Chutney (also transliterated chatney or chatni) is a family of condiments from South Indian cuisine that usually contain some mixture of spice(s), vegetable(s), and/or fruit(s). There are many varieties of chutney.
Chutneys may be either wet or dry, and can have a coarse to a fine texture. The Indian word refers to fresh and pickled preparations indiscriminately, with preserves often sweetened. Several Indian languages use the word for fresh preparations only. A different word achār (Hindi: अचार) applies to preserves that often contain oil and are rarely sweet. Vinegar, citrus, tamarind, or lemon juice may be added as natural preservatives, or fermentation in the presence of salt may be used to create acid.
Traditionally, chutneys are ground with a mortar and pestle made of stone or an ammikkal (Tamil). Spices are added and ground, usually in a particular order; the wet paste thus made is sautéed in vegetable oil, usually gingelly or peanut (groundnut) oil. Electric blenders or food processors can be used as labor-saving alternatives to stone grinding.