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Chutney or relish? I am confused!

Posted on November 20, 2009 by in sauces

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Chutney or relish….what is the difference? Interesting question and I certainly have never even given it some thought…..that was until I wanted to write this post. I did a bit of research and this is the conclusion I came to…..
Generally speaking, a relish is made with grated or cut up vegetables or fruit , while is chutney is almost always made with mainly fruit.

Chutney is from the East Indian word chatni. It is a spicy and aromatic condiment that contains fruit, sugar, vinegar and a whole array of spices. Chutneys can vary in texture from being smooth to rather chunky and coarse. Chutneys go particularly well with curried dishes, but for me, chutney is perfect with just about anything….cheese and crackers, sandwiches, cold meats or even grilled chicken or fish.

A relish is a chopped vegetable or fruit food item that is cooked and pickled. The fruit or vegetables are normally in a sauce, although the sauce is subordinate in character to the vegetable or fruit pieces.

All this information confused me even more, because the Beetroot, Pineapple and Currant condiment that I had in mind felt like a chutney to me. It also consists of fruit and vegetables, so in conclusion, I still don’t know if this is a relish or a chutney, but please feel free to let me know what you think it should be.

Beetroot, Pineapple and Currant chutney(relish)


3 big raw beets – peeled and grated
250ml crushed pineapple
100ml currants
1ooml sugar
red wine vinegar – about 3 tbsp(adjust to taste)
1-2 red chilies – keep whole(it gives a subtle heat)
1 star anise
3 cloves
1 all spice

Place all the ingredients in a stainless steel pot and bring it to the boil. Let it simmer on very low heat until the chutney(relish) has a thick chunky consistency!! About 1 hour. Spoon into sterilized jars or keep in the fridge for about 1 week(if it lasts that long).

I serve my beetroot chutney(relish) on a multi-grain roll with salami, cream cheese and fresh herbs from the garden……

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22 Responses to “Chutney or relish? I am confused!”

  1. Anonymous 20 November 2009 at 9:44 am #

    Thanks, Nina – I am definitely going to make this!!! PPD

  2. Anonymous 20 November 2009 at 9:44 am #

    Thanks, Nina – I am definitely going to make this!!! PPD

  3. Marisa 20 November 2009 at 11:20 am #

    My instincts says chutney, but perhaps that's just because I call most things chutney? πŸ˜‰

    Looks very good though – I like the inclusion of the beetroots.

  4. Koek! 20 November 2009 at 12:45 pm #

    I just think the word 'relish' sounds more appealing, so that's the one I'd use. Golly, I wish I hadn't seen this post before lunch. I'm so hungry now!

  5. Bellini Valli 20 November 2009 at 3:12 pm #

    I will just call it delicious if you don't mind. Perhaps just call it a condiment?

  6. SavoringTime in the Kitchen 20 November 2009 at 4:44 pm #

    I think I'll call is chutish πŸ™‚ Whatever is the right definition, your recipe sounds wonderful! I love beet and currants too.

  7. That Girl 20 November 2009 at 6:57 pm #

    I'm terrible at distinguishing between chutney and relish. And to confuse matters even more, I grew up with my mom's "cranberry sauce" which I didn't realize until last year isn't really a sauce, but actually a relish. Although, based on my investigation this year, it might be a chutney. Too confusing.

  8. Junglefrog 21 November 2009 at 12:20 am #

    See I have exactly the same confusion as you. Never knew when it would be a chutney and when it would be a relish… This looks delicious!

  9. My Carolina Kitchen 21 November 2009 at 12:25 am #

    Whatever you call it, it's gorgeous.

  10. James P. Walsh 21 November 2009 at 1:15 am #

    The main difference is that a chutney is always cooked and a relish is not. Also a chutney uses a lot of spices and a relish usually does not.

    • Sarah R. 21 January 2013 at 1:36 am #

      No way. My family heirloom relish recipe is DEFINITELY cooked!

      • nerinatimm 21 January 2013 at 1:33 pm #

        You see, there is definitely no golden rule about this!!

  11. Jan 21 November 2009 at 10:03 am #

    Whatever it is it looks delish! I'm loving the pineaple with the beetroot – fantastic idea!

  12. Emily 21 November 2009 at 10:49 am #

    I would go with chutney as well. I think a relish has more vinegar in it. I dunno. That's my guess. This looks great!

  13. redkathy 22 November 2009 at 5:45 am #

    Call it whatever you like, makes no difference with this fabulous presentation! I would have to prepare this for only myself, the guys won't eat beets. They're crazy.

  14. glamah16 22 November 2009 at 6:21 pm #

    Im loving how you make these flavors work.

  15. Cynthia 22 November 2009 at 7:18 pm #

    Nina, let me say again what a pleasure it is to visit your blog. Gosh your photographs are outstanding. I was just looking at your posts that I have missed.

    As to this Chutney/Relish thing, I totally understand your confusion. Personally, I think that it is a word that can be used interchangeably depending on the cultural setting within which you find yourself.

  16. Helene 23 November 2009 at 8:08 am #

    Relish or Chutneys, I love both. Delicious recipes.

  17. Jeanne 23 November 2009 at 3:10 pm #

    Interesting – I never thought about that point… They are both delicous though πŸ™‚ even I might eat beetroot in this form!

  18. Kevin 24 November 2009 at 1:30 pm #

    This chutney and/or relish sounds good! I have really been getting into chutneys lately.

  19. James 3 December 2009 at 9:24 pm #

    Beetroot and pineapple together sounds lush!

  20. Trevor Roberts 23 June 2013 at 8:56 am #

    A chutney is just one of many types of relish. Therefore, “relish” could be regarded as THE family of these dishes, while “chutney” is ONE of the family.

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