Posted on April 30, 2013


REENA KARIM and MRIGAA SETHI head to the kitchen and cook up six classic chutneys, sampling the best from Kashmir to Tamil Nadu.

Dahi Sarson Chutney

As in many traditional Indian households, we used dahi on a daily basis, be it to add a creamy flavour to palak paneer or as a base for cucumber raita. But we also took this simple staple to new heights by making delightful chutneys. In this recipe, we combine the modest dahi with in-your-kitchen spices to make a condiment perfect for kebabs.

• 2 cups of plain natural yoghurt
• 1/2 teaspoon coarse cumin seeds [jeera]
• A pinch of asafoetida [hing]
• A pinch of red chilli power
• 2 tablespoons of canola oil
• 1 finely chopped green chilli
• Salt and sugar to taste
• Coriander leaves for garnish

1. Combine salt, sugar, and yoghurt in a bowl. Whisk together until smooth.
2. In a pan, heat the oil. Add cumin seeds. Cover the pan.
3. Once the seeds have crackled, add asafoetida, a pinch of red chilli powder and chopped green chilies. Mix well and replace the lid for a minute. Don’t let the red chilli burn.
4. Pour the entire mix, along with the oil, into the yoghurt.
5. Top it off with coriander leaves and serve with kebabs or samosas.

Bengali Tomato and Date Chutney

Chaatni for us Bengalis is a special dessert. For me, it was the best part of growing up with a Bengali mom. Traditionally, the chutney is served last, but I always preferred to have it with my last bit of rice. Even now, I could have an entire meal with just this chutney, rice, and, of course, crispy papad.

• 2 cups cubed tomatoes
• 15 dates, pitted and sliced
• 2 tablespoons of black California raisins
• 1 teaspoon of sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon juice of grated ginger
• 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
• Salt to taste

1. Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds.
2. When they sputter, add the tomatoes and the sugar. Sauté for a few minutes or until the tomato is pulpy.
3. Add in the dates and raisins along with the ginger juice. Cook on low flame for five minutes, until the tomatoes turn into a rough paste.

Onion Chutney

My grandmother, who is from Kerela, always believed that a proper onion chutney should have a strong kick that perks up every meal. There are many variations; the most common one is the orange-ish puree that is eaten with dosa or idli. This chutney is not just limited to South Indian savouries but can also be enjoyed with papad and kachoris.

• 1 cup shallots, peeled
• 4 red chillies
• A small piece of tamarind, about 1 teaspoon
• 2 tablespoons of oil
• Salt as required
• 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
• 2 teaspoons urad dal

1. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When they sputter, add urad dal and red chillies.
2. Sauté until the dal turns light brown. Don’t let the chilli burn.
3. Add the shallots and sauté until they turn pink.
4. Switch off the flame. Add the tamarind piece and mix forabout a minute.
5. When the mix has cooled off, grind everything together with 2 tablespoons of water, until the onion is reduced to a coarse pulp, not a puree. Remove the chutney from the blender and keep aside.
6. In the same pan, heat a teaspoon of oil, add mustard seeds. When they sputter, pour them over the chutney.

Featured in Masala magazine, April 2013, Thailand

For original PDF click here Mistress of Spice Chutney

Posted in: Dining