By entering the Oxford Dictionary as one of the first Indian food items, Chutney became a name to reckon with worldwide, but for scores of Indians, it has been an everyday essential since time immemorial. Now the question arises, what constitutes a chutney? Chutney can be called one of India’s most iconic condiments, but no two chutneys ever look alike. They can be coarse, smooth, pounded, red, green, purple, dry, wet and so much more. You can blend any two ingredients together and serve them as chutney in India. Sounds easy? It is really not.

The art of making chutney goes back centuries in time. Several amusing equipments are used to make chutneys like the sil batta, which is a combination of two stones that are used to pound the chutneys. Despite the advent of advanced food processors, many choose to use sil batta to get authentic flavours. Then there are ingredients, some utterly refreshing like mint and coriander that are used to make our summer favourite pudine ki chutney, and some as bizarre as red ants. No matter what the ingredients are, the results are almost always delish. Here are certain chutneys that you would only find in India.  

1. Red Ant Chutney

Also called Chaparh. This hot and zingy chutney is made by crushing red ants and their eggs with ginger, garlic, chillies and salt. This sharp chutney is a delicacy among the tribal people of Bastar. Dare to eat or pass?  

2. Baingan Ki Chutney

This rustic chutney that looks like a darker cousin of Hummus is truly one of a kind. Eggplants are mashed and mixed with oil, chillies and tomatoes to make this thick and luscious chutney that can be paired with any bread. You do not even require any gravy or curry when you have this chutney.  

3. Bhang Ki Chutney

A chutney that can get you high. This Pahadi special side-dish is made of crushing cannabis leaves and flowers and mixing them to make a semi-thick, paste-like chutney. Fascinated much, aren’t you? 


4. Plastic Chutney

This completely edible and delicious chutney is popular in Bengal for its appearance. It is yellowish, orange in colour, translucent just like plastic. In terms of consistency, it resembles a jam and it is made of papaya. It is a mild chutney that can spruce up any of your meals. You can find the recipe below.

5. Major Grey’s Chutney

India and British may have had an infamous association for more than 200 years during the time the British ruled the subcontinent, but there are many legends that speak volumes of the British fascination for Indian food. Major Grey’s chutney is a mild relish that was supposedly created by a 19th-century British official. It was also packaged and sold like hot cakes in Britain.  

Aren’t these chutneys absolutely mind-boggling in their own right? How many of these chutneys have you tried or would like to try? Have we missed out on more quirky chutneys? Do feel free to add to the list.