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Monday, July 8, 2013

Chutneys – The Spice of Life


Who does not relish a lip smacking chutney or chatni (a kind of sauce for the uninitiated!)! This is one side dish which adds to flavor even to the blandest food and is a great value addition when it comes to eating. A dull and insipid fare suddenly gains a new meaning the moment it is laced with a tangy sauce or chutney!
It is difficult to trace the history of chutney but according to legends post-colonial era, the British carried the recipe back with them to the island as they fell in love with the taste. Major Grey a British officer of the colonial era loved the curries and prepared his own chutney especially from mangoes.  Till today these chutneys still find a place in Great Britain and have traveled places to distant lands of South Africa and Caribbean islands. Most of these are vegetable and fruit based, prepared from mangoes, pears, apples with a combination of spices, vinegar, tamarind , raisins, honey , ginger, garlic, lemon, mint  and many more ingredients. Cooked mango and papaya chutneys are popular in Caribbean, South Africa, South East Asia and Middle East. Date chutney are available a plenty in Middle East, Sri Lanka and South East Asia.
Chutneys are different from Sauces. Sauces are an essential element in cuisines all over the world. Sauces may be used for savory dishes or for desserts. They can be prepared and served cold, like mayonnaise, prepared cold but served lukewarm like pesto. Some sauces are inventions like Worcestershire sauce, or mostly bought ready-made like soy sauce or ketchup, others still are freshly prepared by the cook. Sauces for salads are called salad dressing. Sauces made by deglazing a pan are called pan sauces.

One can see a great variety of consumption of sauces in Italian, Chinese, Spanish, Thai, Korean, and Japanese cuisines like Bolognese, Pesto, Soy, Wasabi, Bean, Chili, Apple, Cranberry and many more!
Going back to the humble chutneys, the ingredients vary based on what is being eaten as the main dish! The Indian snacks like Samosa, Pakoras and Aloo Tikki  go well with green mint or coriander chutney and tamarind concoction whereas the South Indian dishes like Dosa, Idli, Vada go well with coconut, garlic , tomato chutney or Milagai podi! Likewise mint chutney goes best with tandoori dishes like kebabs and tikkas.
The history of Mrs HS Balls chutney is equally an interesting one and is considered to be one of the biggest food brands of South Africa! She started making chutneys whose popularity grew in early 20th century till the time she died at an age of 97 years in 1962 having sold the brand to the giant Unilever. The contents of these popular chutney are still a closely guarded secret  by the family of Mrs Balls! Tiger Brands the largest food company in South Africa bought the brand from Unilever in Dec 2012 at 475 million Rand.
No spicy discussion could be complete without a reference to exotic chutney! Once a mother visited her son while he stayed in the hostel and was surprised to find a beautiful girl who dropped in during her visit! The son introduced her as she too joined them for dinner. After she returned back to her native place she received a mail from her son stating that ever since she left the place the girl friend is unable to find a jar containing chutney. ’I am not saying you took it but maybe by mistake it got packed with your belongings’ he continued.
A few days later he got a reply from his mother saying, “I was surprised to see that beautiful girl with you and am not suggesting that she sleeps with you, but had she been sleeping in her bed, she would have found it by now’!
PS- Pictures Kind Courtesy Google 

74 comments:

  1. The name Mrs. Balls completely cracked me up. I'm a great fan of chutneys and spicy powders. The wee anecdote at the end of the post was hilarious. Thanks for a fun-filled informative post, Rahul. Have a wonderful week ahead.

    Joy always,
    Susan

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    1. Ha Ha... The balls keep striking the bell! Thanks a lot Susan that you enjoyed the post:)Wishing you a lovely week too!!

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  2. Chutneys can really make or break a dish. And we Indians relish our chutneys. I was expecting some recipe to round off the delicious post.

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    1. Agree that no meal is complete without a chutney, Rachna!I hope you will share one of your recipes soon:)

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  3. wow thats a yummy tangy mouth watering post for a monday morning :D thanks for tingling my taste buds :D hehhe!!! HS Ball's Story was new to me, wow your post has information and humor a perfect combination for a nice chutney :D
    Yummy post Rahul sir :D

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    1. Good that instead of Monday morbning blues you had a tangy feeling, Ramya!Thank you for enjoying!

