Times when chutneys had not yet been discovered, when people were deprived of the most devouring delicacies, when no snack could have been able to achieve its full potential, was undoubtedly hard. 

Imagine being presented the best amongst the rest and still feeling missing an essential part of it. WIthout chutney, no snack sits, right? Does it?

And so, to celebrate the essence and importance of chutneys in our daily lives, I bring to you chutneys from around the nation.

source: The Better India

The Humble Chutneys Of India

Without seeking an ounce of credit, go all out for the dishes’ refinement. Even after devouring the dishes and having the time of our lives (thanks to chutneys), we do not give it enough credit. 

Although stuck at the margin of the platter and underestimated as ‘just a topping’, the fact remains that chutney is the real deal. 

To understand all that chutneys have done for us, we first need to go back in time and look at their origin.

Origin Of The Backbone Of Dishes

Almost all sorts of foods claim to be the first to have partnered with chutneys. From rice and idli to chaat to a sweet dessert, all acknowledge the power chutneys hold over making or breaking a dish. 

The word itself seems to have come from a Sanskrit word, ‘chaatni’ meaning ‘to lick’, and stays true to its meaning to date. We can never deny the ‘finger licious-ness’ of chutneys. 

Being the most prominent part of India’s culinary treasure, chutneys came into being through various methods according to varying sources. 

Emperor Shah Jahan And Chutney

According to one such source, 17th century’s Mughal emperor Shah Jahan’s hakims advised him to indulge in flavory and spicy things that could be easily digested, for he was quite ill. 

emperor Shah Jahan

This led to the invention of chaat, constituting pulses and lentils, with a dash of coriander, in addition to mint and tamarind chutney.

chaat and chutney

Made up of mint, cumin, coriander, flax seeds, garlic, dry ginger, and many more ingredients, chutneys are power packs of micronutrients and act as antacids (source: Shah Jahan’s hakims).

Earlier Presence Confirmed

Despite the close association of chutney and chaat, the presence of chutneys way before chaat’s discovery cannot be refuted, according to food historian Pushpesh Pant. 

He has reasons to believe that chutneys may be the oldest food in human history. He said, “It was most likely ‘invented’ by our hunting-gathering ancestors by accident, maybe even before cooking transformed our eating habits. Crushed berries, fruit and leaves, seeds and nuts render whatever we put in our mouth tastier and slowly become a habit or preference.”

Colonies And Chutneys

Apart from the above said, the colonial past has also been suggested as a means of origin. Bengal’s tomato chutney, inspired by the British jams and marmalades, came into being in this manner. 

For the affluent, dry fruits were incorporated in chutneys to give them a touch of refinement and class. Various socio-economic reasons also came into play.

Read More: British Professor Calls Idli Boring, Indian Twitter Unites, Shashi Tharoor Also Reacts

Limited Resources And Misogyny

Limited access to resources led to the consumption of chutneys made out of flowers native to that area. A great source of carbohydrate and protein, chutney, in its varying forms, became the staple of the nation. 

Interestingly enough, chutney also symbolizes India’s misogyny. With movies being made on chutney (some going as far as putting the word as their title), it came to indicate a housewife’s worth.

movies reflecting deep misogyny

This points towards the deep connection between patriarchy and chutney. Let me explain.

Generally, women eat after the entire family has been fed, and by that time, more often than not, there’s barely any food on the table. And so, chutney, in the form of a quick side dish, started being prepared during every meal.

A step towards sustainability perhaps, generations of women in India have taken to serving chutneys with the main course. Chutney not only enhances the overall flavor but also becomes a source of sustenance and satisfaction along with curbing hunger.

That being said, I bring to you some of the most famous, mouth-watering, finger-Licious chutneys of India.

