The word chutney has not only traversed borders, it has endured ample wear and tear and come to bear diverse connotations and uses. When it’s sealed in the glass sleeves of a Major Grey’s in this neck of the woods, it refers to the fruity, pulpy, gelatinous stuff that is packed and sealed, in the typical vein of jams and preserves. When poured out of a blender container spout into a bowl, then spread like a green carpet in between toasts, it refers to the most beloved and versatile of all Indian chutneys, mint and coriander. When fleshed out from warmed-over apricots and served up with bobotie, it becomes the balmy ol’ blatjang. When squeezed and pressed from soaked tamarind and concocted with jaggery into a honey-textured, tangy syrup, it tops fiery chaats. When ground and heated through in a kadhai with flavorful seasonings until a thin ring of oil gathers around the green, red or creamy mass circumferentially, it refers to the glorious, spicy relish that goes with rotis and rice. When roasted with coconut, fried channa dal, chillies and cilantro, it plops down without a flap, diligently ceding to the dunking of idlis and dosas. When stirred up with raisins and fruit medleys, with winks of spices and fennel, it completes a seven-course Bengali meal. To honor this traditional condiment used in countless ways – as a dip, a side, a main gravy, a topper, a shy slip between layers of breads – we’re putting out a colorful Chutney Chow-down, so join in and find out just how!
Green Chard Chutney
1 Bunch of Chard (this recipe works well with Collard too), cleaned and chopped into chunks
1/2 Tablespoon light olive oil (plus 1 tablespoon to fry the ground chutney)
1/2 Teaspoon each of mustard, fenugreek (methi), fennel (saunf – optional) and cumin
2-3 Green Chillies or according to heat preference
4-5 Cloves of Garlic, smashed or chopped roughly
A handful of peanuts
Salt to taste
A hint of brown sugar
1-2 Teaspoons aamchur (dried mango powder)
A few drops of light olive oil
1/4 Teaspoon mustard
1/2 Teaspoon urad dal (optional)
1-2 Red chillies (optional)
Warm the oil in a separate pan and season with the above, to top the chutney.
Heat the oil in a pan and throw in the seasonings, once they splutter, add the garlic, green chillies and peanuts, fry until they cook up. Add the chopped greens, stir in and cook covered for about 6-8 minutes or until the greens have wilted and the stems appear slightly translucent. Cool down, add the salt, sugar and aamchur and grind in your blender with very little water.
Warm 1 tablespoon oil in a kadhai and add the ground chutney and cover immediately, allowing it to cook on a low flame for 10 minutes, with occasional stirring to avoid burning. The Chutney at this point is rather volatile, so covering with a lid is the best way to keep from getting scalded by the sputtering. The Chutney will have cooked down considerably by the end of the 10 minutes, and the oil starts gathering around it, leaving the sides of the kadhai easily.
Top with the seasoning and serve hot with rice and a dollop of ghee, if you so please.
We’re sharing our Chutney Chow-down with –