If you’re based in the UK, this green tomato chutney may be quite different to what you envision when you hear the word ‘chutney’! Interestingly, the English word ‘chutney’ comes from the Hindi word ‘chatni‘ which itself is derived from the word ‘chatna’ or roughly ‘to lick’. The idea being that the taste is quite tart – but so good – that you lick your lips and ask for more!
While English chutneys are usually cooked down to a thick, somewhat sticky consistency with a fairly sweet taste, Indian chutneys are remarkably different. Of course there is a lot of variation between states, but generally a chutney in India is made from fresh ingredients which are just flash cooked – or even used raw – and then ground (traditionally by hand) to make an accompaniment eaten with your meal. Chutneys can vary from thin to extremely thick depending on the use and region. They have pronounced flavours – whether sweet, spicy, or sour – to add excitement to your plate.
This green tomato chutney is beautifully tart and sour from the raw tomatoes. It has a delicious balance of nutty creaminess from the sesame seeds and peanuts, sweetness from brown sugar, spiciness from the green chilis and fresh zest from the coriander leaves. When combined the result will set your tongue alight with flavour!
The tempering of mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal and curry leaves just adds another layer. The oil moistens the chutney and loosens it up a bit, making it easy to scoop up on a piece of crisp dosa. Mustard seeds scattered flirtatiously across the top give a bit of hot bitterness, while the lentils offer a crisp nuttiness with every bite that compliments the thick chutney extraordinarily well.
About the tomatoes …
You may remember from my Yellow Tomato Margherita Pizza post a few days ago that 2020 was the first year that we’ve been able to grow vegetables in our back-yard. We don’t have much space, and as a result we’ve been limited to container planting. However, I was adamant that I wanted to try growing tomatoes along with a few other fruits and vegetables no matter what! The tomato seedlings ended up growing so well that I didn’t have enough pots to transplant them into! My plants are still producing, but since the weather is getting cold I’ve decided to pick them all now.
Although I’ll ripen some of them at home, I couldn’t resist taking the opportunity to make some delicious chutney with the raw ones. Prized for their sharp and tart flavour, this green tomato chutney is a popular recipe in South India when the end of the tomato season comes around. You’ll probably hear it called “Pacchi Tomato Pachadi” as it’s referred to in Andra Pradesh – one of the states that loves chutney the most – literally meaning ‘Raw Tomato Chutney’. Or “Kacchya tomato chi chutney” in Marathi – ‘Raw chutney of tomato’. This recipe is also popular in Karnataka.
Is this Green Tomato Chutney Vegan?
Yes, this chutney is completely vegan and dairy free! It’s also gluten-free and soy-free, which makes it a great accompaniment for people with many different dietary requirements.
You can also make this recipe completely nut-free simply by excluding ground peanuts. It will effect the taste and texture of the chutney a little, but it will still be absolutely delicious. Many families across India make it without peanuts, so it’ll still be authentic too!
This Recipe is:
- Quick & Easy – done in less than 15 minutes
- Healthy and packed full of goodness
- Full of flavour
- Sour with a hint of sweetness, spiciness and nuttiness
- Vegan & Diary Free
- Gluten Free
- Soy Free
Variations on Green Tomato Chutney
As mentioned previously, there are so many different regional variations! A few things you could consider doing to mix this recipe up are:
- Try adding a little dry grated or desiccated coconut (popular in Maharashtra) for a slightly sweeter taste
- To make this recipe Jain friendly and garlic-free, substitute garlic for a pinch of hing (asafoetida) when frying. Just do bare in mind that hing is not Gluten-free
- If your tomatoes aren’t sour & tart enough to give the desired taste, you can add tamarind pulp
- Adjust the quantity of green chillis to your taste to make it milder or spicier
If you’re interested in more recipes, do check out my Yellow Tomato Margherita Pizza with No Knead dough – it’s another great way to use homegrown heritage tomatoes. You can also check out more Indian recipes using vegetables, such as this spicy cabbage stir fry (Patta Gobi Sabji) and this Mushroom Pulao Rice.
Indian Green Raw Tomato Chutney
- 1 tsp Sunflower Oil or Sesame Oil
- 1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 6 Green Finger Chillis, cut into 4
- 160g Raw Green Tomatoes, cut
- 2 Garlic Cloves, crushed
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1 tbsp Pink Peanuts
- 1 tsp Sesame Seeds
- 1/2 tsp Brown Sugar or Jaggery (or to taste)
- Fresh Coriander
- 1.5 tsp Sunflower Oil
- 1/2 tsp Black Mustard Seeds
- 1/4 tsp Split Urad Dal
- 1/2 tsp Chana Dal
- Sprig Curry Leaves (optional)
- Begin by dry roasting the peanuts & cashews. Heat a small frying pan on medium heat on the smallest hob and add the whole peanuts. Roast until golden brown and just getting burnt spots on the skin, and then remove from the heat and set aside. Next, add sesame seeds to the pan and roast, moving constantly, until just smelling aromatic and a slight colour change to golden is achieved. Be sure to not over-roast. Set these aside too.
- Next, heat oil in the small frying pan over medium heat on the smallest hob. Add the cumin seeds to the pan. Wait for them to splutter and gently brown, then add the chopped green chillis and let them blister. Once they’ve blistered, add the tomatoes, garlic and salt to the pan. Sauté on low heat until the tomatoes are softened, then turn the heat off completely and set aside to cool.
- Blend the chutney. Add the cooled tomato mixture along with the roasted peanuts and sesame seeds to a grinder or blender along with a small bunch of fresh coriander (small stalks are fine – discard thick ones) and brown sugar. Pulse until combined. A thick, slightly coarse texture is absolutely fine but you can also grind it until completely smooth. Traditionally this is made without adding any extra water but you can add a small amount if you desire.
- Make the tempering. This step is optional but adds another layer to the chutney. Heat oil in a small tempering pan over low heat. Once the oil is hot add the mustard seeds and let them pop. Then add the chana dal and let it turn golden brown before adding the urad da. Add curry leaves to the pan and sauté for a few seconds, then remove from the heat and pour over the chutney. Be careful not to burn.
When you’ve ground the chutney, taste a little and adjust the seasonings to your taste. The final taste of the chutney will depend on the variety of your tomatoes and how tart they are. You may find that you need to add more brown sugar/jaggery, so don’t be afraid to tweak it once you’ve tasted.
The finger chillis which I used where not as hot as ordinary Indian green chillis. So do make sure to take into account the heat level of the variety of chilli you’re using and adjust accordingly.
How can you serve Green Tomato Chutney?
This chutney is a South Indian dish, so it goes extremely well with South Indian dishes such as Idli, Dosa, Rava Dosa, or Moong Dal Dosa. You can use this chutney as an alternative to the popular coconut chutney served with dosa to mix up mealtimes a little bit. It also works well as a dish in combination with chapatis, and can be served as a side dish to any combination Indian meal or thali.
You can even try serving the green tomato chutney as a spicy dipping sauce or topping for crisps and nachos. It would make a great fusion meal!