A sweet and sour sauce of Indian origin to be discovered: here is the classic recipe and three unusual to accompany meat, strong vegan dishes or cheeses
Originally from India, chutney is a sweet and sour sauce with spices, sugar, and vinegar, with the addition of fruit or vegetables, which has also arrived in Europe since the seventeenth century. Among the recommended spices the Indians mention cloves, garlic, coriander, mustard, cinnamon, ginger, cayenne pepper, and tamarind. But there are many variations of his recipe.
The traditional recipe for chutney
In our part of this sauce is not yet very widespread, while English and French make an almost inordinate use as an accompaniment to cheeses, meats, rice, vegetables, and various aperitifs. Moreover, the chutney can be both wet and dry, with coarse and fine consistency. The most famous is the mango chutney, which is prepared with minced such exotic fruit plus ginger, chili, and parsley, to which you can add garlic, cinnamon, raisins, and dates. The recipe calls for the use of a non–stick pan and above all that is not made of iron, brass or copper: the reason is that the acids present in the ingredients react badly with these substances and therefore the chutney risks assuming a metallic taste. For the same reason, we always recommend using wooden utensils.
One of the variants to be discovered, however, is that of coconut chutney. The ingredients we need are 250 grams of freshly grated coconut, 2 sweet green and one red chili, a tablespoon of fresh ginger and one of the toasted chickpeas, half a teaspoon of mustard seeds, 2 curry leaves, a tablespoon of oil of olive and salt. First, cut the green pepper into small pieces and grate the ginger; then blend everything together with the toasted chickpeas and a little water, until you get a creamy dough. In a pan with a drizzle of oil, toast the mustard seeds with the chopped red pepper and the curry leaves, remove from the heat and add to the coconut cream. Mix everything well, add salt and pour into a jar. The entire procedure takes about a quarter of an hour. Put the coconut chutney in the fridge and let it rest for a day before eating. The result (which could rightly also be called coconut chutney) is an ideal sauce for vegan dishes, such as lentil meatballs, or for rice patties: two excellent ideas for original and light appetizers.
The variant with mint and yogurt
For accompanying dishes with a rather strong flavor, instead, here is the chutney of yogurt and mint, refreshing and quick to prepare. They serve a white onion, a spicy green pepper, 150 grams of fresh mint, a pinch of cayenne pepper, 200 ml of plain yogurt, 3 tablespoons of coconut flour, three of milk and half a tablespoon of salt. First, you need to wash the mint, drain it and finely chop it. Do the same thing with the onion and the chili pepper and add all the mint. Meanwhile, the milk is heated apart. Soak the coconut flour for a quarter of an hour and when the milk is cold, it’s time to add the yogurt, salt, and pepper. Mix everything well and add all the other ingredients, until the mixture is well blended. Keep in the fridge for at least half an hour before bringing it to the table and here is a tasty variation of this sweet-and-sour sauce.
If you want to continue experimenting, the advice is finally to try the sesame chutney, ideal for meat dishes. To prepare it, get 40 grams of sesame seeds, 60 grams of coriander leaves, 3 green peppers, 3 tablespoons of lemon juice and a pinch of salt. First of all, toast the seeds in a pan until golden brown, then pour them into a mortar and crush them until they are pulverized. Pour the powder into a blender together with the coriander leaves, the peppers, the lemon juice, the salt and two tablespoons of water. Blend at low speed and your alternative chutney will be ready. In short, it is not yet widespread in Italy, but it will be enough to try it only once, with the right accompaniment, and this sweet and sour Indian sauce will also conquer our palates.