We are almost down to the end of the Indian meal sequence, however before we get to dessert we do have to talk about condiments, relishes and salads. In planning an Indian meal, these are a very important component of the Indian table and need to be selected with care. A good Indian meal will have at least a couple of condiments and maybe more. Yes, condiments are also seasonal.
A winter meal will have spicier and heavier pickles, while a summer meal is more likely to have light yogurt salads like the raita. However, the role of the condiment is to add more oomph to the meal, add more spark and color. Given that we seem to have entered the land of never ending winter, here is a collection of my favorite condiments that can hopefully add some spark and zest to your table while we all wait for spring to come and knock on our window sill.
Cranberry and Clementine Chutney: This perky chutney from eastern India is sweet and tangy. While it is a staple on my holiday table, it is perfect all year round with grilled meats and fish. It works well in sandwiches too!
Indian Onion Relish: This one is usually disguised in brighter red colors and is usually found is a lot of Indian restaurants. I have a home style recipe that is fresh and flavorful.
Mint and Cilantro Chutney: Another classic recipe, this one really has me hoping that summer will be on its way soon. I usually dry and powder mint from my garden in summer and use it with cilantro in the colder months to make this chutney.
Tamarind Chutney: This brown sweet and sour chutney is another favorite. I have so many versions of it, it has various uses but great as an accompaniment with pakoras or samosas, and I use it for my favorite recipe of wings.
Raita: This Indian yogurt salad is usually best in summer, but a great accompaniment for all spicy meals. There are many variations, with the classic version being a cucumber raita.
Apple and Cranberry Relish: Now this one is a slightly whimsical recipe, but what’s the point of cooking if we do not have some fun.
Cucumber and Sprouted Bean Salad: This is a classic light salad, there are several variations of this on the Indian table. Again the purpose of these salads are much like the raita, they balance a spicy meal.
While I have not included pickles such as spicy mango pickles on this list, because they are not always easy to make with the temperamental sunshine we have, it is easy enough to pick up a nice bottle of spicy pickle and add to your table.