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  4. Rahul..." La salsa de la vida "

    Es inmensa la variedad de las salsas como las demás
    comidas, pero la costumbre en cada país al ser distintas
    e ir a visitar...siempre nos quedamos con las nuestras,
    no nos acostumbramos a distintos sabores.

    ¡¡¡ Interesante nota !!!

    Saludos desde Argentina

    un beso

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    1. Cada uno disfruta de sus recetas y salsas con su comida regional no importa en qué parte del mundo son, Doris! Muchas gracias por su comentario y que le desea una buena semana

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  5. Oh, I love those lip smacking, tongue tickling chutneys, Rahul. Loved the 'spicy discussion'...immensely! :)

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    1. A pleasure indeed, Panchali that you enjoyed the post:)

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  6. Chutneys are a must in my house - the type that can be used right away as well as the preserved ones. I loved this post. It made my mouth water like crazy.

    And the joke at the end is so funny!

    A great read as always, Rahul.

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    1. A big thanks for being there to read the posts and being ever supportive, Vidya:)

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  7. Replies
    1. How lovely... you too like them Francesca:)

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  8. I'm a spice lover, but those aren't so used in Italy!
    xx

    New Post
    http://laviecestchic.blogspot.it/2013/07/green-life.html

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    1. Welcome to my blog Marika ! Am happy you are a spice lover too like us:)

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  9. Replies
    1. Thanks Deepak! I doubt if there is someone who does not like:)

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  10. I really love chutneys

    http://www.cultureandtrend.com/

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    1. Ha ha Jessica, the secret of bubbly look is Chutney that you like!! Thanks a lot!

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  11. I too love chutneys: coconut chutney, the green chutney(mint and coriander) are my favourites.

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    1. So next time I know where to head in Bangalore for a spicy chutney, Rachna:)

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    2. You are welcome Rahul. I have also learnt a new chutney made of curds and peanuts and green chillies. You can try that too.

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    3. Oh so yet another temptation awaits me! Thank you Rachna:)

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  12. Chutneys are mandatory for us... they add so much taste to a snack or a meal.
    The mother is so very smart :D

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    1. In Jaipur the food is nothing short of assorted chutney for the flavors and spice that one can get, and no surprise that you love chutney, Shilpa:)Thanks a lot!

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  13. MMMMhhhh... deliziosooo!!!
    Alessia
    THECHILICOOL
    FACEBOOK
    Video outfit YOUTUBE
    Kiss

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    1. Thanks Alessia, for enjoying the tangy taste:)

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  14. Chutney makes you lick your fingers, adds spice to bland, makes your meals memorable.... Yum!

    In a typical Bengali household, chutney is an essential for every meal. We make it with aam-pappad, dates, mangoes, tomatoes, green papaya....

    And now my taste buds are tingling. Damn!

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    1. That is the way to really enjoy the chutney Purba, and I know how Bengalis love them having been closely associated with them and with Kolkata, the foodie heaven:)

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  15. For me,it is only green chutney....Phudina Ki Chutney

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    1. Nothing to beat Pudhina chutney.. Mr Chowla! Agree:)

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  16. Yum yum post, chutneys certainly add that tangy flavor to the meal. My favorites are green and coconut though I'd like to taste the host of other varieties as well. Enjoyed reading the legends associated as well. :)

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    1. All of us enjoy chutney regardless of the place we hail from, Arti and my list of favorites keeps increasing with passage of time:)Thanks a lot!

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  17. Loved the joke at the end, well, have you heard about perandai chutney! It is a cactus in my garden and the chutney is medicinal and tasty!
    Enjoyed this post , only you can make any topic interesting!

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    1. Ha Ha .. Padmaja thanks for enjoying that joke and also adding value to this humble post by informing about perandai chutney made from cactus:) You are innovative at cooking as much as at painting!

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  18. I love chutny. My mom creates a mean mint chutney, sometimes with dhania. In summers, she has the great mango chutney, and chutney from onion leaves (whatever the pointy things are) etc. in winters. No doubt chutney can make the blandest of food come alive.

    The joke was awesome. I heard it from a colleague in 2011, and reading it reminded me of that office and the great guys there!

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    1. Everyone enjoys these, KK and lucky you are to enjoy those home made chutneys!

