savoured the freshly-made, fragrant chutneys and delicious pickles that your grandmother or mother made.

However, other than raw mango chutney, you can try some other interesting recipes this summer. 

“If you are planning to spend a balmy summer evening with your friends and family, an evening snack will be perfect to sit back and enjoy. To relish the munchies further, be it Indian or Continental, chutneys are a must. That’s how versatile chutneys are —  they go well with everything,”  says Shivya, owner of Cinnamon Restaurant and Bar, Indirapuram, Ghaziabad. 

Feroz Patel, head chef, Fairfield by Marriott Pune, Kharadi, says that chutneys have always been popular condiments for Indian regional cuisines and a meal is incomplete without them.  

Chef Krishnendu Banerjee, Four Points by Sheraton Hotel & Serviced Apartments Pune, Nagar Road,  says that Indians like to have chutney all through the year but during summer one can find some of the best ingredients to make a good condiment.

The high temperatures and humidity can lead to a loss of appetite. “However, the tangy, fresh and bold flavours of the chutneys can get back your appetite and also aid in digestion, especially if you are consuming heavy and rich Indian food. Hence it is the perfect accompaniment for your meals during summer,” says Chef Vineet Pathak, Marriott Suites Pune, Koregaon Park.

Talking about chutneys that one can easily whip up at home this summer other than the regular raw mango chutney and the mint and coriander chutney, Banerjee says, “Other than raw mango, some of the ingredients that can be used to make a good chutney are tomato, raw papaya, bel, tamarind and gooseberry because of their interesting and refreshing flavours.”  

The best part about chutneys is how you can play with different ingredients, be it fruits, herbs or vegetables. “Mint or Pudine Ki Chutney is my summertime favourite. Mint and summers go hand in hand as the menthol (minty) cold taste is something you crave for during the hot days and that’s what makes this chutney even more summery and special,” says Patel.

When one thinks of a summer chutney, all that one imagines is fresh mint, spicy green chillies, tomatoes and tamarind. “This is because we Indians prefer chutneys which are sour and spicy that further accentuate the flavour of the food,” says Shivay. 

To make a good chutney, Pathak says that one can choose any type of fruit or vegetable that is edible in its raw form. “Ingredients like coconut, cucumber, capsicum, onion, tomato, mango, lychee, bitter gourd, papaya and radish can be all tossed up or blended into a perfect chutney and enjoyed with your meals,” he says. 

Chutneys can be chunky, finely chopped, or smooth, or can have the consistency of a liquid and sometimes they can be dry. 

“Most of the famous chutney recipes are made using ingredients like coconut, mint, coriander, cilantro, garlic, ginger, mango, tamarind, red chillies, green chillies, peanut, fenugreek, cumin, asafoetida and tomato that decide the flavours of the chutneys,” says Patel. 

Tomato and Khajur Chutney
    Tomato, thickly sliced...    4 (medium size)
    Fresh green chilli...    1
    Bay leaf..    .1 
    Whole red chillies.    ..2 
    Onion seed (kalonji)...    ½ tsp
    Carom seed (ajwain)...    ½ tsp
    Fennel seed (badi saunf)..    .¼ tsp
    Mustard seed (sarson)..    .¼ tsp
    Turmeric powder..    .¼ tsp
    Red chilli powder.    ..1 tsp
    Degi mirch powder..    .½ tsp
    Mustard oil.    ..3 tsp
    Sugar as per taste
    Salt...     2 tsp

    In a hot pan, add oil and crackle all seeds with bay leaf and red whole chilli.
    Add tomato and sugar, and simmer for 10 minutes.
    Add turmeric, chilli powder and degi mirch powder and cook for 5 minutes on a slow flame.
    Add salt and garnish with fresh green chilli.

(Chef Krishnendu Banerjee
Four Points by Sheraton Hotel & Serviced Apartments, Pune) 

Olive Gur Chutney
    Olives, crushed...    2 cups
    Mustard oil...    4 tbsp
    Jaggery...    50 gm
    Paanch phoron (five spice mix)...    1 tsp
    Chilli powder...    1 tsp
    Roasted cumin powder...    2 tbsp
    Honey...    2 tbsp
    Salt to taste

    Pour some oil into the pan and heat.
    Add jaggery and mix it well on medium heat.
    Add olive and mix. Cook for a few minutes.
    Then add salt, five spices, chilli powder, roasted cumin powder and cook for about 3-5 minutes.
    Finish off by adding some honey.
(Recipe by Feroz Patel, head chef, Fairfield by Marriott Pune Kharadi)

    Red chillies (pandi), dried and broken into pieces..    .5
    Onions, thickly sliced..    .1 cup
    Coconut oil..    .2 tbsp
    Salt to taste

    Heat the coconut oil in a broad non-stick pan, add the onions and sauté on a medium flame for 2 minutes.
    Add the red chillies and sauté on a medium flame for 2 minutes.
    Remove the mixture from the flame and allow it to cool completely.
    Once cooled, blend in a mixer along with salt till smooth without using any water.
    Serve immediately or refrigerate it in an air-tight container for two days.

(Recipe by Shivya, owner of Cinnamon Restaurant and Bar, Indirapuram, Ghaziabad)

Avocado Mint Chutney
    Avocado...    1
    Green chillies...    2
    Mint..    .1 bunch
    Salt to taste 
    Lemon juice...     ½ a lemon

    Blend all the ingredients together in a mixer grinder.
    Pour in a bowl, chill and serve.

(Recipe by Chef Vineet Pathak, Marriott Suites Pune)

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