In Indian cuisine, although characterized by a great variety of dishes that differ in geographical areas and local culinary traditions, one of the common and strongly rooted elements is the use of spices and condiments and the preference for the stratifications of different and often contrasting flavors . In fact, there is no regional Indian cuisine that does not have a wide choice of sauces, often used as an accompaniment to snacks and appetizers, as a condiment for first or second courses or as a dish in which to dip the delicious Indian leavened bread called naan. So let's find out the two main categories of Indian sauces, or the chutney and raita, and their most popular and most popular varieties.
Chutney, the exotic sweet and sour and spicy Indian sauce
The chutney it is a sauce spread in various parts of the world, but originally from India, mainly made with a combination of vinegar and sugar an addition of herbs, spices, fruit or vegetables. Depending on the ingredients used, this sweet and sour based sauce can be more or less sweet, sour or spicy and its density and creaminess also change from time to time. One of the most popular chutneys is the hari chutney, a fresh and intense green dressing prepared with mint and coriander and consumed mainly with chaat, or the typical mixed Indian appetizer that includes the famous samosas but also various types of snacks. A type of chutney with a decidedly more intense flavor isimli chutneyor rather a sweet and sour tamarind sauce with a reddish brown color, also perfect to combine with chaat. The sweetest and most delicate is the tomato chutney, called timander; the main ingredient is precisely tomatoes, of which only the pulp is sometimes used, to which are added sugar, onion, garlic, ginger, salt, vinegar and various spices. This cream with an intense red color can be eaten fresh or bottled and preserved and is a perfect match for vada, fried and salted Indian donuts made with potatoes or legumes, or for the local version of the crepes, called dosas. The particular is also much loved gole ki chutney, made from ground coconut pulp, green peppers and coriander and a delicate but slightly bitter taste. They also deserve to be mentioned other varieties of Indian chutney, less common but equally appetizing, including the garlic one made generally with fresh garlic, dry or fresh coconut, peanuts and green or red peppers, the sour and spicy one with unripe green mango and finally the more summery one prepared with raw limes, coriander, onion and mint.
Raita, the Indian version of the tzatziki
In India the raita it is commonly considered a sauce but given its creaminess and the ingredients used it can sometimes act as a real side dish, like a salad. The basic raita recipe consists of a mix of Indian yoghurt (dahi) and raw or cooked vegetables, to which they can be added various herbs and spices including toasted cumin seeds, coriander, mint, chaat masala and cayenne pepper. The resulting cream, with a light color and a pleasant and refreshing taste, is perfect for giving relief to the palate after eating spicy dishes. The most famous raita is the kheera raita, with cucumber, simple to prepare and perfect for summer, for which fresh cucumbers, yogurt, green chillies and coriander are sufficient. Much denser and richer in flavor is the aloo ka raita, or the variant with potatoes, cooked with boiled potatoes, chopped onions and tomatoes; it can still be eaten alone or mixed with other sauces. There palak raita, with spinach, is the one with the strongest, pungent and decisive flavor; to the cooked spinach is in fact added a mix of herbs and spices with a pungent flavor, prepared with mustard seeds, fried cumin seeds and asafetida, also known as fetid fennel, an herb with interesting beneficial properties but with an unpleasant smell.
For raita, as for chutney, there is a wide and appetizing choice of variants, including the one with carrots, bottle gourd, beetroot, aubergine, mint and peanuts and melon.
Photo: Indian sauces raita goblinbox.jpg