What is Mint Chutney?

Mint leaves.

Mint chutney is a classic East Indian dish that can be prepared fresh or made ahead of time and refrigerated. It is a staple of East Indian cuisine because of mint’s digestive properties. There are many variations on the recipe, but the most basic ingredients are mint, cilantro and lemon juice. This spicy chutney can be used with many types of dishes, adding a unique and complex flavor.

Chutneys can be made with mango.

The mint chutney recipe usually involves adding mint, cilantro, pepper and lemon juice to a blender and blending until you get a smooth liquid. In Indian cuisine, tamarind paste or vinegar can replace lemon juice. One of the key elements of creating mint chutney is having fresh ingredients and a balance of sweet, salty and sour elements.

Mint and raita chutney made with creamy yogurt and fresh herbs are often served with Indian curry.

Mint is often associated with pork, but mint chutney can be used with a variety of foods. In addition to complementing pork, it can serve as a condiment for other meats, such as chicken or veal. It can also add a spicy element to vegetarian meals such as tari aloo or palak paneer. Mint chutney itself is sometimes served alone with fried and baked Indian breads such as paratha and nan.

Grilled lamb chops are often served with mint chutney or jam.

The mint herb in chutney is a popular digestive. Many Indian dishes usually end with some sort of digestif, including the popular stuffed leaves known as paan. Mint contains chemicals that act as anti-inflammatory and analgesic agents, also called pain relievers. While the effects are mild compared to over-the-counter medications, they still have some benefits.

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The basic mint chutney recipe can be easily modified to create a wide range of variations that can be used in almost any situation. The fundamental recipe itself can be toned down with less mint so it can be used on white fish. It can be enriched with hot peppers to be used in meat. More lemon juice or vinegar can be added to create a marinade for meats. It can also have seasonings added, such as ground coriander or cumin, and then quickly fried to make a sauce for heavier cooking.

There are many types of chutneys available, not just mint. Chutneys can also use fruits like mango and pear. There are herbal chutneys made from ingredients like cilantro. The list of possible chutneys is as diverse as Indian cuisine itself.

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