October 1, 2010

Sizzlingly Hot Garlic Chutney

I always think carefully before I indulge in a dish chock-full of garlic. What am I doing tomorrow? Am I going anywhere? Who am I meeting with? I love it when the answers are, ‘nothing’, ‘no’ and ‘nobody’.

Controversially, I think that gobbling garlic swamped dishes should only really be done in the privacy of one’s own home; curtains shut tightly, chain on the door and phone off the hook. We don’t want any disturbances. I admire this almost ritualistic way of paying homage to the humble garlic by eating it privately, behind closed doors. I suppose it’s just human nature to enjoy doing something that makes you ask yourself whether you should really be doing it at all.

Did you know that garlic is slightly toxic and even if you are just preparing it, your breath and pores will take on that love it/hate it garlic smell. It is also a top blood purifier. Isn’t it great when the pros outweigh the cons?

To get that garlic smell off your hands, wash them with washing up liquid and very cold water immediately after handling it. Warm water will only open the pores of your skin and absorb it more. If this fails, then I suggest you embrace your new l’eau de toilette.

Garlic chutney, or ‘Lasan vari Chutney’ (in Gujarati) isn’t really a chutney at all. It contains no sugar (yay, diabetics!) and uses oil to preserve the pungent garlic and gunpowder-like chilli. It is probably more of an achar than anything else. I kept chutney in the title because it would be pedantic of me to assume that I could re-write the culinary history of Gujarat (although, that would be an awesome superpower to have).

Chutney/achar- minor blip in translation, ja?

‘ChAchar’ if you will.

Whatever you want to call it, it’s probably one of the most popular preserves/dinner accompaniments in every Gujarati household from India to Chile and every surrounding land. I’m quite positive that even Gujarati folks living in other galaxies (or garlicxies) can’t live without it. Ha, how I love cheesy word-play.

Look, you needn’t be bashful about having a fondness for Lasan vari Chutney. It should be considered as a part of the family; integrated into lifestyles and cuddled with two eager arms. Its versatility is commendable and it can be stored for ages when preserved in the correct way. I will tell you how, of course.

Serve it as an accompaniment to any curry (aubergines work particularly well), Indian breads (like millet chapattis, wheat chapattis or naan), stir it into warm vegetables, pasta sauces, stews and soups. Another thing that I like to do is to fold some into mashed sweet potatoes with a little butter. It is truly brilliant when you need instant garlic and chillies when making lazy curries– just dollop a spoonful in to your tempered spices and sauté. It also livens up a bowl of warm, comforting khichdi.

However creatively you like to use your Sizzlingly Hot Garlic Chutney, always remember that there are a trillion Gujaratis out there who will love you for caring for their beloved ‘ChAchar’. I will be at the front of that line.

Sizzlingly Hot Garlic Chutney
(Makes enough to combat an entire battalion of Vampires, which is handy because it’s almost Halloween and it lasts ages in the fridge)

Ingredients (metricated for accuracy)

120g fresh garlic, crushed (I used a garlic crusher)
400g red chilli powder (yes, really 400g)
120g fresh coriander, chopped
270ml olive oil (not extra virgin)
15g salt (you’ll only be eating a tiny bit at a time so don’t be put off)
90ml lemon juice
30ml water


1. Mix all of the ingredients together. I wouldn’t use a blender because that rough texture you get when doing it by hand is awesome. Try not to inhale any chilli powder- seriously a bad, bad, bad mistaker-to-maker.

2. Pile into a large sterilised jar, packing it down as tightly as you can.

3. Top with a coating of olive oil to preserve it or it will go bad sooner. Do this every time you use it. Store in the refrigerator.

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27 responses to “Sizzlingly Hot Garlic Chutney”

  1. the wicked noodle says:

    Sanjana, this looks absolutely amazing!!

  2. Happy Cook says:

    Wowo this is one of the best chutney i have seen. DROOL

  3. penny aka jeroxie says:

    Oh wow! I will definitely try this out.

  4. Mina Joshi says:

    How do you manage to make your chutney look so tempting? This is exactly what I am making today!! Can't do without lassan ni chutney. I don't usually add any coriander as I like my batch to last as long as possible!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I find those metal 'soaps' are fab for removing garlic/onion smells from hands too.

  6. Mr. P says:

    I am going to make this for Christmas presents. Just you watch.

    How long do you reckon it would last?

  7. Sanjana says:

    Thanks for the comments guys!

    P, we tend to make it monthly and it lasts as long as it's in the fridge, in a sterilised jar with lid and covered with a little oil. I reckon it would probably last even longer but don't quote me on that. Just in case :p

  8. ravienomnoms says:

    I love garlic and your chutney looks to die for. I think I put garlic in just about everything, hehe 😉

  9. Sharmilee! :) says:

    Garlic chutney is my fav….ur version sounds gud too

  10. Fathima says:

    wow that looks awesome!

  11. Evan @swEEts says:

    I love garlic! It should totally be eaten in the privacy of your own home, and if you're planning on getting close to anyone you better hoped they've enjoyed the same amount of garlic 🙂 ha Can't wait to try this.. perfect with naan!

  12. SAINT BAPU says:

    very true sanju -you will always find in nearly all guju houses.



  13. Priya (Yallapantula) Mitharwal says:

    Looks really hot and mouth watering. Bookmarked it 🙂

  14. Carol Egbert says:

    Wow. This chutney will bring zip to any table.

  15. Jhonny walker says:

    The sheer amount of garlic!! that's just freaking fantastic!

  16. Jay says:

    Chutney sounds hot n tempting…love to have with spongy idlies…good try dear..

    Tasty Appetite

  17. souperior says:

    Yum – this sounds delish! I think garlic is a great way to discover a 'keeper' in a relationship – if your potential loved-on still wants to be around you after you've eaten something this pugent, you know you're onto a good thing!

  18. Mr. P says:

    Love the new look Sanjana. Very crisp and fresh!

  19. patissierement-votre says:

    Congrats on the top 9!

  20. Silence Sings says:

    Grt recipe in grt blog…happu to follow you…

  21. Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets says:

    Hehe I definitely didn't know that even cooking with garlic could result in smelling. Good thing I almost never cook without eating and I pretty much stopped caring about garlic breath after college (my poor bf 8p).

  22. Eva says:

    That sounds absolutely delicious…I love garlic and am SO looking forward to trying this recipe out 🙂

  23. The Mom Chef says:

    Garlic is one of those staples that causes immediate panic when it's missing in the kitchen. I usually keep at least 4-5 heads handy. Your recipe looks divine. If hubby eats garlic and I eat garlic, who cares, right? Thanks for passing this along.

  24. Quay Po Cooks says:

    Wow, I am sure this dish will gets lots of oos and aahs!

  25. kita says:

    This looks awesome. I love your idea about putting it in potatoes with butter.

  26. Shobha says:

    This chutney looks spicy and chatpati..absolutely tempting and mouth-watering.

  27. meera says:

    But why the water? That beats me. Do explain as there is a learning there that I am missing!

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