Sitting silently on the side of most plates, this flavour bomb gives an edge to every dish. You guessed it right — the humble chutney.

Do you know when and from where we get our favourite chutneys? Here are some theories and ideas.

One of the popular stories dates back to the 17th century when Mughal emperor Shah Jahan fell ill and was advised to eat something spicy yet easy to digest.

This is believed to have led to the invention of chaat — made using healthy ingredients like pulses and lentils.

It was spiced up with a drizzle of coriander and mint chutney, along with sweet and tangy tamarind chutney.

While this story gives a simple explanation, food historians do not believe that chaat led to the invention of chutney.

They indicate that it might be older than any other recipe known by us, humans. The word chutney comes from the Sanskrit word ‘chaatni’ meaning ‘to lick’.

“It was most likely ‘invented’ by our hunting-gathering ancestors by accident, maybe even before cooking transformed our eating habits,” said food historian Pushpesh Pant to The Indian Express.

Chutney has evolved drastically over time, and food historians indicate India’s colonial past to be one of the reasons for its transition from traditional spicy to sweet chutney options.

The sweet chutneys of Bengal, said to be inspired by British jams and marmalades, were adorned with expensive dry fruits and were a symbol of status and affluence.

On the other hand, in Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Jharkhand, these condiments were treated as a primary source of carbohydrates and protein.

Be it as taste enhancers or as nutritious add-ons, chutneys will always be a great source of satisfaction for every desi palate.