'Chutney' metamorphosis across India

coconut chutney
Nariyal or Coconut Chutney.

Chutneys, one of the most evergreen Indian preparation, add oodles of flavour and texture to every meal. It is interesting to know how this humble chutney takes different forms across different regions.

The spicy coconut chutney, loosened by water, tastes amazing with breakfast dishes like idly or dosa and served everywhere in south India.

Meanwhile, the salty mango chutney made with 'uppumanga' (mangoes preserved in brine) is perfect for lunch. Like the pickle and papad, varieties of chutneys, too, have found a permanent position on dining tables in Malayali homes. Interesting chutneys can be made using fruits, vegetables, stems, fish and even meat.

Chutney is one of the few Indian dishes that have charmed the palettes of foreigners as well. In the seventeenth century, chutneys were exported to Europe as exotic dish.

In Kerala and Tamil Nadu, chutneys are mostly prepared using coconut, tomato and shallots. In Karanataka, special chutney made with camphor leaves is eaten with rice.

'Aam sotto khejur,' sweet chutney made using mango and dates, is extremely popular in the West Bengal. Tomato is used in this chutney in some areas. This is usually served after the main meal and had with crispy papad.

In Kashmir, 'mooli ki chutney' made using radishes fried in mustard oil is a special delicacy. Lemons and Kashmiri chilli powder are other ingredients in this chutney. The pudina or mint chutney in which onions are generously added is one of the favourite chutneys in Punjab. This chutney which is usually made on a traditional grinding stone is lightly sweet. It is incredible refreshing and cool as well.

The Gujaratis love chutneys made with gram flour, papaya, and garlic. For them, breakfasts aren't complete without a bit of chutney on their plates. Masala–garlic chutney is consumed along with vada paav, the Maharashtrian street food which is famous around the world. Peanut chutney, too, is quite popular in many parts of Maharashtra.

The people of Nagaland enjoy a special dried fish chutney in which 'bhut jolokia,' the hottest chilli pepper on earth, is added. This chutney, however, is not for the faint hearted. 'Akhuni,' made with soya, is equally popular in Nagaland. 'Sukan,' in which potatoes, tomatoes and dried fish are added, is cooked among tribal people in Assam.

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