« Mushroom soy sauce (Recipe: beef and broccoli stir fry) | Main | A Bookworm who loves ... grapefruit? »

Chutney (Recipe: curried shrimp and pasta salad)


If I say "hot and spicy chutney" and your hips -- not your lips -- start to twitch, you've come to the right place.

After all, would the Pantry be perfect without music that raises your heartbeat and turns your cooking time into a dance party?

I think not.

Chutney, the lively music indigenous to the southern Caribbean (particularly Trinidad and Tobago, with its large population of Indian heritage), tosses together soca, classical Indian, reggae and calypso rhythms with lyrics sung in English and Hindi -- an exciting blend that makes it almost impossible to stand still when you hear it.

Chutney, a lively relish served with almost every Indian meal, tosses together many ingredients to create an exciting condiment that makes it almost impossible to sit still without clapping your hands in delight.

Much like salsa (which is also both a condiment and dance music), chutney brings together fruits, vegetables, heat from peppers, sugar, spice and, often, astringency. Chutney can be fresh, in which case it often does not contain vinegar or lime, or it can be cooked and preserved, in a style more popular with American and European palates. The base of chutney might be fruit (apples, tomato, tamarind, bananas, peaches), or coconut, or onions, or herbs (coriander and mint are common), or nuts. From the pear trees in front of my house, we harvest each autumn and make batches of pear-and-ginger chutney for Thanksgiving (we make cranberry chutney for the holidays, too). Almost any flavor of chutney would work well in these delicious cheese puffs or breakfast toast.

In the US and Britain, the most popular chutney is still Major Grey, a cooked relish made from mangoes and named for a mythical 18th Century British officer who may, or may not, have loved curries and may, or may not, have created this relish to last through the long journeys between far-flung outposts of the empire.

Curried shrimp and pasta salad

One of the most frequently used books in my library is a little paperback volume published in 1990, Condiments! Chutneys, Relishes & Table Sauces, by Jay Solomon, who owned a restaurant in Ithaca, New York. I love recipes that incorporate chutney into the sauce, though it's great slathered on sandwiches, too. I've adapted this recipe slightly. It's a perfect picnic dish, which makes it perfect for autumn hiking, too. Serves 4-6.


8 oz dry rotini or cavatappi
6 broccoli florets
20-24 medium-size shrimp (31-40 size), deveined and cooked
2 apples, diced (do not peel)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 small red onion, minced
1 cup fresh shredded coconut
1/2 cup chutney (mango, nectarine, pineapple, cranberry, tomato -- whatever flavor you have on hand)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise or plain yogurt
1-1/2 Tbsp curry powder
1/2 Tbsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp Tabasco or other hot sauce
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp turmeric        
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper


Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the pasta, and boil until al dente, about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain and rinse under cool water.

Blanch the broccoli in boiling water to cover for 3-4 minutes. Drain and cool under cold running water.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the pasta and broccoli with remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Wrap tightly and chill for at least 2 hours before serving, to allow the flavors to combine. Serve at room temperature.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:

Orzo, dittalini, annelini (Recipe: Curried orzo chicken salad)
Rice vermicelli (Recipe: Bun gao)
Miracle Whip (Recipe: Wild rice salad)
Curry powder (Recipe: Curried squash, apple and pear soup)

Need more ideas for how to create salads with pizzazz? Get Dress Up Your Salad, my e-book packed with easy mix-and-match recipes, full-color photos and a few fun videos. Exciting salad recipes from everyday ingredients can be just one click away, on any computer, tablet or smart phone, with the FREE Kindle Reading app. Click here to learn more.

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


What a lovely recipe Lydia. Life would be very dull without chutney!

This is a very interesting recipe. Thanks for sharing Lydia!

I´m being very lazy about chutyneying this year, let´s hope I can get my act together before the last of the good fruits go. I adore chutney.

Making homemade chutney has long been on my list of things to do. hopefully this will get me motivated!
The best way to eat chutney is over a tiny piece of mature cheddar covertly snatched from the fridge!


Lucy, I agree -- about the relish, and the music!

Anh, enjoy!

Lobster, I haven't made my pear chutney yet, either. Actually, I'm hoping my friend Candy's husband is reading this ... he's made great chutney from our pears (hint, hint).

B, the first time I had chutney and cheddar was in a pub in London many years ago -- I'd never heard of a ploughman's lunch before, and I was delighted to find that it was both cheap and tasty -- cheese, chutney and bread.

I adore chutney so I'm sure I'd love this. Thanks for the idea! Sounds wonderful.

I am scheduling Dave now for a pear harvest and chutney-making afternoon! Wonderful!

Ooh...I would love to put this on cheese puffs!

This summer I made a very easy plum and walnut chutney with the plums from our ancient tree. What a great addition it is to simple sausage suppers. Your recipe sounds terrific.

Truffle, I discovered chutney later in life, but I love it, too.

Candy, yippee! His pear chutney is the best.

