Mango chutney is often used as an accompaniment to chicken, fish, pork, or other meat. Typically, it is considered both sweet and spicy, though the level of spice can be adjusted according to personal taste if it is made from scratch. It is believed to have originated in India, but its unique flavor made it popular across Europe, the Caribbean, and in South Africa as early as the 1600s. Since mangoes are rich in vitamins and minerals, it can be considered a healthful and a potentially low-calorie addition for many different meals.
Typically, mango chutney is made from fresh, seasonal ingredients, particularly in India, its place of origin. As a result, there are many different recipes. Generally, mango chutney contains either ripe or unripe, peeled mango pieces; brown or white sugar; and rice or cider vinegar. It typically also contains a variety of spices. For example, it may contain ginger, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, garlic, curry powder, or mustard seeds. The sweetness of the sugar and the mango are usually countered by spiciness from red chili flakes, jalapeños, or ground white pepper.
Some people prefer to add other ingredients to their mango chutney to give it more of a tropical flavor. For example, cherries, coconut, macadamia nuts, or almonds can be added. In addition, during the fall months, apples are often popular and give the chutney a tart flavor.
Generally, mango chutney is cooked until it reaches the consistency of marmalade. The cooking process can be accomplished on a stove top in about one hour, but many authentic Indian recipes simply use the heat from the rays of the sun to cook the chutney. This process may last several days.
The mangoes that are used in mango chutney contain valuable vitamins and minerals. For example, 1 cup (about 128 grams) of raw mango pieces contains nearly 100% of the daily recommended dose of vitamin C. It is also high in vitamin A, an important vitamin to maintain good vision and bone strength. Mangoes are high in fiber as well, and contain the minerals copper and potassium. Although the fruit has many nutritional benefits, it is important to remember that mango chutney may contain more calories than simply eating a fresh mango because of the sugar that is added to the recipe.
Mango chutney can be made at home or purchased from a store. When making it at home, the chef has the ability to control which spices she uses and how much sugar she adds to the recipe. Many grocery stores sell jarred chutney, while a few sell it freshly made as well.