Green chutney is an incredibly vibrant and healthy Indian condiment. Made from a base of cilantro, garlic, chilis, and peanuts, this irresistible dipping sauce pairs with all of your favorite chaat recipes like samosa chaat, masala puri, pani puri, and aloo tikki.
What is chutney?
No matter where you are in the world, almost everyone has heard of chutney. Much like what salsa is to Mexico, Indian chutney is an overarching term for a wide variety of sauces.
Whether it’s a tangy tamarind chutney or a herbaceous cilantro chutney, most recipes start off in a similar fashion. Beginning with a base of fruit, vegetables, nuts, or herbs, chutney is then seasoned with vinegar, sugar, and various spices.
With endless customizations, you can understand why these sauces are included in virtually every type of Indian meal and snack.
What is green chutney?
Green chutney, also known as coriander or cilantro chutney (cilantro is coriander in India), is a raw, vibrant, and bright green sauce. It is popularly eaten with appetizers, chaat (snack foods), and on the side of meals.
It is typically made with a base of cilantro or cilantro and mint, although the exact measurements are family-specific. I prefer to use cilantro as the main ingredient, but try experimenting with the two herbs to see what you prefer!
Common seasonings include green chilis, citrus, garlic, shallots, peanuts, and cumin. Each spoonful is smooth, creamy, and refreshing.
Is green chutney vegan?
Normally, the only ingredients in green chutney are fresh herbs, vegetables, and spices. This green chutney is 100% vegan and gluten-free.
Main ingredients & Substitutions
- Cilantro: I use fresh cilantro leaves as the base of my green chutney. If you have fresh mint leaves, you can add those in combination with the cilantro.
- Shallot: A cousin to garlic and onions, shallots impart a milder flavor than the former two. The reason I recommend shallots is that they won’t overpower the other ingredients, but spring onions work as a substitute.
- Citrus: Adds fresh, vibrant, and bright flavors. Lime or lemon juice both work in this cilantro chutney.
- Unsalted cashews: For depth and a slight creaminess. Peanuts or fried gram (chickpeas) are another common addition that you can use instead of cashews. You should be able to find these at any Indian food market.
- Garlic: For a punch of flavor, add fresh garlic cloves. If you don’t like the pungent flavor of raw garlic, half or omit it. You can replace it with a tad more shallot.
- Cumin: Use ground cumin for warm, earthy, and slightly citrusy notes. You can also add chaat masala if you have some on hand.
- Serrano chilis: Green chilis or serrano chilis give this chutney some heat. Adjust the amount up or down depending on your spice tolerance. You can seed the chilis, but I like to leave the seeds in for more spice.
- Salt: I add both black salt (Kala Namak) and regular salt. Black salt has a sulfurous flavor, so it can be off-putting to some people. If it is to you, replace it with all regular salt.
- Sugar: Perfectly balances the intensity of the other flavors. You will just need a small amount of cane sugar to taste.
- Water: Use water as needed to blend the chutney.
- Step 1: Roughly chop a few inches off of the cilantro bunches to remove the stems. Remove the stems from the chilis, and squeeze out all the fresh juice from the lime.
- Step 2: Start with 4 ounces of water in the blender. Add the cilantro, chilies, lime juice, shallots, cashews, garlic, cumin, regular salt, black salt, and sugar. Mix the chutney until the texture is smooth. If the blender is not moving things smoothly, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of water at a time (but only if needed).
- Step 3: Taste your cilantro chutney and adjust the spice, salt, or citrus level as desired.
- Step 4: Transfer the chutney to an air-tight mason jar, and keep it in the refrigerator or serve it right away.
What to serve with green chutney
Once you’ve blended your cilantro chutney, try serving it alongside traditional (and non-traditional) dishes like these:
- Samosa chaat
- Masala Puri
- Roasted vegetables
- Bhel puri
- Dahi vada
- Bread with avocado
- Aloo tikki
- Aloo palak
If you have more green chutney than you can eat, follow these simple storage tips:
- Fridge: Transfer to an airtight container and store for up to 1-2 weeks. The chutney may oxidize (turn brown), but it won’t affect the flavor. As long as there is no mold, it is still safe to consume.
- Freezer: Transfer leftover chutney to a freezer-safe container and it will last up to 6 months in the freezer. You can also freeze it in ice cube trays for single-serve portions.
- Thaw: Next time you need green chutney, thaw it in the fridge overnight, stir it, and it will be good to go.
- Add ginger: For a sweet and spicy element, try adding freshly grated ginger.
- Vegan yogurt: Green chutney is often served with yogurt. Try adding some vegan yogurt for cool, creamy, and refreshing flavors.
- Mint: For a more herbal sauce, replace some or all of the cilantro to make mint chutney or mint cilantro chutney.
- Fruit: For a touch of sweetness, try adding fresh fruit like mango or grated coconut.
- Chilies: If you prefer more spice in your green chutney, replace the serranos with green chilies.
- Add water slowly: Add the water in slowly so it doesn’t dilute the chutney too quickly. It’s easier to add more as you need.
- Taste as you go: Constantly taste and adjust the levels of the spices, salt, and garlic. Start slow, then move up gradually to find your preferred measurements.
- Use fresh cilantro: Since cilantro is the main part of the chutney, make sure it’s fresh for the best flavors.
- Don’t blend for too long: Blending cilantro for too long heats the mixture. This can result in a bitter flavor that you won’t be able to fix.
Green chutney can turn bitter when cilantro is processed or blended for too long. When the oils are released from the cilantro leaves, the heat may turn them rancid.
This green chutney is packed with vitamins and nutrients. For example, cilantro contains vitamins A, C, and K, and peanuts are filled with heart-healthy fats.
If you enjoyed this green chutney recipe, make sure to try some more Green Heart Love sauces like these:
- Tamarind chutney: Sweet, tangy, and slightly spicy chutney.
- Avocado chutney: A creamy, spicy and citrusy fresh sauce made mainly with avocados, cilantro, green chilis, lemon juice, and a touch of cumin.
- Garlic chutney: A spicy Indian condiment made from only 7 ingredients.
- Sriracha aioli: Creamy, spicy, and tangy sauce you can add to just about anything.
- Lemongrass paste: The perfect base for soups, curries, and ramen bowls.
- Balsamic glaze: A simple dressing to drizzle over vegetables or salads.
- 2 bunches cilantro leaves
- 1 whole shallot roughly chopped
- 1 whole fresh lime juice or lemon juice
- 4 tablespoon unsalted cashews or peanuts
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon cumin powder
- 2-3 whole serrano chilis
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon Kala Namak (black salt) optional
- 1 teaspoon sugar optional
- water as need
- Roughly chop 2 inches from the cilantro bunches to remove the stems. Remove the stems from the chilis and squeeze out all the fresh juice from the lime.
- Start with 4 ounces of water in the blender. Toss everything in the blender and mix till smooth. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of water at a time, if the blender is not moving things smoothly (only as needed).
- Taste your chutney and adjust the spice, salt or citrus level as desired.
- Store in the refrigerator in an air-tight mason jar or serve right away.