Chutneys of India

Chutneys are appetisers or accompaniments that add a zesty flavour to the meal. There are many varieties of chutneys, some of which are partnered with certain food items. Chutneys can be wet, dry, powdered, sweet, sour or hot. Vegetables, leaves, nuts, dal (lentils), herbs, fruit, fish, meat or their combinations are used to prepare the many forms of tasty pasty chutneys.

Traditionally chutneys were ground by housewives using a sil-batta (a flat stone with a stone). In some regions, the chutney pulp is prepared using a pestle or the hollow of a bamboo as a receptacle. Modernity has replaced manual grinding with the use of electric grinders. Commercialization has popularised many varieties of chutneys, reducing the workload of housewives, and making this spicy treat readily available over the counter in India and abroad.

Food from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana is known for being high on the spice quotient. Mouth-watering chutneys are a speciality and taste even better when mixed with hot rice and ghee. Here is a selection of chutneys:

 

Gongura Pachadi – Sorrel Leaves Chutney

A tuneful harmony of sour sorrel leaves and spicy red chillies.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups red sorrel leaves
  • 3-4 red chillies
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 4-5 fenugreek seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil

Method

  1. Pluck sorrel (gongura in Telugu) leaves from the stem, wash and dry them on kitchen towel.
  2. Heat oil in a pan and sauté gongura leaves till they wilt. Remove and keep aside.
  3. In the same pan, heat oil again and add fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds and red chillies. Roast well.
  4. Remove seasoning and grind to a coarse powder in a blender.
  5. Add sautéed gongura leaves to the powder with salt and grind again coarsely.
  6. Serve with hot rice and ghee.

 

Tomato Pachadi – Tomato Chutney

Tomatoes combined with green coriander leaves is a tasty appetiser.

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp urad dal
  • 5-6 fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds
  • 3-4 red chillies
  • A pinch of asafoetida
  • 3-4 green chillies
  • 5-6 medium sized tomatoes, roughly diced
  • A handful of green coriander leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • 3-4 tbsp oil

Method

  1. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan and add in the first 4 ingredients.
  2. Sauté till mustard seeds start spluttering and urad dal turns brown, making sure not to burn it.
  3. Once done, switch off the heat and add in red chillies and asafoetida.
  4. After this mixture cools, transfer it to the chutney jar of a mixer grinder and grind to a coarse powder.
  5. In the same pan, heat 2 tbsp oil, add in tomatoes and green chillies.
  6. Sauté till tomatoes are thoroughly cooked and soft.
  7. Let it cool.
  8. Add tomatoes and salt to the ground powder with coriander leaves.
  9. Blend till it becomes coarse.

 

Vankaya Pachadi – Brinjal Chutney

A chutney similar to the North Indian bharta.

Ingredients

  • 1 large brinjal or 5 small purple ones
  • 1 tsp chana dal
  • ½ tsp urad dal
  • ½ tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2-3 red chillies, depending on preference
  • 1 tsp tamarind pulp or lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste

For Seasoning

  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp urad dal
  • Curry leaves
  • 1 tsp oil

Method

  1. Roast brinjal on stove till it softens.
  2. Let it cool, peel the skin and keep aside.
  3. Heat oil in a pan and sauté chana dal, urad dal, coriander seeds and red chillies till the dals turn pinkish-brown.
  4. Let it cool and grind to a powder. This is for tempering.
  5. Blend roasted brinjal, salt and tamarind pulp/lemon juice.
  6. Grind to a coarse paste.
  7. Put chutney in serving bowl and season with the tempering.

 

Allam Pachadi – Ginger Chutney

Pesarattu, dosas made from moong dal, is never served without allam pachadi in Andhra Pradesh.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2-3 red chillies
  • 1 ½ tbsp chana dal
  • 1 tbsp urad dal
  • 5-6 fenugreek seeds
  • ½ tsp tamarind pulp
  • 1 tsp jaggery, grated or powdered
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil

For Seasoning

  • Oil
  • Curry leaves, as desired
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds

Method

  1. Heat oil in a pan and roast chana dal, urad dal, fenugreek seeds till they change colour.
  2. Switch off heat and add red chillies.
  3. Grind mixture in a blender and let it cool.
  4. In the same pan, sauté ginger chunks in a little oil till they turn brown. Once done, let them cool down.
  5. Add sauted ginger, tamarind pulp, jaggery and salt in blended dal mixture and grind to a fine paste.
  6. Remove in a serving bowl.
  7. For tempering, heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. Let them splutter before adding curry leaves. Spread tempering over the chutney.
  8. Serve with pesarattu, dosa, or idli.

 

Dosakaya Pachadi – Lemon Cucumber Chutney

Lemon cucumber is a type of cucumber used in Andhra cuisine for chutneys, pickles and dals. Ordinary cucumbers can also be used.

Ingredients

  • 1-½ cup cucumber peeled, chopped
  • 1 tbsp urad dal
  • 1 tbsp chana dal
  • 5-6 fenugreek seeds
  • 2 red chillies
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1 tbsp tamarind pulp
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil

For Tempering

  • Oil
  • ½ tsp urad dal
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • Curry leaves, as desired

Method

  1. Heat oil in a pan, add urad dal, chana dal, fenugreek seeds and sauté till they change colour.
  2. Add chillies and turn off heat.
  3. Let it cool and grind to a coarse powder.
  4. Add tamarind pulp and blend again.
  5. Add cucumber chunks and salt and grind again.
  6. Chutney should be coarse, not a fine paste.
  7. Remove in a bowl.
  8. Heat oil in a pan, add urad dal. As soon as the dal changes colour, add mustard seeds.
  9. Switch off heat as the mustard seeds start spluttering.
  10. Add curry leaves and temper the chutney with this mixture.

 

Sorakaya Tokka Pachadi – Bottle Gourd Peel Chutney

Made from peels of the bottle gourd.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup washed bottle gourd peels
  • ½ tbsp coriander seeds
  • 5-6 fenugreek seeds
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp chana dal
  • ¼ tsp urad dal
  • 2-3 red chillies, depending on preference
  • Tamarind pulp, as per choice
  • Curry leaves for tempering
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil

Method

  1. Heat oil in a pan, add coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds and red chillies.
  2. Roast them well. Once done, keep aside to cool.
  3. Grind into a fine powder.
  4. Heat oil in the same pan and sauté bottle gourd peels with salt till they turn tender and are cooked.
  5. Add tamarind pulp, let it cook for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Switch off heat. Let this mixture cool.
  7. Add peel mixture to ground powder and blend.
  8. Remove in a bowl. Temper with chana dal, urad dal, and curry leaves.

 

Velagapandu Pachadi – Wood Apple Chutney

The pulp of the wood apple or bel in Hindi is sweet so the chutney uses a lot of chillies.

Ingredients

  • 1-2 wood apples, pulp scooped out
  • 3-4 green chillies
  • 2-3 red chillies
  • 5-6 fenugreek seeds
  • ½ tbsp urad dal
  • ½ tbsp chana dal
  • ½ tbsp mustard seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • A pinch of turmeric
  • A pinch of asafoetida
  • Handful of chopped coriander leaves
  • Oil

Method

  1. Heat oil in a pan and add fenugreek seeds, urad dal, chana dal. When they change colour slightly, add mustard seeds and let them splutter.
  2. Add green and red chillies, asafoetida and saute till chillies are fried well.
  3. Switch off heat and add turmeric powder. Let mixture cool.
  4. Grind to a coarse powder.
  5. Add pulp of wood apple, salt and grind till coarse.
  6. Remove in a bowl and mix chutney with coriander leaves.
  7. Serve with hot rice and ghee.

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