Life Would Be Bland Without Chutney!

Roselle chutney

Chutneys are so much part of our food that we seem to be able to make anything and everything into chutney!:) And they definitely do their part of what they were created for. For the punch and the zing, and that bit of extra that makes a meal so much better! The pictures of the roselle and tomato chutney were made some time ago. I’m glad I had the pictures and can share them today.

Several chutneys are made from raw ingredients, the most popular being the ones made from mint and coriander. A few spices are added to the herbs and blended/ground together. A little bit of tang is added and that comes from fruits like lemons, tamarind, or green unripe mangoes. And talking about mangoes, they can be peeled and grated. A bit of sugar, salt, chopped mint leaves, chopped green chillies with a dash of mustard oil is a popular during the mango season. I mean the season before the mangoes ripen. Pomelos and pineapples are also consumed the same way. With diced pineapples, the mustard oil can be omitted. Instead, freshly squeezed lemon juice works wonders!

Roselle/Hibiscus sabdariffa
Ingredients that go into making tomato chutney
Tomato chutney with raisins and dried apricots

Tomato chutney is very popular in our region. This is a combination of sweet and sour tastes. Most of the tomatoes here are acidic so sweeteners in the form of sugar or jaggery are added. The other spices that go into it are panch puran, coriander and cumin powder, red chilli powder and turmeric. A dash of salt and dried fruits like raisins, dates, and apricots completes the dish. The last two dried fruits are soaked and pitted before adding to the chutney. Panch puran means five spices and is a combination of equal parts of fennel, cumin, fenugreek, mustard, and nigella seeds. The roselle chutney in the first photo was made in the same way but without the addition of dried fruit.

Smoked meat (above) and teasle gourd with fermented fish(below)

Apart from all these, we are also very fond of the pungent chutneys that we Dimasas make. The most common one known as Naplam shapinyaba is made by roasting fermented fish and green chillies. These are mashed together with the addition of chopped onions, a pinch of soda bicarb, salt, and any fresh herb in season. Coriander, serrated coriander, basil, and the leaves of the chameleon plant are hot favourites. Sometimes steamed or boiled vegetables like egg-plants, banana flowers, hyacinth beans, or teasle gourds (shown in the collage) are added.Teasle gourd/Momordica dioica also known as Spiny gourd and hangathai in my mother tongue. 

The first photo in the collage shows smoked meat chutney. Smoked pork is lightly grilled and shredded into a bowl. Then finely sliced onions, roasted and diced chillies are added. A bit of salt and fresh herbs are all mixed together with a drizzle of mustard oil.
It so happens that some of the easiest things to make can also be the tastiest!!!

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