How to Thicken Chutney

Published Categorized as Cooking Tips
Watery chutneyneillangan /Depositphotos

Struggling to get your chutney to be thick, rich, and tangy? We’re here to help.

Chutney comes in all flavors and forms; it’s the perfect condiment for almost any meal. And, since you are at Home Cook World, the only thing that’s more delicious than store-bought chutney is making your own.

The thing about chutney is that it can be difficult to master—and one of the biggest challenges with any chutney recipe is getting the consistency right. Matters are complicated when you don’t get there, and you need to fix it.

There’s more than one way to chicken chutney. All of them will, however, will affect the product in different ways: and not just the flavor, but also the aroma and the appearance.

To thicken chutney, you need to find the right method and ration. Depending on the type of chutney and the flavor you want the thickener to give it, you can use corn flour, pectin powder, and grated apples.

Now that you have the long and the short of it, let’s dive deep into the secrets to thickening your chutney like a champ.

Using Corn Flour to Thicken Chutney

When using this method to thicken your chutney, always do this at the very end and over a low flame; cornflour can cause your chutney to burn much faster. 

Here is a recipe for chutney and when you should add cornflour if you desire to thicken your chutney in this manner:

Ingredients:

  • 4 pounds of tomatoes 
  • ¼ cup garlic, minced
  • 1 cup onions, chopped 
  • ¾ cup white sugar 
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 1 tablespoon pickling salt 
  • 1 ½ cup apple cider vinegar 
  • 1 lime, zested
  • 2 teaspoons hot pepper flakes 
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger 
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin 
  • ½ tablespoon black pepper 

Directions:

  1. Prep the tomatoes by coring them and cutting them into small pieces with your chef’s knife. You can use a food processor but, if you do, it is best to do so in batches so that they chop evenly;
  2. Combine all the ingredients with the tomatoes in a big stockpot; 
  3. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once your mixture is boiling, bring it down to a simmer and keep it simmering for 2 hours (or until your mixture has thickened);
  4. If your mixture has not thickened after 2 hours, you can now add your cornflour. Mix 2 tablespoons of cornflour with 1 teaspoon of vinegar;
  5. Stir into your chutney until it has thickened and remove from the heat shortly after. 

Cornflour is an easy way to thicken chutney, but it is tricky. That’s because cornflour burns easily when heated, and a burnt chutney is anything but a tasty chutney (seriously, who likes it acrid and bitter?!).

Luckily, there are other, easier methods to thicken your chutney. 

Using Pectin Powder to Thicken Chutney

If you are not familiar with pectin powder, pectin is a polysaccharide starch found in the cell walls of fruits and vegetables, including apples. Essentially, pectin mimics the function of gelatin.

When pectin powder is cooked (and stirred) with sugar and acids over relatively high heat, it creates a jelly-like texture.

Here is a guideline when using pectin powder to thicken your chutney.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 apples (Granny Smith), cored, peeled, and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds
  • ¾ cup raisins
  • Salt to taste
  • ¾ cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pectin powder

Directions:

  1. Start by combining all the ingredients in a large pot. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Once the mixture is boiling, turn down the heat and leave to simmer for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally;
  2. If your apple chutney is not the thickness you desire, add a teaspoon of pectin powder at this point and leave to simmer for a further 20 minutes, stirring now and then, or until the mixture has reached the thickness you desire.

If you don’t want to use pectin powder, you can always follow the natural way of thickening your chutney by adding grated apples.

This is, however, a bit trickier than using the powder as grated apples don’t meld well with the ingredients of every chutney (more on that in a minute).

Using Apples to Thicken Chutney

Pectin is found in the walls of fruits, especially apples. Apples can help to thicken almost anything, even soup!

When making traditional fruit chutney, apples won’t influence the taste. Just make sure to use a tangy apple, as using a sweet apple will make your chutney overly sweet.

Here is a guide to using apples as a thickening agent when making fruit chutney.

 Ingredients: 

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest 
  • 3 cups brown sugar 
  • 1 cup chopped apricots 
  • 1 pear (peeled and chopped) 
  • ½ cup dried currents 
  • 1 large tart apple, cored, chopped, and peeled

Directions:

  1. Start by adding all your ingredients to a large pot and bring to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling, turn down the heat and leave to simmer for 40 minutes. 
  2. If your mixture is not the desired consistency after 40 minutes, add one grated apple to the mixture and leave to simmer for a further 20 minutes. 

There are other tricks and tips to thicken your chutney. Although they may not be as sufficient as pectin powder and corn starch, they can still work.

Alternatives to Thickening Chutney

An alternative way to thicken your chutney can include: 

  1. Use a pan or pot with a big surface. This will allow the heat to distribute evenly so that more of the moisture evaporates and your chutney comes out thicker; 
  2. If your chutney is too runny at the end, you can always transfer it to an even bigger pot and leave it to simmer for a further 30 minutes; 
  3. If your chutney is still runny at the end, transfer it to a microwave-proof dish (in batches) and microwave it until it thickens. This method will also keep your mixture from burning. 

Conclusion

Chutney can be extremely tricky to thicken. There is a fine line between perfect, runny, and burned. Use the methods mentioned above to thicken your chutney. Even if it is trial and error, you will find the ideal combination when it comes to thickening your chutney.