Mama’s Punjabi Recipes – Pudine Ki Chatni (Mint Chutney)


This is a condiment that Punjabis can’t claim as their own as it is made and eaten all over India as a sauce to dip savory appetizers like pakoras (fried vegetable fritters), samosas (fried stuffed dumplings), tikkas (pan roasted potato patties) and many more salt and spicy snacks. There are other types of chutneys too – like imbli (tamarind) and narial (coconut) which go with different snacks.

Chutneys are usually made of herbs and spices for seasoning which are ground together with some vinegar, lemon or tamarind juice to add the tanginess. Spices most commonly used include methi (fenugreek), dhania (coriander), jeera (cumin) and hing (asafoetida). If you really like another herb then you can try adding it and experiment with the taste.

There are many varieties of chutneys and their ways of preparation vary across the Indian Sub-Continent. Major Grey’s Chutney, an Anglicized variety which is sweet and spicy with raisins, mango, vinegar, lime juice, onion and tamarind, is popular in the UK and the US and was reputedly created by a 19th-century British Army officer who served in Colonial India.

Now the concept of chutney (even salsa can be considered a type of chutney) has spread across the world and has been changed to suit local needs. In parts of the Caribbean – Guyana, Trinidad and Suriname – there is even a type of dance music called chutney music which is a mixture of calypso, cadence and Indian musical instruments like the dholak, tabla and dhantal.

Here some people – and especially restaurants – add yogurt to bring some tanginess, but it makes the chutney appear light green and too much can make the chutney very thin. Proper chutney should be a thin paste, good enough for dipping. I have discovered that the avocado helps to keep the water in mint chutney from running. All the ingredients are natural and help in digestion.


2 medium bunches of pudina (mint) – the Indian variety has a stronger taste

2 medium bunches of dhania (coriander)

2 medium bunches of niajboh (basil). Also called pabri or jungli tulsi

2 small hari Shimla mirch (green bell pepper)

2 medium hari mirch (green pepper). Green jalapenos can be used too

1 small clump of adrak (ginger)

1 large piyaaz (onion) – peeled and chopped

1 small avocado (this helps the consistency)

1 tsp chinni (sugar)

1 tbsp amchoor (dried mango powder). Added for tanginess

Spices to taste: 1 tsp namak (salt), 1 tsp mirch (red pepper)


Wash all the herbs well in running water to get all the dirt and soil out. Remove the stalks from the mint, coriander and basil.

Peel the ginger, onions and avocado; cut these and the bell pepper and green pepper into small quarters and set aside.

Place all the green herbs, ginger and onion in an electric blender and set to puree, making sure that ingredients mix well.

Now add the salt, pepper and amchoor to taste and mix in the blender again.

Add the avocado and run in the blender again. Pour the chutney into a bowl and chill in the refrigerator before serving.

mamas recipe inside3Shakuntla Malhotra is a skilled cook of Punjabi dishes made in the old-fashioned style that she learnt as a young woman in her ancestral home in Lyallpur, India before it became part of Pakistan after the Partition in 1947. People have often admired her cooking for its simplicity and taste that comes with each mouthful. Even in her mid-eighties, she continues to cook daily and agreed to share some of her delectable Punjabi recipes.