If asked about accompaniments that you simply need in your kitchen, most young Indians would talk about Mint Chutney, Mango Chutney, Tomato Ketchup, Schezwan Chutney, and the like.
Mint and Mango Chutney are fine, but what about Schezwan Chutney? Chinese dishes have a lot of Sauces- we know about Soya Sauce, Chilli Sauce, Sweet and Sour Sauce, Black Bean Sauce and the like, but Schezwan ‘Chutney’ seems relatively new.
This ‘Indianized’ version of Schezwan Sauce has become so popular in the last few years, that you can now find it in many urban Indian kitchens. Though Schezwan Chutney could be found in most Chinese restaurants across India, it is only now that young Indians are experimenting and replacing traditional accompaniments with ‘fusion’ ones like Schezwan Chutney.
First things first, what is Schezwan?
Schezwan is a misspelling of the word ‘Sichuan’, a province in Southwestern China. The Sichuan province is known for its spicy food, which contains generous amounts of Sichuan peppercorns. Famously known for its mouth-numbing spiciness, we Indians use locally-available Red Chillies in place of these peppercorns.
Difference between Schezwan Sauce and Schezwan Chutney
Though both seem the same, there are a few differences between the two. Firstly, Schezwan Chutney is thick, coarse, and spicy while Schezwan Sauce is thin, smooth, and sour besides being spicy. While Schezwan Chutney has a dark red colour with a thick consistency, Schezwan Sauce is light red with a liquid texture. Schezwan Sauce is used almost exclusively as an ingredient while Schezwan Chutney finds its use both as an ingredient and an accompaniment.
Unconventional uses of Schezwan Chutney
- Schezwan Poha- Who knew you could add a Chinese ‘tadka’ to your regular kanda-poha? This simple, yet tasty breakfast dish can be monotonous after some time, especially for the kids. You can add Schezwan Chutney as a ‘secret ingredient’ to get your kids to eat their food. Your children will surely be asking for more.
- Schezwan Dosa- The humble dosa has a lot of varieties. For those who want something different, Schezwan dosa is a great option. To put it simply, you can just add a spoonful of Schezwan Chutney and a dollop of butter to your plain dosa for best results.
- Schezwan Bhel- We all love the tangy and spicy taste of bhel puri when we are outdoors and crave for a quick snack. Adding a big helping of Schezwan Chutney to the bhel can enhance the taste of regular bhel puri several notches higher.
- Schezwan Idli- What do you usually do with your extra idlis? If you threw them away, Schezwan Chutney is a great option to revive them to their past glory. You can either use Schezwan chutney as a dip or fry the idlis with some veggies after coating them with Schezwan chutney.
- Schezwan Uttapam- Just mix Schezwan Chutney with your regular vegetables that go on your Uttapam. Cook your Uttapam just as you would, and serve it with coconut and Schezwan Chutney. This is a perfect dish to serve to your guests.
- Schezwan Samosa- A unique Indo-Chinese fusion snack, Schezwan samosas are now found in many snack stalls and restaurants in major cities. Schezwan samosas come with a never-experienced-before taste, perfect for those who want something different.
Conventional uses of Schezwan Chutney
- As a dip- Schezwan Chutney is known to be used as a dip with Momos, Spring Rolls, Fried Chicken, and so on. Some people even use this Schezwan ki Chutni to replace other kinds of sauces and ketchup for the best results.
- As an ingredient- There are literally hundreds of recipes available online which use Schezwan Chutney to make yummy dishes with instant noodles, chicken, pizza, exotic vegetables, and so on. Some people also tend to use Schezwan Chutney as an alternative to Schezwan Sauce.
A few last words...
Traditional ketchup and Chutneys are fine, the demand for fusion accompaniments like this Indo-Chinese Schezwan ki Chutney is increasing. Initially available only at restaurants, Schezwan Chutney is now available at every neighborhood kirana where people are experimenting with their cooking skills as many of them work from home.