Hey there everybody. Last week, we looked at what was supposed to be a smoky mango sauce and, while it was pretty tasty, it most certainly wasn’t what it said on the label. So, in order to get our fix of the fruit and celebrate national curry week correctly, I’m going to spend today’s post looking at a pair of chutneys:
A pair that promise the same product type, yet take it in completely different directions, with completely different chillies.
In the plain white label, decorated with leafy filigree around the company’s name and slogan, we have Village on the Hill’s traditional take. A kashmiri-style mango chutney with real kashmiri mirchi – The rich, red and mild chilli that we looked at way back when I was trying out Kay Plunkett-Hogge’s pavlova.
While, in a far darker jar, brightened up with the yellow of the chilli inside, we have Prices Spices’ Lucknow Mango Chutney – A version made using the aji limon, sometimes known as “lemondrop”.
Its pepper is far from traditional, hailing from peru, but I find it does at least as much to add brightness to moroccan and indian cooking as it does for its native, fish-based cuisine. And, indeed, it livens up a curry just as nicely as its colour does the label.
Upon going in for a taste, however, I come across something quite unexpected.
The citrus undertones of the pepper don’t exactly stand out in this chunky chutney – Unsurprising, given the low chilli content – but they really help highlight the product’s abnormally high fruit content.
The company talk about its “lovely cardamom flavour” but that’s not the focus of their Lucknow chutney at all. There’s cardamom in it but it’s the sheer intensity and quality of the sweet, ever so slightly citrus-edged mango, with its light garlic finish that wows me.
It seems as if Prices Spices have made something at odds to their own ethos, here, completely sidelining the spices that they normally use both so heavily and so well. Yet, uncharacteristic as it may be, this chutney is yet another masterpiece from the company. A mango chutney to really satisfy the mango lovers among you.
One which uses its chilli subtly and imparts only a
heat with it, yet picked perfectly from a flavour standpoint.
If you enjoy your tropical fruit as much as I do, you can stop reading now. Prices Spices have the perfect chutney for you. But, ironically, today’s second option is more suited to the spice lovers in the room. Or at least the lovers of spices.
Village on the Hill make a far more savoury version of a mango chutney that I absolutely had to pick up when I was at Challock Chilli Fest, because of just how different it was. In fact, you wouldn’t even know that it was a mango chutney from looking at it:
At first glance, I was thinking passion fruit, from those big black seeds, but no. What those are are an almost unheard of ingredient: The dark seeds of flowering garlic. Similar in flavour to, yet also rather stronger than, the more common nigella.
Between them, the onion and the ginger, this is a very distinctive take on mango chutney but their taste is definitely indian. Nigella being a major ingredient in almost all naan bread, after all. And, likewise, the supporting fenugreek and fennel are far from unusual.
The only oddity here is how bold the spices are allowed to be and how savoury the resulting condiment is allowed to become. Add a dark, savoury, slightly bitter chilli and the sugar in Village on the Hill’s rendition becomes almost unnoticeable.
Today’s two chutneys share a high mango content but, aside from that, they couldn’t be further apart. And, unlike in Prices Spices’, the fruit is only the base of our second item. It doesn’t even come close to dominating Village on the Hill’s thicker spread.
The strength of their product is also noticeably less, at a low
but, honestly, that comes as no surprise to me. It’s quite hard to get anything significant out of the kashmiri mirchi, besides flavour. A flavour that is also subtle here but adds a pleasing, dry red chilli note, if you can look past the more dominant, non-pepper spices.
It’s not my preference, out of today’s pair, but, as I said, I’m a fruit fan who loves mango. If the spices are more of chutney’s draw, for you, you’re going to adore Village on the Hill’s chutney as much as I love Prices Spices’. And I’m still big into both.
Prices Spices’ Lucknow Mango Chutney is made from:
Mango (38%), Demerara Sugar, Mango Pulp (Mango (90%), Sugar, Citric Acid)(30%), Gelling Agent: Pectin, Ginger, Garlic, Aji Limon Chilli (0.5%), Ground Coriander, Cumin Seed, Maldon Sea Salt, Ground Turmeric, Ground Cumin, Ground Cardamom
It’s suggested for poppadoms, paninis and chicken but I reckon that it could glaze other meats, as well, and it’s glorious in a low effort cheese sandwich. Plus, its sweet, fruit forward nature makes for a great jam-substitute on breakfast breads, like crumpets and english muffins, and I can’t help thinking that there has to be a dessert out there that it would be right at home on. Even if I can’t think which.
While Village on the Hill’s Kashmiri Mango Chutney contains:
Mango 73% sugar 13% white wine vinegar 9% onions 5% kashmiri chilli root ginger garlic seeds & spices sea salt lemon juice
And absolutely no commas.
I expect that it will go gorgeously over corn cobs, 📽️ like Mr Vikki’s chutney did 📽️, and it’s going to go just as well into cheese or ham sarnies but I might think twice before pairing it with indian sundries. Because, let’s be real, it’s going to make even regular bread taste like naan.
Conversely, though, I see it being the much better pick from the pair if you want to make a chutney based curry and it’ll keep your chicken rather more savoury than Prices Spices’ would.
Perhaps you could even use it with bold and/or smoky fish, like I did Wiltshire Chilli Farm’s spiced mango sauce. Either as is or as part of a delicious kedgeree.
Ultimately, both are great options with their own strengths and weaknesses and, once again, the choice is up to you and your food. I’d honestly recommend either, even if I do have a bit of a preference, myself.