Chutneys are a condiment used widely in Indian cuisine. If anything, they can be compared to the western salsa or relish. Typically, chutneys come in slightly spicy varieties, but there are also those that are sweet tasting. In Indian cuisine, chutneys will accompany curries or rice and are also a favorite to be used as dips for traditional Indian snacks like samosa, pakora or poppadoms.
For the better part, chutneys are usually made fresh with a meal but since not everyone has the time to spare, they can also be bought premade from the market. Now many grocery shops and online stores also feature chutneys as part of their Indian food range and you can check some exciting chutney flavors available at http://www.vedicaorganics.com
Given their very versatile role in Indian cuisine, chutneys become integral when serving favorites like idli, dosa, and bhel puri among others. In fact, chutneys are the driving force powering Indian street food. This mainstay condiment can be served as an appetizer and be made from a variety of foods including fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. The formula is to allow one main ingredient to dominate the flavor with the others enhancing that particular taste. For instance, tamarind chutney, an all-time favorite is primarily made from tamarind paste with other ingredients like dates, sugar, salt and red chilli powder added to enhance its flavor. The result is a sweet yet tangy condiment that goes really well with pakora and pani puri.
Likewise mint chutney is another favorite that uses fresh mint leaves which have been pulverised and mixed into yogurt while being spiced with ingredients like onion, garlic, lemon and cumin to be made into a refreshing condiment. This type of chutney is usually served with rice and vegetable main dishes and is equally popular with many Indian snacks as well.
Textures for Indian chutneys can range from thick, chunky mixtures to runny consistencies that each vary with the type of chutney being prepared.
When using chutneys to make otherwise plain food more exciting (not to say that Indian cuisine isn’t exciting) but the task of making chutneys can be a rather creative experience. Taking a mix of fruits or vegetables pickled with vinegar for some or blended in yogurt for others, chutneys may be cooked for long times while others like the mint chutney mentioned above may be prepared without any cooking involved. As such chutney flavors and combinations are an endless possibility.
For a homemade version of these concoctions, produce that may be less than perfect, such as bruised fruits, woody beets or soft vegetables can also be used without having to waste them. However, spices and herbs used should never be stale. This makes chutneys a somewhat more forgiving creation to make as it can accommodate most blemished produce due to its long cooking process.
Chutneys also make for great canning as they use natural preservatives for prolonged storage needs. Many types of chutneys will keep well when refrigerated for some time while others are best when used fresh.
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