This flavour enhancer si also known as chammanthi (Kerala), thecha (Maharashtra), pacchadi (Andhra Pradesh), thogayal (Tamil Nadu) and more.
No one can deny the fact that Indian cuisine is a burst if flavour and taste and when we talk about thali one thing that makes its presence irrespective to the state is the chutney. Be it your humble mango chutney or tomato chutney, Papaya, pinepaple or dhania pudina ki chutney or any there is no death of them in our cuisine. his finger licking delicious condiment, that lifts the taste of the dish also finds it’s presence in Mughal period as it’s said that once Mughal emperor Shah Jahan fell ill and his hakims recommended him to eat a dish something that is spicy and flavourful and also thus chaat was invented but even this dish was laden with some spicy mint and coriander chutney and sweet-sour date and tamarind chutney.
Bursting with flavours this condiment has never seen the main course importance in a meal but it’s also something one cannot do without. Interestingly the word “chutney” itself come from the Hindi word "catni" which means to lick and this dish baata and aumbole pre-dated the Raj, and served many purposes — to aid digestion, cool the body and use food parts that would otherwise go to waste. baata and aumbole pre-dated the Raj, and served many purposes — to aid digestion, cool the body and use food parts that would otherwise go to waste. baata and aumbole pre-dated the Raj, and served many purposes — to aid digestion, cool the body and use food parts that would otherwise go to waste. Indian words and phrases describes chutney (spelled “chutny”) “a kind of strong relish, made of a number of condiments and fruits, etc, used in India, and more especially by Mahommedans, and the merits of which are now well known in England.” Chutney’s were also the dish which never got bad in short period of time and this Indian technique of preserving food was even adopted by the Romans. Do you know that you'll also find chutney in the Caribbean and Africa? During the colonial era it’s said that the British took tis chutney preparation home and from then onwards it further spread. Also during this time the concept of chutney changed, and mango chutney was made commercially and was called ‘Major Grey's chutney' (who must been a mythical colonial British officer who loved curries and made his own chutneys).
Served with most meal, this one is always served in small quantities to supplement other items that are there in the meal and like acchar this one see “rasa”, or basic taste that might be missing from the plate otherwise. The simplest form of chutney was made with crushing various ingredients on a mortar pestle or grinding stone. This humble condiment has taken years to evolve and be what it is today. Also food historians believe that, the sweet chutneys from Bengal could have been probably inspired by British jams and marmalades. Most times chutneys were made using all the indigenous vegetables or flowers that are available in the region like the red ant chutney in Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Jharkhand or Assam and more.
Talking about the texture of chutney it’s mostly smooth or chunky and mostly consumed cold. This flavour enhancer in the due course of time has almost become to be used as an umbrella term for the various types of chammanthi (Kerala), thecha (Maharashtra), pacchadi (Andhra Pradesh), thogayal (Tamil Nadu) and others too. This dish that existed pre-British era was eaten in the form of baata or aumbole and also served to help in digestion, cool the body and along with sustainable use of food parts that would otherwise go to waste.
Whatever the taste of texture or ingredient used these humble condiments surely has made it’s presence visible on the plate in a much better bigger way.