Mango chutney is a side dish that is predominantly served in the South-Asian region. It is a simple tasty sauce that is made from mangoes and which can be cooked or raw, wet or dry, smooth or coarse, sweet, spicy, salty and sour in taste.
History of Mango Chutney
There is no limit to the actual variety of chutney recipes that are cooked in India, Sri Lanka and other South Asian countries. The exact origin of the Mango chutney cannot be ascertained as there are many methods that are used to prepare the dish. But the basic reason why the dish is cooked is to preserve mangoes for consumption during the off season. Mangoes are a seasonal fruit that are available only during the peak summer season in India and South Asia. To preserve the fruit, mangoes are dried raw or cooked with sugar, salt, and spices to make them last longer. This was a traditional method for cooking fruit to preserve it for use and for shipping. In the 17th century, mangoes were considered a rare tropical fruit that were shipped to England and France as luxuries. As the fruits would not last long, chutneys containing the cooked fruit with vinegar and sugar become very popular. This same method of cooking fruit spread all over Britain resulting in chutneys that were much milder and had raisins in them to increase sweetness. Traditionally, Asian mango chutney does not contain oil or raisins. Cooked mango or papaya chutneys are also common in the Caribbean Islands as well as in South Africa.
Ingredients and Popular Methods of Preparation of the Mango Chutney
The exact recipe will vary from cook to cook. Gujaratis and Punjabis prepare a very sweet version with either raw or ripe mangoes. The raw Mango chutney recipe varies considerably from the cooked version. Raw mangoes are dried with salt to draw out the water and then simmered in a chili, turmeric, and jaggery base to create the sweet sour taste. The mangoes may be cut or grated to create the raw Mango chutney. A version is also made from ripe mangoes. Ripe mangoes are squeezed to make the pulp as liquid as possible. Then a small hole is made in the skin of the mango and the pulp is squeezed out. A hot mustard seed, and chili oil mix is then poured on top. The raw Mango chutney can be stored for a long time but the ripe Mango chutney has to be consumed immediately. In South India, several spicy and sweet versions are prepared.
Serving and Eating Mango Chutney
Mango chutney is usually served with every meal as an accompaniment or a side dish. Different versions of the Mango chutney recipe have now become very popular in the US and are served with roast lamb, roast pork or roast chicken. There are several commercial brands of Mango chutney too that are sold at international markets.
The exact nutritional value of the dish will be stated on the nutritional label of commercial brands. Usually, a single serving of sweet Mango chutney will contain about 35 calories.