Coconut Chutney

Good For heart and weight loss has saturated fats but most of it is MCT (Medium Chain Triglycerides) which promote weight loss, and The high fiber content along with high lauric acid content improves cholesterol levels in the body

Tomato Chutney

Great source of antioxidant that has many health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and cancer, and contains vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K

Peanut Chutney

excellent plant-based source of protein and high in various vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds, helps in weight loss, and reduces risk of both heart disease and gallstones

Coriander Chutney

helps lower blood sugar, Rich in immune-boosting antioxidants, benefits heart health, protects brain health, promotes digestion and gut health, fights infections, protects your skin

Tamarind Chutney

antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protects against diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, helps lower blood sugar, helps to lose bodyweight and reverses fatty liver disease

Mint Chutney

Is Rich in Nutrients, Improves Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Helps Relieve Indigestion, Improves Brain Function, Decreases Breastfeeding Pain, Subjectively Improves Cold Symptoms, Masks Bad Breath

Onion Chutney

Is Packed With Nutrients, Benefits Heart Health, Is Loaded With Antioxidants, Contains Cancer-Fighting Compounds, Helps Control Blood Sugar, Boosts Bone Density, Has Antibacterial Properties, Boosts Digestive Health

Chilli Chutney

supports the immune system, combats chronic diseases, and Prevents heart ailments

Mango Chutney

Antioxidant, Boosts Immunity, Supports Heart Health, Improves Digestive Health, Supports Eye Health, and Improves Hair and Skin Health

Chana Dal Chutney

Great for the Heart, strengthens Muscles and Immunity, prevents Diseases, maintains good Bones and Teeth, Lowers Blood Sugar, and Aids in Weight Loss

Pomegranate Chutney

Has Powerful Medicinal Properties, Anti-Inflammatory Effects, Helps Fight Prostate Cancer and Breast Cancer

Cabbage Chutney

Antioxidant, Good for Inflammation and Digestion, prevents heart disease, and Keeps Cancer Away

Garlic Chutney

Has Potent Medicinal Properties, Is Highly Nutritious, Combats Sickness, and Reduces Blood Pressure

Sesame Chutney

Lowers Cholesterol and Triglycerides, supports healthy bones, Lowers Blood Pressure, Reduces Inflammation, and aids blood cell formation

Carrot Chutney

keeps blood sugar levels under control, lowers diabetes risk, and maintains bone health

Radish Chutney

antioxidant, lowers blood pressure, reduces risk for heart disease, and improves blood flow

Beetroot Chutney

lowers blood pressure, improves exercise stamina, improves muscle power, slows progressing dementia, maintains health weight, and prevents cancer

Brinjal Chutney

antioxidant, reduces risk of heart diseases, controls blood sugar levels, and promotes weight loss

Sweet Potato Chutney

Antioxidant, protects the body from free radical damage and promotes a healthy gut and brain

Ginger Chutney

Antibacterial, calms nerves, soothes sore muscles, eases arthritis symptoms, curbs cancer growth, lower blood sugar, and eases period pains

Curry Leaves Chutney

Helps treat morning sickness, diabetes, diarrhea, dysentery, and nausea

Methods of preparation vary. So do tastes. But what remains common is the essence that binds our multicultural eating practices together. 

Let us know in the comment section below your favorite chutney and what do you like to eat it with.

Image Source: Google Images

Sources: Indian Express, Veg Recipes of India, The Better India

Find The Blogger: @evidenceofmine

This post is tagged under: India, yummy, chutneys, taste, delicacies, snacks, dishes, meals, food, nation, plate, side dish, refinement, platter, origin, topping, flavor, rice, idli, chaat, dessert, Sanskrit, culinary treasure, Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, hakims, digestion, flavory, spicy, invention, pulses, lentils, coriander, mint, tamarind, cumin, coriander, flax seeds, garlic, dry ginger, antacids, micronutrients, food historian, humans, earliest, edible, flora, fauna, ancestors, cooking, eating habits, crushed berries, fruits, leaves, seeds, nuts, Bengal, colonial past, tomato chutney, British, jams, marmalades, affluent, dry fruits, socio-economic, resources, carbohydrate, protein, staple, symbolize, misogyny, patriarchy, women, society, sustainability, main course, enhancer, source, sustenance, hunger, Coconut, Tomato, Peanut, Coriander, Tamarind, Mint, Onion, Chilli, Mango, Chana Dal, Pomegranate, Cabbage, Garlic, Sesame, Carrot, Radish, Beetroot, Brinjal, Sweet Potato, Ginger, Curry Leaves

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