Cilantro Chutney

Chutney is a term for a class of spicy preparations used as an accompaniment for the main dish. Chutneys contain spices and vegetables that complement one another.
They are usually slightly wet, having a coarse to fine texture. Both fresh and pickled forms of chutneys can be made. Generally, fresh chutneys do not contain any preservatives, and are supposed to be consumed immediately, while pickled forms tend to use a little oil or vinegar as preservatives.
In the olden days, Chutneys were ground with a mortar and pestle made of stone. However,the electric blender has now replaced the stone mortar. Originating in India, chutney was imported from India to Western Europe in the 17th century. European reproductions of chutney were often called "mangoed" fruits and vegetables, due to the fact that the mango is a common fruit used to make chutney. The word chutney is derived from the Hindi word 'Chatni'. The Hindi word for "to crush" literally means "to make chutney." This signifies the process by which chutney is made; often the ingredients are crushed together with a stone.

Like jams and jellies, chutney can be chunky or smooth. In India, spicy chutney is served with many dishes and often with pancakes. meats and vegetables. Sweet chutney is a pleasant addition to bread or crackers and cheese, and can serve as a snack or small meal.
Some of the more popular ingredients for chutney, in addition to mangoes, are limes, apples, peaches, plums, apricots, tomatoes, lemons and even coconut. Additional spices may include cloves, garlic, cilantro, mustard, cinnamon, ginger, chillis, tamarind and mint. Chutney is so diverse that it can be made with only a few of these ingredients or several, to make a variety of flavors and styles.

Cilantro Chutney makes a versatile dip or spread. It can also be stuffed or spread on meat and vegetables before cooking. It is very healthy and low in calories. I like to spread it on veggie sandwiches, burgers and wraps, and use it as a dip with pancakes and rice cakes, tandoori chicken or chips. This is a truly versatile sauce and can be used in so many ways as a healthy alternative.

Makes about 1 cup

1 bunch fresh washed green cilantro leaves
2-3 Thai or cayenne green chilies,
2-3 large garlic cloves,
1/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled
½ onion chopped (optional)
the juice of ½ a lime
a little water
salt to taste
1 tsp sugar

In a blender, blend all ingredients to a fine puree. Add a little water if required, to help the blending process - making sure not make too wet. The chutney should be puree like in consistency, not watery. Refrigerate and use immediately. The chutney tastes best fresh but will last for 3-4 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Authors Note:
1 bunch of Mint leaves can be substituted for the cilantro leaves or a combination of both mint and cilantro can be used. Add more sugar or lime juice to combat the spiciness if needed. To use as a spread, the chutney should be dry in consistency (to avoid soggy sandwiches) and to use as a dip, the chutney should be like a puree - so only add water as needed.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Hi! Welcome to my kitchen! Come and share my culinary adventures with me!