Indian Condiments: Sauce and Chutney Recipes

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Indian cuisine, as a general category, is incredibly diverse (it’s a big country, after all), but still tasty. And Indian meals often include a plethora of condiments, sauces, pickles, and dips. Think of this as an introduction to some of the best Indian sauce, chutney, dip, and condiment recipes.

Growing up, I watched my Indian grandmother eat from a large stainless steel plate called a thali, filled with many small bowls of condiments.

As I got older, I asked myself questions, mainly: are several dips and sauces really necessary for each meal?

Eventually, I realized that they are, at least in Indian cuisine, where condiments are the ultimate personalization tool: with each bite, you can invite more sweetness, more heat, or more acid to the dish. party, making every bite of this lamb stew in front of you in a completely different experience.

The three main types of condiments in the Indian repertoire are chutneys, raitas, and relentless, or pickles.

Chutneys are fruit or vegetable relishes that can be either sweet and sour, spicy and sour, or both, usually preserved with an acid (citrus juice or vinegar).

Mango chutney

Mango chutney is probably the most famous chutney. As well as using it to accompany Indian dishes, try it with simple roasted meats like pork tenderloin or chicken, or spread one on a tuna curry sandwich. (Major Gray Chutney is a specific style of mango chutney that typically includes raisins.) This mango chutney recipe includes black seed for added flavor and texture.

Green chutney

India’s most ubiquitous spicy chutney is a fresh pesto-like blend of cilantro (sometimes paired with mint), lime juice, and green peppers. Try this Green Chutney recipe and use it on wraps, sandwiches, and anywhere you could use Peruvian aji verde or Argentinian chimichurri.

Tamarind chutney

Tamarind chutney (above) is the most popular sweet and sour chutney, often eaten with cat (i.e. Indian snacks) and samosas. Try this Tamarind Date Chutney recipe.

Tamicon Tamarind Concentrate, from Amazon. Try this sweet and sour tamarind paste as a base for your chutney. Buy now

Raitas are yogurt-based dips that contain vegetables or fruits and spices. They are used to cool extremely hot dishes and enhance flavors, especially in South Indian rice dishes, pulao and biryani. The most common raita are cucumber and cumin mint (try our cucumber yogurt sauce recipe for a similar flavor), but onion, apple and carrot are also frequent stars.

Achaar, or pickles, are fruits or vegetables preserved by simmering them in oil, sometimes with vinegar or citrus juice instead.

In the case of Indian pickles, the spiciness varies from mild to spicy, with some sweet or bittersweet notes; turmeric, fenugreek, and asafetida are common spices.

A major differentiator of the pickle is the type of oil used, which is usually a clue to the origin of the pickle: mustard oil in the north of India, sesame oil in the south.

Green mango (aam ka achaar) and lime (nimbu ka achaar) are the two most common Indian pickles. My favorite: A sweet and spicy sun-dried mango pickle from the western state of Gujarat called chundo (above), eaten with flatbread and yogurt.

With these hot, crisp, sour and / or refreshing options in front of you, you are ready to embark on your own very personal culinary adventure. Thali optional.


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