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CHUTNEY ORIGINS

 

The original chutney of India (Hindi: chatni) was usually a relish made from fresh fruits and spices. During the colonial era the British took it home (along with curry dishes) to their Island, and thence to their other colonial possessions, including South Africa and the Caribbean Islands. During this long journey the concept changed, until the commercially made mango chutney 'Major Grey's chutney' became the British standard chutney. Major Grey is a probably mythical colonial British officer who loved curries and made his own chutney to accompany them (no one has a copyright on his name - anyone can use it). These commercially made cooked chutneys are still popular in Great Britain, and are usually made of fruit (usually mangos, apples or pears), onions and raisins simmered with vinegar, brown sugar and spices for about two hours.

Chutneys are served with almost every meal in India, especially as relishes with curries, but also as sauces for hot dishes (especially meats). They can be fresh or cooked, and are made from a wide variety of ingredients. They range in flavor from sweet or sour, spicy or mild, or any combination of these; they can be thin or chunky and can be made with fruits or vegetables or both. Mangos,  apples, pears, tamarind, onions, lemon, tomato, raisins, coconut, vinegar, sugar, honey, citrus peel, garlic, ginger, mint, turmeric, cinnamon, cilantro, and hot chilies are some of the ingredients used. (Not all together!)

Cooked mango or papaya chutneys are common in the Caribbean, and chutneys are also widely used in South Africa. They have become increasingly popular in the U.S., especially with the rise in popularity of Caribbean curries.
 

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