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  19. Hi,
    I didn't know about chutney in your country well. I usually relish "Fukujin-zuke"with curry. After reading your explanation,I realized that chutney is the same as fukujin-zuke. Fukujin-zuke is made by japanese radish, eggplant,ginger,bamboo shoot,soy sauce,vinegar etc.
    So I could learn about chutney, Thank you!
    Have a nice week ahead!

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    1. Wow! Yet another Japanese version 'Fukujin-zuke'! Thanks a lot Sarah for this additional knowledge of a delicacy:) Have a lovely week!

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  20. Hi Rahul, chutneys are indeed the perfect condiment to any type of dish. Its so rest that you mentioned Mrs Balls, fruit chutney is very popular here in SA, and chefs are constantly inventing new combinations. It was so interesting reading about the different types across the board. I only usually have a salsa verde - a green herby blend.

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    1. Thanks a lot Sam, and yes I did learn about the immense popularity of Mrs Balls chutneys in SA! Great to know that you enjoy the salsa verde- green herby blend! Must try that some time:)

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  21. Aaah a post on chutney. Spicy and refreshing. They carry a philosophy I think. A bit of spice and tanginess in your life to relish otherwise bland life

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    1. The spice of life in any form is always welcome, is'nt it!!Thanks a lot Bindu!

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  22. Mouthwatering post Rahul Ji. Chutneys always make a meal special :)

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    1. A big thanks and hope you keep enjoying all the flavors, Kusum:)

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  23. great insight into all sorts of chutneys---i think you are a foodie...there was one post about samosas,then dosas & now this--smile!!!!

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  24. Indu when you can teach so much about the solar system and health issues, I can at least share my two cents on food:) Thanks a lot!!

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  25. The tangy flavor got tangier with last two mentions. :)

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    1. Thanks a lot for the tangiest comment, Saru:)

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  26. Tamatar ki Chutney :)
    my fav of all.. now I'll tell my mum to make one instantly :P

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    1. Oh you too love Tamatar ki chutney:)Tomato prices have gone through the roof sigh!

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    2. and frequency of chutney has gone low :(

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    3. Don't worry post monsoon all will be well:)

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  27. I love chutney in sandwiches. Nice post.

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    1. Wow! This was great to find resonance in enjoying sandwiches with chutney :)

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  28. What an ode to my darling chutneys. Oh! i can kill for chuneys. I love them in almost every form.

    I never knew about the Mrs. HS Balls Chutneys. It's a great information for me.

    And yes that famous story at the end had been in circulation for a long time in the form of a forwarded email. :D

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    1. Welcome to my blog Preetilata! I am happy you enjoyed the post. Somehow, I got missed in the list of circulation of this story and had to recollect it from the past:) A big thanks !!

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  29. Thanks for your kind words, Have a wonderful weekend!

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  30. Chutney Is An Object That Can Create Or Destroy The taste Of Any Food.
    For Indian It Is part Of Culture.
    Even The Poor People Use To Eat It With Bread,For Them It Is There Vegetable & Not Lesser Than Any Dish Of Paneer.

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  31. Nothing like mothers home made mango chutney. I belong to UP and grew up on dal chawal chutney. Different interesting chatpati post, Rahul.

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    1. I think this in one thing I share with you totally, growing up eating dal, chawal and chutneys as my background is much the same, Alka! Thanks a lot:)

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  32. A very interesting and informative post about chutneys. I have yet to come across a person who does not like chutneys. I can take mango chutney with any thing (even with idli and dosa)

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    1. Thanks a lot Ushaji and yes mango chutney goes with anything:)

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  33. Woah, so much of an analysis about Chutney ;-). Anyway as a South Indian, we have so many different varieties of Chutneys, one for every dish. Coconut chutney, Tomato, Onion, Tamarind, Bottle Gourd, Pudhina, Coriander and what not :-). Glad to have tasted them all. Each one is unique and goes well for a particular dish.

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    1. Ashwini, I am equally a fan of all south Indian food including chutneys and could dedicate many posts singing paeans :) Blessed you are, to enjoy them all and wish you enjoy even more flavors!

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  34. Mmm... a real chutney is delicious!

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  35. The post has given me some food cravings Rahul ha ha...Interesting info and the anecdote was amusing!

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    1. Thanks a lot, Jaishree for taking time off to read my posts!Hope you had something yummy after reading the post:)

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