Chutney’s are staple food in Southern India. Chutneys can be made with a variety of vegetables. Mix n match a wide variety of vegetables, nuts, seeds and nuts to make rich, enticing, exquisite chutney. Aromatic spices with vegetables, nuts in tampering makes chutney ultimately delicious and healthy. Chutney is loaded with iron, vitamins and antioxidants as they are made of a unique blend of vegetables, nuts, seeds and oils. Traditionally, in olden days, vegetables were cooked in spices and crushed with the hand in a mortar pestle.
Chutney is usually consumed with rice with ghee poured on top. Lately, with low carb consciousness, people prefer to eat chutneys as homemade dips for tortilla chips, pita chips, south Indian snacks as sakinalu, janthikalu and karappusa. Asparagus chutney makes an excellent all-natural condiments too. Chutneys are one of the easiest recipes to make. Chutney can be made with little less effort and a handful of fresh ingredients. Secret for perfect chutney is balanced amount of vegetables, chillies, salt and a sour agent usually tamarind. Optionally jaggery can be added. Salt, chillies, sourness and sweet blends into a unique tasty dish. Check out few home-made all natural chutney recipes here.
In authentic South Indian meal, a series of dishes are consumed in a particular order. First item is pickle, chutney is the next item. Traditional south Indian meal items include rice, a spice powder (podi), pickle, chutney, dry vegetable curry, a vegetable gravy curry, dal (lentils), rasam, yogurt and lastly dessert.
What is Chutney in South Indian cuisine?
There are several definitions and recipes of chutney in western and other cuisines. In South Indian cuisine, Chutney can be described as a spicy condiment or relish with spicy, tangy, sweet flavors, made of ground vegetables, mixed in spices. Chutney can be spicy or sweet with a little jaggery. A few every day south Indian chutney’s are coconut, mint, tomato, onion, peanut, green chili, ginger, ridge guard, bottle guard, bitter guard etc.
Nutrition facts of Chutney:
Since chutneys are made out of fresh vegetables, mixed with a variety of spices, it is loaded with flavor, nutrients, and taste. The process of lightly roasting vegetables before grinding preserves most nutrients. According to eatingwell.com, Asparagus is a very good source of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as chromium, a trace mineral that enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells. It can help fight cancer, as it is packed with antioxidants etc.
Fresh, green asparagus is one of the most crowd-pleasing vegetables and is very versatile. They can be consumed raw, steamed, roasted, grilled and sautéed. They come in different colors and sizes: green, white and purple, thick and thin. Green asparagus is most commonly available in America. For chutney, green and thin asparagus gives the best texture to the chutney. Thick asparagus has tough fiber skin at ends which cannot be ground to the fine chutney. Fiber makes it uncomfortable to eat. If you can’t find thin asparagus, make sure you cut tough ends of asparagus bottoms. If the thick woody skin is beyond bottom, peeling skin with a peeler is next best solution. Do not discard excess. At any cost, do not discard shooting tips of asparagus. They are the most nutritious parts.
- 2 cups - asparagus. Do not discard tips. Cut 1-2 inches of fiber bottom side of stems and discard.
- ½ cup - fresh mint leaves - optional
- 3-5 green chilies. Substitute with any other chilies you have. Use appropriately depending on pepper's spice level.
- 4-5 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp - tamarind juice. If you don't have tamarind, you can use lemon or lime juice.
- 4 tbsp your favorite oil. I used coconut oil.
- 1 tsp - urad dal (black gram/lentils) - optional
- 1 tsp - cumin
- ⅓ tsp - black mustard seeds
- 2 sprigs curry leaves
- ⅓rd tsp turmeric powder
- Cilantro to garnish
- In a small pot, pour 2 tbsp oil. Heat to medium.
- Add cumin. Fry until golden brown.
- Add green chilies, garlic cloves, mint, and asparagus.
- Close lid and cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Add salt. Stir and close the lid. If you see water, cook without lid till all water evaporates. Turn off. Let it cool.
- Add asparagus mixture. Lightly pulse few times. Add tamarind juice or lemon juice. Pulse 1-2 more times. Do not grind to fine paste. Leave a bit chunky. Remove into a bowl.
- Now, prepare to tamper. Pour 2 tbsp oil in a pot. Heat to medium-high.
- When hot, add mustard seeds. When they start spluttering, add cumin. Cook until golden brown.
- Add black lentils. Fry until golden brown.
- Add curry leaves. When they stop spluttering, add turmeric powder. Turn off the stove.
- Add tampering to chutney while it is still hot. Deglaze tampering pot with little chutney.
- This chutney will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 1 week. Use it for as many meals within a week.
- Serve immediately with black rice or quinoa or brown rice and enjoy.