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Popular Indian Chutneys from Different Regions of the Country

According to the June 2024 ranking of Taste Atlas, two Indian chutneys made it to the list of the world's 50 best dips. There’s more that India offers and so check out these Indian chutneys that are regional favourites.

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Srushti Pathak
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Indian Chutneys

Pakode ho ya chaat, chutney ke bina desi food is incomplete. Chutneys come in a variety of types, tastes, colours and flavours, reflecting the rich diversity of Indian regional cuisines. Recently, Indian chutneys received global recognition when they were featured among the 50 Best Dips in the World. The list was released by popular food and travel guide, Taste Atlas. 

Dhaniya Chutney & Mango Chutney for 2024

Two chutneys were ranked separately on the same list. At 47th place, we spotted the beloved and versatile coriander chutney (dhaniya chutney). Coriander chutney is one version of hari (green) chutney and has many varieties. At the last position (50th rank) on Taste Atlas's list is Indian mango chutney. As with the others, there is no single recipe for this chutney. As per the guide, "It is believed that the best mango chutney should have flavours that are sweet, sour, and slightly spicy."

So, to celebrate this, we bring you a list of the popular and traditional Indian chutneys that are from different regions in the country.

Coconut Chutney

A super simple yet delicious chutney, this one levels up dosas and idlis. It is a staple in the southern parts of India and can be found in any Udupi restaurants across the country. A good coconut chutney is fragrant, creamy and just a little bit nutty. However, it is not all about the coconut. It is about balancing the coconut with other flavours. The flavour that the roasted chana dal imparts to this chutney is earthy, nutty and just a little savoury. The tempering of hing, rai (mustard seeds) and chilies makes all the difference.

According to The Routledge History of Food (2015), it is thought to have been developed by a British officer who had travelled in India. “The formula was eventually sold to Crosse and Blackwell, a major British food manufacturer, probably in the early 1800s.” But ancient Indian texts, such as the Vedas and Thirukural, have recordings of rudimentary recipes calling for spices and vegetables ground together to form edible condiments. Chutney is said to be derived from the Hindi word “caṭnī” and the Northern Indian Urdu word “chaṭnī”, meaning to lick.

Red Ant Chutney

In the heart of Odisha's Mayurbhanj district, a unique culinary tradition has thrived for centuries. Locally known as 'Kai Chutney,' this savoury delight is crafted using red weaver ants and has received the Geographical Indication (GI) tag. The ants are infamous for their painful sting. The ants and their eggs are carefully gathered from nests, undergo a thorough cleaning process, and then become essential ingredients for the chutney. A blend of salt, ginger, garlic, and chilies is ground to perfection, creating the distinctive flavour profile of Kai chutney.

Local tribal families in Mayurbhanj have been sustaining themselves for generations by collecting and selling these remarkable insects and their flavourful chutneys. The savoury chutney is popular in the region for its healing properties and is also deemed important for the nutritional security of the tribal people. The scientists of OUAT Bhubaneswar analysed the red weaver ants and found it contains valuable proteins, calcium, zinc, vitamin B-12, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium, copper, amino acids, among others. Consuming the species can help boost the immune system and prevent diseases, according to experts.

Anardana Chutney

Imagine having the Kashmiri Noon chai with Girda or the local flatbread accompanied by this tasty Anardana chutney! A dish hailing from the state of Kashmir from high up in the Himalayas, this is known for its tangy sweet and spicy combination. The main ingredient is dry pomegranate seeds. It is eaten with a variety of Kashmiri breads made in traditional bakeries called kandurs. Lemon, dhaniya, onions, and tomatoes are common ingredients used to make this chutney.

Dried pomegranate seeds have been used in traditional medicine in Kashmir for centuries as they are said to help aid digestion, reduce inflammation, and improve heart health. This chutney has a balanced concoction of tanginess and spiciness and is usually served with the famous Jammu Rajma Chawal.

Lahsun Chutney

An essential accompaniment for any Rajasthani thali, Marwari or Rajasthani lahsun ki chutney (garlic chutney) is a staple in Rajasthan. This lahsun chutney is prepared in every household with different versions, and each version is tasty and delicious. The chutney is bright red in color, spicy, and quick and easy to make.

Garlic chutney pairs well with almost every kind of dish and does not spoil quickly. The classic combination of hot red chilies, tangy powders, and garlic, along with a plethora of spices, is what makes this chutney so tasty. Since access to most vegetables was limited in Rajasthan due to its geographical location and climate, chutneys and achaar are more common here.

Dry Prawns Chutney

The western coastline of India, from the Konkan region in Maharashtra all the way down to Kerala, has its own variation of this chutney. This dry powdered chutney is usually made with grated coconut, small onions or shallots, dry red chili, and dried prawns. It is typically eaten with white rice, ghee, and dal, or with steamed tapioca or cassava root.

The tradition of drying fish is a common practice around the coastal regions, as it preserves the catch and ensures availability throughout the year. The fish or prawns are salt-cured and sun-dried, giving them a unique umami flavor combined with sea salt.

Gunpowder Chutney

Podi, piping hot idlis and ghee make for a wonderful breakfast. This spice blend is not for the faint-hearted as it packs a punch with its fiery and intense flavour. This Indian chutney can be used to add a kick to your meals. The ingredients used in making Gunpowder or Podi can vary depending on the region and personal preference. However, some of the most common ingredients include urad dal, chana dal, til, dhaniya seeds, dry red chillies, kadipatta, jeera and hing.

The origins of this Indian chutney can be traced back to the kitchens of southern parts of India, where it was first created as a way to enhance the flavour of idlis and dosas. The spice blend was traditionally made by grinding together various lentils, spices, and herbs and was used as a substitute for wet chutneys and sambar. Over time, Gunpowder has become a staple condiment in southern Indian households.

Walnut Chutney

We all know about Himachali Siddu, but do you know about the walnut chutney that’s served alongside? This Akhrot ki chutney is a delicious and flavorful condiment made from walnuts, spices, and other ingredients.

It is quite unique from the regular chutneys found in India. Creamy from the ground walnuts, a hint of delicate spice to awaken the palate and herbs and a dash of lime for some freshness makes it special. This chutney can be wonderful on grilled meats, fritters or pakoras as well.

Shengdana Chutney

Solapuri peanut chutney, also known as shengdana chutney, is a delicious and flavourful condiment that is popular in the state of Maharashtra, India. This chutney is made with roasted peanuts, garlic, chilli, and spices, and it is a great accompaniment to a variety of dishes, including bread, rice, and vegetables. 

This peanut chutney originated in Solapur, a city in the Indian state of Maharashtra. The city is known for its rich culture, history, and food. The chutney is believed to have been invented by the local people as a way to add flavour to their meals. 

Gongura Chutney

Gongura Thokku, a spicy Gongura (sorrel leaf) chutney, is a very popular dish from the state of Andhra Pradesh. Its importance cannot be understated given that many people in the state refer to it as Andhra Matha (Mother Andhra). It's also used extensively in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka where it is referred to as Pulicha Keera and Pundi Soppu respectively. It makes for a tasty accompaniment to piping hot ghee rice.

These leaves taste sour and can help in alleviating symptoms of cold, cough and fever too. It also increases appetite since it is high in vitamin C. These leaves hold a special place in the Andhra cuisine especially in and around the Guntur region.

Prawns Chutney Red Ant Chutney Coconut Chutney Gunpowder Mango Chutney Dhaniya Chutney 50 Best Dips in the World Taste Atlas Indian chutney Indian chutneys