Chutney (Dipping Sauce): We all know that vegetables and fruits are healthy but very few people know that even the humble chutney is very healthy.
Chutney is an expression applied to a host of spicy savors and condiments in Indian art of cookery. The term itself is an anglicized form of the Hindi word chatni which has its origins in the word chaat-na, “to lick”.
Chutney is a classic preparation of fruits, herbs, vegetables or legumes that originated over 6,000 years ago in eastern India to serve a dual function:
- To act as an accompaniment to food.
- To aid as a digestive
The zesty tang, or slightly sour taste, of many chutneys not only appeals to Indian tastes but also reflects traditions that suggest that eating something sour at each meal is good for one’s health. Mouth watering as they always are, chutneys, just like any other Indian recipe, have another side of healthiness, with nutrition speaking out from every angle. It helps in both, weight loss as well as reducing hyper-acidity, if eaten on a regular basis.
The distinct advantage of chutneys is the fact that it is made and served raw. This retains the enzymes which are very important for digestion.
The common ingredients used in chutney are:
- Ginger: A very good digestive aid and has been prescribed in Ayurveda to detoxify the liver.
- Tamarind (Imli): It is very frequently used in Indian chutney and is good to decrease the pitta/heat from the body.
- Aniseed (Saunf): It aids in digestion and has gas relieving properties which are good when you take heavy meals.
- Raw mango: Another food known for decreasing the pitta of the stomach. It should be frequently eaten in summer.
- Coriander (Dhania): A carminative herb, good for the kidneys and also known to be a cholesterol-lowering agent.
- Mint (Pudina): A very popular aromatic herb which facilitates digestion besides being a good mouth freshener.
- Garlic and Onions: They have over 30 active compounds (diallyl sulphide, quercetin and ajoene) which are potent antioxidants, anti-bacterial and anti-cancer agents. The anti-biotic capability of the onions and garlic is also beneficial because it works against H.pylori bacterium which causes stomach acidity.
- Amla (Indian Gooseberry): A known adaptogen, very popular because it has 50 times more vitamin C than found in oranges. The remarkable quality of this fruit is that it retains quantities of vitamin C even in the dried form.
- Fruits: They are frequently added to chutneys specifically the slightly sour fruits which are otherwise difficult to eat.
The only precaution about chutneys is that they should be made fresh as they turn toxic very fast. The ingredients chosen should be carefully selected and washed to prevent any infection from contaminating the chutney. Also, for storage, choose glass bowls to prevent the chutney from reacting with the metals.
By all accounts, chutneys are “hot” products, whether they’re savory and mild for the timid palate or the “fire” is turned up for more adventuresome consumers. There are myriad of recipes online that will help you Spice up your life!
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