The beauty of Indian food is the concept of marrying flavours together. Often, an Indian feast is a myriad of flavours combined by pairing different sauces, meats, and side dishes. A common accompaniment to Indian food is different types of chutney, pickles, and dips.
As with many Indian delicacies, the intricacies of chutneys vary across the subcontinent, from their flavours to their names. This is primarily down to the variety of produce in the different areas. The importance of chutneys is to highlight the contrasting flavours of your main dishes as opposed to overpowering.
Chilli chutneys may sound daunting on the face of it. Green chilli chutneys are filled with bright and zesty herbs that come alive when blended together. It is surprisingly easy to make therefore even easier to customise. Although it’s called a chilli chutney, you can adjust the heat of the chutney to your liking. Blitz together walnuts, coriander, and chutney with a drizzle of oil and the tastes will come alive on your late. Pair a chilli chutney with a rich and creamy main dish. If you’re eating a passanda or butter chicken, add a green chutney to brighten it up.
Mango chutney is one of the most familiar Indian dips to England. Although store-bought is very different from the natural flavours found in India, this sweetness is still delicious. Subtly spiced, mango chutneys balance out the heat of an Indian main dish. Soothe the palate by combining a spicy sauce such as a Madras or Kohlapuri Masala with sweet and sticky preserved mangos.
Although called lime pickle, the cooking process to this pickle is very similar to a chutney. As you may have guessed from the main ingredient, lime pickle is full of zesty flavours. In India, lime pickle is left to mature and develop flavours in the warm sun. Lime pickle is a fiery and powerful condiment, perfect to pair with dishes that are naturally mild. If you’re opting for a simple dish such as rice and lentils, lime pickle will revolutionise the flavour. It’s also a great choice for snacking on poppadums and samosas.
Not only do chutneys marry flavours perfectly with main dishes, but they also taste delicious together. Contrasting taste and colour can create a powerful flavour such as greet mint and chilli chutney (a sharp and hot taste) with tamarind and date chutney (a sweet, sticky taste).
Even though these condiments are staples in Indian cuisine, experiment with fusion food! Mango chutney in a cheese sandwich or coriander and chilli with sausages will give you a new flavour sensation.