Mint Cilantro Chutney
The smell of mint and cilantro in my kitchen is one of my favorite things in the summer when making a big batch of this bright green Indian chutney. Loaded with spicy jalapenos, mint, cilantro (also known as coriander), lemon juice, and garlic, it might just be my “everything” sauce! I mean, literally everything — if you’re familiar with popular Indian dishes you’ve probably seen chutney with naan, chapati, parathas, dosas, and chaat, an umbrella term for savory Indian snacks. Most chaats typically feature a fried component such as samosas or pakoras, boiled or raw vegetables, and a combination of chutneys that provide immense flavor and freshness to a dish that is inherently starchy. Try this delicious chutney for yourself and pair it with my Deconstructed Samosa recipe! Traditional green chutney for chaat is usually made with seasonal ingredients such as raw mangoes and mint and is meant to preserve the mangoes for consumption during the offseason, but my chutney recipe is made with fresh ingredients that you can find in any season and it tastes just like traditional chutney!
This green chutney is the star ingredient in another Indian street food classic, the green chutney sandwich, perhaps better known as the Bombay chutney sandwich. These satisfying sandwiches are simply made with slices of soft white bread, thinly sliced vegetables, and a whole lot of mint cilantro chutney spread generously on each slice.
Add this simple but flavorful recipe to your repertoire of sauces and you’ll be reaching for it every time you need to elevate a dish. The best part — besides the taste! — is that this chutney is super freezer-friendly, so you can enjoy it for months to come.
Mint Cilantro Chutney
- Cuisine: Indian, Chutney, Savory, Basic, Diwali, Dips, Gluten Free, Keto, Paleo
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Servings: 3
- 2 green jalapenos (seeds and pits removed, keep seeds for more heat, if desired)
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves (packed)
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves (packed)
- 3 teaspoons lemon juice (adjust to taste)
- 1 clove garlic (small, optional)
- 1/4 cup water (start with less and keep adding to your preferred consistency)
- Salt (to taste)
In the cup of a food processor, add the jalapenos, mint leaves, cilantro leaves, lemon juice, garlic, water, and salt, and blend the chutney until smooth.
Refrigerate in a small airtight container or Mason jar for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months then thaw and consume.
WHAT IS CHUTNEY AND WHAT DOES IT TASTE LIKE?
Chutney originated over 2,000 years ago on the Indian subcontinent in the form of a sauce or paste made from fresh ingredients and was created with the intention of extending the shelf life of produce, according to DesiBlitz.com. Chutney was eventually adopted by the Roman and British empires and then further made popular by the American and Australian colonies, where it flourished as a commercial product sold in jars. Today, you can find creative chutney variations made from coconut, mint, peanut, tomato, mango, tamarind, and a wide variety of spices, and they can be sweet or hot, tangy, smooth, or somewhat chunky. If you’ve ever been to an Indian buffet, you’ll find many other varieties of chutney appearing as sauces, dips, and side dishes.
Green chutney is a quintessential accompaniment to so many dishes in an Indian household. It is primarily made with cilantro (also known as coriander or dhaniya) and mint (also known as pudina), which are both believed to aid in digestion. It is then paired with chilis, acid, and garlic, resulting in a cool and refreshing condiment ideal for savory dishes. Another popular chutney worth mentioning is called tamarind (imli) chutney, which is the perfect combination of sweet and tart, giving a ton of balance and flavor to savory appetizers. It’s usually made with jaggery, unrefined sugar that is sold in blocks, black salt (a sulfurous-smelling salt), tamarind paste, and spices such as ground ginger, fennel, cumin, and sometimes garam masala. Mint cilantro chutney and tamarind chutney are usually served together and are the most popular chutneys out there.
INGREDIENTS IN MINT CILANTRO CHUTNEY
- Jalapenos: If you prefer a spicier chutney, feel free to add another ½ of a jalapeno in addition to the 2 listed in this recipe.
- Fresh Mint & Cilantro Leaves: Try to remove as much of the stems as possible and use only the leaves, as blending stems can cause the sauce to have a bitter taste. Rinse these greens well to remove all the dirt.
- Lemon Juice: Adjust for a brighter flavor; adding lemon also slows down discoloration of the green pigment in mint and coriander, keeping it a lighter green color.
- Garlic: Garlic is optional but recommended for a sharp kick.
- Water: I use ¼ cup water total in this recipe to get it going in the blender, but I recommend starting with 2 tablespoons and increasing the amount slowly until you get your preferred consistency. It should be a paste and not be runny.
EASY TIPS FOR MAKING MINT CILANTRO CHUTNEY
- If you find that the chutney has become too spicy from adding extra jalapenos, add 1/3 cup silken tofu or vegan unsweetened yogurt (I like coconut yogurt for this). These add-ins will also make the sauce creamier.
- To make the chutney thicker, add ½ a tablespoon of ground roasted peanuts or cornflour.
- Leave the cilantro out if you want a stronger mint flavor.
- Add up to 1 tablespoon of shredded coconut to give the chutney hints of coconut flavor.
- When blending, you may need to stop the blender or food processor a few times and scrape down the sides to ensure a smooth result. Be sure to leave a little bit of texture in the chutney.
HOW TO STORE AND FREEZE MINT CILANTRO CHUTNEY
Eat some, freeze some! During the summer when mint is growing wild in my garden, I like to make large batches of this chutney, store it in small glass jars, label the jars with the date, and freeze them to use for up to six months. Be sure not to fill the jars up all the way to the top, leaving 1-2 inches to allow it to expand in the freezer. Later in the year, just do a quick thaw before you’re ready to add this to your meal and you’re all set — for single-use servings, fill up a silicone ice cube tray and remove individual cubes when needed, letting them thaw in the refrigerator on a plate or in another container. The chutney will last for several days, refrigerated, in a jar, or tightly covered.