AskDefine | Define chutney

Dictionary Definition

chutney n : chopped fruits or green tomatoes cooked in vinegar and sugar with ginger and spices [syn: Indian relish]

User Contributed Dictionary



From the चटनी (chaṭnī).


  • /ˈtʃʌtni/ or /ˈtʃətni/


  1. A sweet or savory but usually spicy condiment, originally from eastern India, made from a variety of fruits and/or vegetables, often containing significant amounts of fresh green or dried red chili peppers.



Extensive Definition

Chutney (Urdu: چٹنی ) (British spelling) or chatni (Urdu, Hindi, Bengali or Tamil transliteration) is a term for a variety of sweet and spicy condiments, originally from the South Asia usually involving a fresh, chopped primary vegetable or fruit with added seasonings. Chutney, as a genre, is often similar to the Indian pickle and the salsa of Latin American cuisine, or European relish.
Chutney may be dry or wet; dry chutney is generally in the form of powder. In India, a chutney is often made to be eaten fresh, using whatever suitable strongly flavoured ingredients are locally traditional or available at the time. It would not normally contain preserving agents, since it is intended to be consumed soon after preparation. The Hindi translation of "to make chutney" is a common idiom meaning "to crush". This is because the process of making chutney often involves the crushing together of the ingredients.
The use of a stone mortar and pestle is often regarded as vital to create the ideal chutney. It consists of a small stone bowl (called a "kharal" or "khal" in Hindi, Tamil kal கல்), or a flat piece of stone (called a "sil") on which the ingredients are crushed together with a rounded stick of stone or wood (called a "batta", pronounced with a hard 't').
Chutney is more familiar in North America and Europe in a form that can be stored. To this end, vegetable oil, vinegar, or lemon juice are used to enhance the keeping properties.

Types of chutney

Many authentic chutneys contain significant amounts of fresh green chili peppers; the other main ingredient can be any of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Most vegetable chutneys are prepared cold in a blender, while many fruit chutneys do require cooking. Popular chutneys include:
In temperate countries, chutneys are sometimes made using local main ingredients such as apples, peaches or tomatoes.
American and European styled chutneys are usually fruit, vinegar and sugar, cooked down to a reduction.
Flavourings are always added to the mix. These may include sugar, salt, garlic, tamarind, onion, or ginger.
Spices most commonly include fenugreek, coriander, cumin and asafoetida (hing).
In South Africa there is a traditional commercial variety, Mrs Ball's Chutney, that is made with dried fruit.


The word chutney is derived from synonymous Persian chāshni (چاشنى) which has originated from Middle Persian Pahlavi of çāshnik, sharing the same root with other Persian words such as chāsht (چاشت) meaning a portion of food.


Beginning in the 1600 chutneys were shipped to European countries like England and France as luxury goods. Western imitations were called "mangoed" fruits or vegetables. In the nineteenth century, brands of chutney like Major Grey's or Bengal Club created for Western tastes were shipped to Europe.
Generally these chutneys are fruit, vinegar and sugar cooked down to a reduction.
The tradition of chutney making spread throughout the British empire, especially in the Caribbean and American South where chutney is still a popular condiment for ham, pork and fish.

Chutney by Indian region


  • Weaver, William Woys. "Chutney." Encyclopedia of Food and Culture. Ed. Solomon H. Katz. Vol. 1. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2003. 417-418. 3 vols.

External links

chutney in Danish: Chutney
chutney in German: Chutney
chutney in Spanish: Chutney
chutney in Esperanto: Ĉatnio
chutney in Basque: Chutney
chutney in Persian: چاشنی
chutney in French: Chutney
chutney in Hindi: चटनी
chutney in Dutch: Chutney
chutney in Japanese: チャツネ
chutney in Polish: Chutney
chutney in Portuguese: Chutney
chutney in Russian: Чатни
chutney in Slovenian: Chutney
chutney in Swedish: Chutney
chutney in Telugu: పచ్చడి
chutney in Urdu: چٹنی
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