Veron, I don't know why chutney and cheese work so well together, but they do. I like chutney with gooey cheese like brie, too.

Casey, plum chutney sounds divine -- I've never made it, but I love all plums, especially the little prune plums we're seeing at the farm stand now. Great idea, to pair it with sausage.

Oh how interesting! I didn't know that chutney was also a type of dance music. I love chutneys in all forms. I'm still trying to get this terrific chutney (spiced dates, apricots, and other yummy stuff) recipe off my friend's dad.

I must admit, the whole chutney/salsa/relish thing can get a bit confusing. As usual, you helped shed light on it. Thanks, Lydia!

I've always wondered who the eponymous Major Grey must be? No doubt partial to swashbuckling expeditions, bouts of malaria, and the immodest shaking and swaying of hips indeed! The pasta recipe sounds delish- I used to live in Ithaca, which restaurant was it?

Nora, did you click on the music link in my post? You can sample a dozen different cuts of "hot and spicy chutney" -- it's really fun! And when you get that great-sounding recipe, please share.

Susan, I think it's a fine line... if there were such a thing as "relish music", we'd never be able to tell them all apart!

Callipygia, try as I might, I could not get a definitive answer to the Major Grey question. He may, or may not, have been a real person, but I come down on the side of a fictional character. The restaurant, I believe, was called Jay's Cafe.

Like chutneys with roti...indian all the way :D

This entire post has my hips starting to twitch. ;-)


Tigerfish, me too. I like roti with anything....

Paz, glad to hear it! I remember going to a street festival in NYC a few years ago where there was chutney music blasting from giant speakers, and people were dancing in the street. I loved it.

I LOVED this music!!! Got me dancing at my computer... My husband Tom was in the kitchen dishing up his breakfast and said, "What are you listening to in there???" Little does he know this is the same music he will be soon be enjoying too, as I ordered a copy! Great music to cook by or just get in a happy mood! Thanks.

Chutney makes everything better.... Try it on some chicken sauages fresh off the grill. I'm partial to peach chutney made with fresh ginger and some chopped lemon.

Has anyone ever heard of Miso Chutney...never tried it myself, but saw it in our old "Whole Grocer" before the change to Whole Foods...just clicked on the music again for my sister Ruth and did a little dance while siting at my computer. FUN! TGIF

Mon mari's mother (apparently) made a wonderful chutney and my s-i-l and I have both worked to try and re-create from various notes, etc. So far it has been declared good, but not 'right'. I'm happy with 'good'.
I would not have thought to use it with pasta...must get outside that damn box!

I have got to try this... I love spicy chutney.
A while back I posted a recipe for chili with chutney in it. You'd love it!

Meg, you crack me up! I do think this is great cooking music -- you'll have to let me know what you make while you're playing it.

Jessica, I love love love peach chutney. Should have raided a friend's tree this year to get some peaches... but we're working on our pear supply instead!

Katie, pasta goes with anything, doesn't it?! Now, I wonder what made your mother-in-law's chutney so special?

Sandi, I'm posting the link to your recipe -- thanks for reminding me!

I will let you know...my sister Ruth and I will probably be dancing around the kitchen and laughing so hard. We laugh at anything...each other and...mostly our own jokes.

Also, back to the bookworm thing, I tried to type this to you a while back but it failed, but..do you read David Sedaris? On one of his books on tape he mentions that he has been listening to a lot of books on tape lately...then he asks, "Does this make me a tapeworm?"

Maybe you might include bookworms &tapeworms?

Meg, tapeworms are welcome... but I'll always think of them as Bookworms! And yes, I love David Sedaris.

Lydia, I'm dazzled by your ability to uncover the most amazing information for every ingredient! Here's my husband's creation (circa 1967): Chicken Fricassee -- put in pot 1 bottle ketchup, 1 jar Earl Gray Chutney, 1 chicken (in pieces), lots of onions, cook until done.

Susan, I like your husband's style! Actually that sounds like it would be a good slow-cooker recipe.

I do buy Major Grey mango chutney, and Baxters tomato. I use dto make chutney a lot, hopefully I'll fall back into making it again...

We get Pataks here as well, but more pastes, have never seen their chutney, and with ginger mmm!

I was reading the bit about the chutney music - will never look at my jars in the fridge the same again, shakey shakey da da dee!

If you get a chance check out Adekun's Japan Blog (Sept 4th) as he too has a post on Chutney! www.blog.adekun.com

Meg, will do. Thanks!

The mail just came, and in it my CD of Hot & Spicy Chutney Music...that was fast! Well, put it on while working...not cooking. It made me get up and dance...well,"moving to the music" anyway. Then there were carrots out on the counter...so, picked two out and rapped to the beat of the music on my chopping board...got the dog (Cuddles, a minuture male poodle) barking at me! Fun energizing music, two thumbs up!

Meg, this puts a smile on my face! The music has exactly the same effect on me.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.