This cilantro mint chutney is the classic Indian "green chutney" that you'll find served in restaurants alongside appetizers and more. It's easy to make, versatile and with a bright, fresh flavor. You'll soon be adding it to everything.
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Many years ago now, I spent the night with relatives who are originally from India as my flight was too late to allow a connection home. Conveniently, they lived not too far from Heathrow where I was connecting through.
While I was there, I joined them at a get-together with some of their relatives. I'll admit I don't remember a whole lot from the night both as it was so long ago and I was really tired from travel. But I will always remember the homemade chutneys and pickles.
You'll hardly find an Indian meal without a chutney or a pickle of some kind. Sometimes it's more for dipping appetizers, other times alongside the main itself (like brinjal pickle is more typically). This green chutney is one of the most popular, most often served to dip skewers, pakora and chaat, as well as spread in sandwiches.
Green chutney variations
This bright sauce is usually called either green chutney or coriander mint chutney and you'll find it all around India, but particularly in the North. It is relatively simple but can have a couple of variations in the ingredients.
Most typically, this is made with both cilantro (coriander) and mint, but it can be made with just one or the other. Often even when people talk about pudhina chutney (mint chutney) they are meaning with cilantro in there as well. The two work really well together to give a balance of flavors.
The other main ingredients are fresh green chili, ginger and usually garlic. A lot of recipes, as I have here, add lime or lemon which both helps add a fresh flavor and preserves the green color. Others add tamarind for a similar slight sour flavor, but it will likely make it a little darker.
In restaurants in particular, you'll often find this with added yogurt. This, as you can imagine, gives it a creamier texture and helps to dull the kick of the chili. It's great both ways, so make as you prefer.
Making and storing the chutney
This is really as simple as putting everything together in a blender or food processor and blending it up. You can make it by hand by chopping everything finely then finishing with a pestle and mortar, but it will of course take more time.
You'll need to use either a small capacity blender/food processor or make a larger quantity to make sure it blends properly as otherwise the leaves will just get clogged and not blend. The quality of your blender makes a difference, too.
If you do end up making a larger quantity, don't worry. It doesn't mean you have to use a lot all at once or waste it. You can store it in the fridge for a few days - just make sure you use a well-sealed container as the smell can permeate otherwise.
You can also freeze it for longer term storage. The best way is to put small amounts in an ice cube tray then transfer to a freezer bag once frozen. Then you have small quantities you can defrost when you need them.
How to use it
Above I made this chutney to go with tandoori shrimp and peshwari naan and it works really well. It's also great for dipping pakora (eg cauliflower pakora), paneer tikka (as below), pappadams and other appetizers.
This cilantro mint chutney (green chutney) is so easy to make and adds such a vibrant burst of flavor to whatever you serve it with. It's bold and has a good kick of chili, as well as lots of great fresh herb taste. A classic Indian chutney for good reason.
Try these other flavorful sauces:
- Peruvian aji verde ('green sauce' with chili, herbs and mayonnaise)
- Chermoula sauce (a Moroccan blend of herbs, spices, garlic and oil used as a sauce and marinade)
- Romesco sauce (a Spanish sauce made with nuts and tomato that's deliciously versatile)
- Plus get more condiment recipes and Indian recipes in the archives.
Cilantro mint chutney (green chutney)
- ½ green chili or 1, to taste
- ½ cup mint leaves only
- ½ cup cilantro leaves and thin stems only, relatively well packed
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ teaspoon ginger (fresh, optional)
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon sugar (optional, to taste)
- 1 pinch pepper
- 1 tablespoon water if needed
- Remove the stem and seeds from the chili and roughly chop. Strip the leaves from the stems of the mint and cilantro before measuring both. Depending on your blender, you may want to roughly chop.
- Add all of the ingredients, apart from the water, to a mini food processor or blender and blend. Stop and scrape down the side and add some water, as needed, so that you can blend it to a smooth paste.
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