Garlic chutney is a spicy Indian condiment that is served with a variety of snacks and meals. Made with just 7 ingredients, this versatile sauce is quick and easy to make, and it’s full of spicy, zesty, and tangy flavors.
Why I love this recipe
- Diet-friendly: Garlic chutney is vegan and gluten-free, making it a perfect choice to drizzle on all your favorite chaats.
- Few ingredients: The ingredients for this recipe are simple and affordable, yet they are incredibly vibrant and flavorful.
- Stores well: Make a double or triple batch as this chutney lasts for a long time in the fridge. Also, it can easily be frozen for future uses.
What is chutney?
Virtually everyone has heard of chutney! More often than not, it is associated with options like sugar-filled mango chutney, but Indian chutney is so much more than that! It encompasses a wide array of sauces.
Chutney can be made with a base of fruit, vegetables, nuts, or herbs. It is then seasoned with vinegar, sugar, and spices to help preserve it.
From herbaceous green chutney to tangy tamarind chutney, there is a chutney for every type of dish and occasion you can think of! For creamy, spicy and fresh citrus flavors try avocado chutney.
What is garlic chutney?
Garlic chutney, also known as lahsun ki chutney in Hindi, is a bold and flavorful sauce filled with red chilis and a hefty dose of garlic. Popular in the state of Rajasthan, red chutney is used to liven up all sorts of chaat recipes like samosa chaat, sev puri, bhel puri, and more.
While there are many variations (even in Rajasthan), the three primary ingredients found in almost any garlic chutney are Kashmiri red chilis, garlic, and salt.
Some versions are made with whole chilis while others are made with chili powder. Some have a thick, paste-like texture while others are smooth and creamy. As I said, it really varies!
If you’re a spice lover, you’re really going to appreciate the heat this recipe packs. If not, I’ll share a few tips to make a mild version for everyone to enjoy!
Is garlic chutney vegan?
Just like green chutney and tamarind chutney, this recipe is naturally vegan and gluten-free. It’s the perfect condiment for all your snacking needs!
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Dried red chilis: If you can find them, I recommend Kashmiri red chilis for this garlic chutney recipe. They provide a perfect balance of spice and flavor. You can substitute whole chilis with red chili powder.
- Garlic: Of course, you can’t skip the main component of garlic chutney! Freshly peeled garlic cloves add intense, pungent, and zesty flavors.
- Avocado oil: I tend to reach for avocado oil, but you can use any neutral vegetable oil that you prefer.
- Salt: Used as a flavor enhancer in this recipe. Regular salt or sea salt work.
- Cumin: I use cumin powder, but you can absolutely use whole cumin seeds. Both impart rich, hearty, earthy, and warming notes.
- Mustard seeds: To kick up the flavor intensity.
- Paprika: I also love a little paprika in my chutney, both for color and flavor. Use either sweet or smoked paprika for the best taste.
- Sugar: Use cane sugar or jaggery to tame the heat if necessary. Taste and adjust according to your heat tolerance.
- Step 1: Break the dried red chilis in half and remove the seeds. You can leave some seeds in if you prefer a spicier chutney (I like to leave a teaspoon). Add hot water to your red chilis, but only enough to submerge them. Leave them to soak for 2 hours, or until they double in size.
- Step 2: While the red chilis are soaking, heat the avocado oil in a saucepan over low heat. Add the garlic cloves, and cook them until they soften. Remember to keep them moving while cooking to avoid burning! Once they appear light brown, remove them from the heat and set them aside to cool.
- Step 3: Using a sieve, strain the red chilis over a bowl. Reserve the chili water as this may be used later to achieve the right consistency.
- Step 4: Transfer all of the cooked garlic and oil into a blender cup. Add the red chilis and ¼ cup of chili water to help it blend smoothly.
- Step 5: Blend the garlic and chilis together until you reach a thick chutney consistency. If needed, add a few tablespoons of chili water at a time to keep your blender moving.
- Step 6: Heat a teaspoon of oil in the same saucepan over low heat. Add mustard seeds and let them cook till they start popping. Then add the garlic and chili mixture along with the cumin, paprika, sugar, and salt.
- Step 7: Stir while cooking the chutney for about 3 minutes. Again, add some chili water to reach your desired consistency. Taste test the chutney, and adjust salt or sugar if need be.
