In minutes the savory, sweet, and spicy taste of this quick 6-ingredient pineapple chutney will stand at the ready to amplify the flavor of your favorite dishes.
Chutney versus relish
I know. This isn’t even enticing for an episode of a reality show. I only bring this up because I was a bit confused over what to call my simple mix of cumin seeds, onion, red chilis, ginger, pineapple, and cilantro. Chutney? Relish? Are there even differences? And more importantly, does it matter?
Here’s a surprise (or not) – the answers likely depend on your experience, tradition, and geography.
What is Chutney?
Chutney is integral to Indian cuisine. If you have adopted Indian dishes as a part of your eating rotation or eaten at an Indian restaurant, you recognize chutney. It's a condiment used to balance out or enhance foods. Sometimes, it's just a dipper for papadums.
Flavors range from the super-sweet to the spiciest hot, to savory, and a mix of everything in between. I've had surprising 'chutneys' that are smooth like a dip, but when I think of chutney, it's always got a bit of texture (lumps) to it.
For example, if I were to puree my tomato chutney, I'd probably rename it homemade ketchup. And although I’d likely use it for the same purposes (like dipping baked 'chips' or slathering tempeh burgers), I know the difference. And that’s all about the texture.
Let’s dip a spoon into something savory-sweet and murky. That's our episode of chutney versus relish.
So, if you want to call this chutney recipe, pineapple relish, then you’ll get no complaint from me. That’s because there is an unresolved debate about it. And seriously, are we going to cause some international incident by interchanging the terms? I think not.
The distinction to some seems to be narrowed to the fact that relish never has fruit. However, some would argue that even this isn’t always the case. And whereas both chutneys and relishes can contain vinegar, many relishes feature a pickling process. Yes, this flies in my mouthful of sweet corn relish that uses lime juice as the acid. And Some chutneys (and relishes, too), including my easy recipe, contain no vinegar at all.
Confused? Me too!
The most significant part is that all condiments, chutneys (and relishes) are meant to complement an ingredient or an entire meal. They don't stand on their own, but they can definitely embellish flavor and eating enjoyment.
Back to my interpretation of this non-important debate and back to the top. This is pineapple chutney because it is filled with the quint-essential spice of cumin seeds with a healthy dose of red chilis.
And seriously, folks, let’s get on with it and make it. It will take less time than this debate and be far more fruitful than the on-going discussion of chutney over relish.
Prep first, then cook
Besides the fantastic flavor, what makes this chutney so great is how quickly it takes to make it. Because the cooking time is short, you want to be sure you have everything prepped and ready. The minute you heat the pan and toast the cumin seeds, it’s just a matter of minutes.
Get going and begin by opening a can of pineapple or cutting up a fresh pineapple. I don’t recommend crushed pineapple for this recipe. You will lose too much when you drain off the juice. Go for the canned pineapple rings, packed in water or at the least, light syrup. The heavy syrup kind is too sweet, and all that sugar is just another hidden calorie hound that we can easily avoid.
A ‘regular’ can (20 oz./567 gm.) of pineapple slices or pineapple chunks will yield about 2 cups diced. That’s about half a fresh pineapple. Be sure to dice the pineapple into small pieces so that it can merge with the rest of the ingredients. You’ll be adding the pineapple and chopped cilantro right at the end after you cut the heat. Adding it to the hot skillet allows it to cook slightly and break down.
Toasting the cumin seeds takes a minute, and then add the diced onion, minced ginger, and sliced or diced red chilis. When you prep the chilis, decide how hot you want your chutney. The more chili seeds you include, the hotter the chutney. You can just cut the top and end off the red chilies and thinly slice them or as I did, cut them in half lengthwise, and then slice them.
Sautéing the onions, ginger, and chilis will take about 3 - 5 minutes. Once, cut the heat, add the pineapple and cilantro, and mix well, you've arrived at chutney. Or relish. Whatever name you choose. It's all the same to the bowl.
What to serve with pineapple chutney?
There are so many dishes that are happily complimented from Indian-by spoonfuls of chutney. Here are a few we love:
Dal Makhani (Black lentil dahl)
Tempeh tacos (yep, tacos!)
Baked chickpea burgers (of course, burgers)
I’ll leave the rest up to your imagination. And one thing’s for sure because you can whip this up in minutes, you can ramp up the flavor anytime.
After transplanting myself from one continent to another, it's that you need to be liberal with the meaning of words. One person's relish is another person's chutney. What matters is the flavor in the bowl. That’s what’s important. Peace.Print
In minutes, the savory, sweet, and spicy taste of this quick 6-ingredient pineapple chutney will stand at the ready to amplify the flavor of your favorite dishes.
- 1 Tbsp. cumin seeds
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
- 2 red chilies, sliced thin
- 2 cups of pineapple diced into small pieces. Use I – 20 oz. (567 gm.) can rings or chunks drained, or ½ fresh pineapple.
- ½ cup finely chopped cilantro (coriander)
- Salt to taste (optional)
- Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet or pan to medium and add the cumin seeds. Toast the seeds for 1 minute until they start to release their aroma. Be sure to stir the seeds constantly to prevent them from burning.
- Add the onion, ginger, and chilies and sauté them for about 3 – 5 minutes to allow them to soften.
- Turn off the burner. Mix in the pineapple and cilantro.
- Serve warm or chilled.
- Be sure to start with all the ingredients prepped and ready. If using canned pineapple, drain the juice and reserve it to another use, like sweet and sour sauce.
- Use pineapple rings or chunks that are canned in their own juices if possible. The kind in heavy syrup is too sweet with wasted calories and unhealthy sugar you don’t need.
- Store chutney in an airtight container in the fridge for 5 days. Be sure to mix it before serving as juice accumulates as it sits.
- Category: Dressings & Condiments
- Cuisine: Indian
Keywords: pineapple chutney