Chutneys go beyond being just a condiment though for they can be used as a marinade for succulent braaied meat, as a glaze for roasts or as part of an impressive cheese and charcuterie spread.
I DO NOT know about you, but my favourite part of any Indian meal is definitely the chutney! Actually, chutney is really versatile and can go with loads of different meals, it really is the perfect side dish.
Chutney is used to provide balance to an array of dishes or highlight a specific flavour profile. Part of the condiment family, chutneys originated in South Asian cuisine but have exploded in popularity across the globe.
Made from a blend of fresh herbs, fruit and vegetables that are either cooked down or blitzed together in their raw form, the ingredients are then seasoned with spices that uplift every element for a sauce that makes the perfect accompaniment to savoury dishes.
The roots of chutney date back as far as 500 BC in India. Bottling fruit and vegetables with vinegar, oils, and spices prolong the shelf life of perishables.
This style of preparing the ingredients was brought to the Romans and British after their trade encounters with South Asia.
Today, these flavourful sauces are served as a dip alongside chaat (savoury snacks that originated in India). Various countries have their own versions that range in sweetness, spice, and texture.
In South Africa, sweet, tangy fruit chutneys are eaten with breyani and Durban-style curries to cut through the richness of the dishes and help balance out the spiciness.
Chutneys go beyond being just a condiment though, for they can be used as a marinade for succulent braaied meat, as a glaze for roasts or as part of an impressive cheese and charcuterie spread.
Broadly, the word chutney is now applied to anything preserved in sugar and vinegar, regardless of its texture, ingredients, or consistency. It is served with everything from basmati rice to bread like naan or dosa to curry dishes.
Elsewhere in the world, you may see a variety of chutneys paired with dishes, like onion chutney with roasted meats or a fruity apple chutney with a buttery, creamy cheese like brie or goat cheese.
This richly flavoured chutney recipe from chef Norman Heath makes a great sauce to add a little spicy warmth to your favourite dishes.
2 cups black grapes (frozen mixed berries)
½ cup (60 ml) blueberry vinegar
½ tbsp water
¼ tsp coarse sea salt
1tbsp ground mustard powder (optional for berries)
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan.
Bring to a boil over medium to low heat, then turn the heat down and simmer uncovered until the grapes are softened, but not mushy. About 25 minutes.
Remove from heat and cool to room temperature before serving (it will thicken as it cools).
Store refrigerated in a lidded glass jar for up to two weeks.
Tip from the chef: It’s best to allow the chutney to cool completely overnight to allow the flavours to fully develop.