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In Indian restaurants you get usually Papadum as appetizer. It is often served with 3 sauces, one green sauce with a light peppermint taste, one red a bit sweet sauce and one very hot sauce.

These sauces seem to taste often (but not always) very similar regardless of the restaurant. I tried to copy them (especially the green one) but so far the results were a bit disappointing.

Does anyone have an idea what these sauces are called or how they are made?

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They're called chutneys. You probably had cilantro or mint chutney (green), a tamarind one (red and sweet), and a red chili one (spicy). Also common are white coconut-milk and yogurt based ones (usually slightly sweet and not spicy). –  BobMcGee Jun 29 '11 at 14:14
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3 Answers

up vote 14 down vote accepted

The sauces are called chutney (plural chutneys).

The green one, called hari chutney in Hindi, is generally made with a mixture of coriander (cilantro) leaves and mint leaves. Hari means green in Hindi. The leaves (I have used them in a 3:1::coriander:mint ratio) are ground to a fine paste along with a tbsp of sugar, a pinch of salt, and about 2 tbsp of lime juice (to prevent oxidation of the ground greens and to provide a tangy taste). Some variations of this may add ginger (for flavor) or peanuts (as a thickening agent) to the mixture.

The red chutney, called imli chutney in Hindi, is very often made with the juice of tamarind (imli in Hindi). Tamarind is soaked in water, strained and mixed with sugar, rock salt, toasted and ground cumin, dry powdered ginger, and powdered pepper. Rock salt and dry ginger give this chutney its distinct taste. Very often restaurants add artificial red color to this chutney to turn the color from brown to red.

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Thanks a lot (+1). I'll give this a try. :) –  Amenti Jun 30 '11 at 6:28
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Some more additions to the the green chutney can be: grated coconut paste (for thickening) and green chilies. By the way, chutney is excellent with grilled kebabs etc. –  Reno Jun 30 '11 at 10:36
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There are some other chutney mixes that I had with popadoms/papadums such as mango chutney or mint and spinach chutney. In Scotland, most Indian restaurants serve papadums with 'spice onions'. This is a bright red coloured onion chutney which is both sweet and hot.

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The standard chutneys served with poppadums in most Yorkshire and Midlands restaurants are usually mango chutney (sweet), lime pickled in oil (sour), chopped lightly spiced onion, and variations on the "mint and yoghurt" hari - if it is white, just mint and yoghurt, green, may be also with coriander but usually means it has been coloured, pink usually indicates that powdered chili has been added. If it is a classy place, you sometimes get fresh pomegranite seeds mixed with the chopped onion.

Y'know, everybody calls them poppadums, but what you usually get are pappads - real poppadums are much smaller diameter and lighter texture.

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