You can call a chutney as a dip or a relish or a dipping. It is something that you lick in between other foods or eat with other food to make it tastier and more interesting. It is something you eat and savor with relish, not just swallow.
These relishes from India are tasty and they make a meal tastier. Though it is never a main dish, it is an important part of a meal, be it a snack, lunch or dinner. along with pickle, it makes the menu more colorful and meaningful and something to look forward to.
These relishes are mostly spicy and chilli hot but you can make them just as hot as you like. There are also sweet chutneys too. So you can take your pick.
There are dry chutney varieties and others that have a consistency of a thick paste. Some have to be eaten fresh only while others can be made and used for months.
Grains, nuts, vegetables, fruits(both raw and ripe), spices, herbs are used in the making of these side dishes.
Each ingredient has its own special flavor and texture.This mixture and the treatment it gets in the preparation gives the special taste to the final product.
Some ingredients are used raw while some are roasted dry or in a little oil before grinding them.
It can either be in a powder form or a thick paste form. Powder varieties last longer whereas semi liquid ones have shorter shelf life. But both are tasty.
Powder forms are made when you have time and used when you are in a hurry and do not have time to prepare a side dish with rice or breads, or as a spread for your breads/sandwiches.
Everybody has their own favorite and there is a large variety to choose from. I love them all and I am sure you will too.
You can make your variations according to your taste, as you get familiar with the ingredients and the basics of making.