Regular readers know I made a tomato chutney on Sunday. A couple twitter connections asked me to describe a chutney — and then how it differed from a relish. I sat here, mouth gaping, looking at my computer screen, thinking “how the hell do I know the difference.” I started to Google it, which I’m sure the folks who posed this question did as well. I didn’t get the definitive answer I was looking for. They probably didn’t either…which is why they posed the question, I’m sure.
Since I didn’t have an answer and I don’t want to leave you all hanging on such an important topic as this (sarcasm intended), I reached out to my favorite cooking school – The Chopping Block — for an answer. Just so you know, The Chopping Block has a pretty great social media presence. They are pretty active on Facebook, Twitter and even G+. Go ahead: Friend, Follow or Circle them. You won’t be disappointed.
I posed the following question on Monday October 8th:
“I don’t really know the difference between a chutney and a relish…any thoughts on the difference here +The Chopping Block?”
On Wednesday, I got the following response:
Our experts have convened on this important issue, and The Chopping Block is taking an official stance on the difference between a chutney and relish.
Chutney, from the east Indian word chatni, refers to a spicy condiment which contains fruit, vinegar, sugar and spices. It can range from a coarse to smooth texture and can vary in degrees of spiciness. It makes a great accompaniment to curry dishes. Sweeter chutneys go wonderfully with bread and cheese. Chutneys are derived from Indian and southeast Asian cuisines and generally contain those flavors.
Relish, too, can be sweet, savory, spicy, smooth or coarse but the main difference is that relish is made from vegetables. It’s a more general term for savory condiments, so chutneys are a type of relish. But not all relishes are chutneys.
Going by these guidelines, your tomato dish is indeed a chutney. Hope it was delicious!
This response cracks me up — not because of the content, but the delivery. The first line: “Our experts have convened” — I envision this two ways. The first, at a regular staff meeting this question is posed to the chefs and a heated debate follows. The second option, someone goes to Google and find the best/first answer and responds.
These people are great, whether they took time to either discuss and create a really perfect response — or they took time to go to Google and piecemeal this together. No offense guys…
Either way, I’m happy. Their answer makes perfect sense and it really does fit with what I thought and other friends have suggested.
And to answer their last sentence — it was really great. I wish I made more. Since Sunday, I’ve had it on a rare roast beef sandwich, a cheese plate and a bit of left over bacon. Yes, I am a tomato (chutney) whore and I’m OK with it. Go make some yourself and slip into a lovely tomato chutney addiction like I have.
Do you have a very responsive, online food/cooking resource? Do you love the Chopping Block as much as I do? Did you make a chutney this weekend? What about a relish?