Chutney, noun: A type of condiment similar to salsa found in Indian cuisine.
Every culture has their own version of an all-purpose sauce that can be used interchangeably as dip, relish, or condiment. In India, it's chutney! What's your favorite chutney recipe?
There is no single recipe for chutney, and the variations from region to region and family to family are endless. In general, it's a thick sauce that can be smooth or chunky. While some versions are as spicy as the hottest Mexican salsas, the most prominent flavor profiles are sweet and sour.
Most chutneys incorporate a lot of tropical ingredients. Mangoes, pineapple, and coconut get used quite a bit, along with nuts like cashews and peanuts. Mint, ginger, tamarind, cumin, and cilantro add variety and depth of flavor.
Chutneys served with crackers or flatbread make an appetizer or quick snack. They are also served with main dishes so each person can adjust their dish to their own taste. Chutneys also go very well with grilled foods!
Mark Bittman's book, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, has a really nice section of chutney recipes, including Crunchy Nut Chutney and Tamarind-Date Chutney. Here are a few other recipes from the internet:
• Mango Chutney from Simply Recipes
• Cherry-Plum Chutney from the Examiner
• Sweet-and-Sour Tamarind Chutney from Food & Wine
• Tomato Chutney from Indian Child
Do you make your own chutneys?
Related: Good Question: How Long is it Safe to Keep Condiments?
(Image: Flickr member Charles Haynes licensed under Creative Commons)