- Step 8: Remove your garlic chutney from the heat, and let it cool for 15 minutes. Transfer it into a serving dish, or store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
How to use garlic chutney
Once your garlic chutney recipe is done, serve a small amount alongside or drizzled on top of Indian snacks and meals like these:
You can also try it with other recipes like burgers, wraps, quesadillas, sandwiches, and fries to turn the heat up. Just note, a little goes a long way!
Make a double or triple batch of garlic chutney to keep in the fridge or freezer. Follow these simple steps to keep your recipe fresh:
- Fridge: Garlic chutney lasts in the fridge for up to a month as long as it's in an airtight container. Serve it chilled, at room temperature, or warmed on the stovetop.
- Freezer: Store garlic chutney in the freezer for up to 6 months. Just make sure you keep it in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag.
- Thaw: When you’re ready to use garlic chutney again, thaw it in the fridge overnight. You can always add a tablespoon or two of water to thin it out.
- Milder version: For less spice, remove the seeds from the chilis completely and add more sugar. Alternatively, use mild chili powder like Kashmiri or Byadgi.
- Consistency: You can make this recipe thick like a paste or thin and creamy. Just adjust the amount of water added up or down.
- Acid: Fresh lemon juice or vinegar will provide a tangy, bright flavor. Try lemon, lime, white vinegar, coconut vinegar, or apple cider vinegar.
- Add tomatoes: For a zesty, slightly acidic flavor, blend tomatoes into the chutney.
- Spices: Add different spices like yellow mustard seeds or cumin seeds to your recipe.
- Fresh ingredients: Use high-quality chilis and fresh garlic since these both make up the bulk of the recipe. Avoid garlic cloves that have begun to sprout. Sprouts mean bitterness, which you do not want!
- Protect yourself: Wear gloves or make sure you thoroughly wash your hands when working with spicy chilis. Avoid touching your eyes or body parts!
- Invest in a blender: Owning a good-quality grinder or blender is extremely helpful in terms of making sauces like chutney.
- Soak the chilies: To ensure the chilis are soft and pliable, soak them in hot water for the recommended time.
Garlic chutney is made with ingredients like chilis, spices, and garlic, all of which contain a plethora of vitamins and minerals. If you are concerned about the oil content, reduce it by half and consume this chutney in moderation.
You can serve garlic chutney warm, room temperature, or chilled — the choice is yours. Although, it is commonly served at room temperature.
If you enjoyed this garlic chutney recipe, be sure to check out some more of my favorite sauces like these:
- Tamarind chutney: A sweet, tangy, and delicately spiced sauce.
- Green chutney: A herbaceous sauce made with cilantro, peanuts, cumin, and serrano chilis.
- Avocado chutney: A creamy, spicy and citrusy fresh sauce made mainly with avocados, cilantro, green chilis, lemon juice, and a touch of cumin.
- Sriracha aioli: Creamy, spicy, and dairy-free aioli.
- Lemongrass paste: The perfect flavor enhancement in ramen bowls, soups, and more.
- 1 cup garlic cloves
- 1 cup dried red chilis
- ¼ cup avocado oil or cooking oil of your choice
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil or cooking oil of your choice
- 1 tablespoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon paprika powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Break red chilis in half and remove the seeds. You can leave some seeds per your spice preference and discard the rest (I like to leave only 1 tsp). Add hot water to your red chilis (only enough to submerge the chilis), and let them soak for 2 hours till they double in size. Note: Do not add too much water, only enough to submerge the chilis.
- Prepare the garlic, while the red chilis are soaking. Heat ¼ cup oil in a sauce pan over low heat. Add garlic cloves and cook them till they soften. Keep moving them around while cooking to avoid burning (garlic can burn quick, if left alone). Once they turn light brown, then remove from heat and keep aside to cool.
- Strain the red chilis over a bowl using a sieve, but keep aside the chili water (this will be used as need for better consistency).
- Place the cooked garlic including oil into a blender cup. Also, add red chilis and ¼ cup chili water to help it blend smoothly.
- Blend garlic and chili together till it forms into a thick chutney like consistency. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of chili water at a time, if the blender is not moving things smoothly (only as needed).
- Heat a tbs of oil in the same sauce pan over low heat. Add mustard seeds cook till they start to pop, and then add the garlic and chili chutney mixture along with the all the remaining ingredients (cumin, paparika, sugar and salt).
- Cook chutney for about 3 minutes. Again, add some chili water to get your desired consistency (only as needed). Taste test the chutney and adjust salt or sugar, if needed.
- Remove from heat and let it cool for 15 minutes. Transfer into a serving dish or store in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.
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