A Chutney


Chutney is foreign to my culture and the food i grew up with. Thus, the lack of sophistication and familiarity with chutney. So please forgive my misunderstanding. I often hear the buzzword on food cooking shows.

I'm curious as to what are the technical requirements of a chutney. What is and what isn't chutney? Also (correct me if i'm wrong), what is chutney and why is it often paired with other foods?

Best Answer

Basically, a chutney is a kind of savoury jam. This is a very simplistic definition though. The main differences between jam and chutney are as follows:

  • The preservation in jam is only by sugar. In chutney, vinegar and sugar are used together, so chutneys are not necessarily sweet.
  • Jam is almost always made with fruit as the main ingredient. In chutney,fruit can be used, but so can vegetables. Also, chutneys tend to be a mix of more than one thing. For example, an apple chutney will have plenty of apples, but also swede and onion in it.
  • Jams usually do not add other flavours to the fruit and sugar (pectin is for texture). Chutneys are usually flavoured with several spices, as well as chili peppers, onions and garlic.

In the Indian subcontinent, chutneys are served along with the meal in small amounts, as a condiment to add to the meal. They are usually eaten with the blander side/starter dishes like pakoras or samosas, rather than with the spicy and flavourful main dishes.

In the rest of the former British Empire, and particularly in England, it is eaten on bread, with butter or cheese, in a similar way to jam or pickle. Note that what the English call pickle is also a sort of savoury jam, not pickled cucumbers like in America.