The Sweet And Sour Chutney Padma Lakshmi Makes Every Thanksgiving

It comes as no surprise whatsoever to find out that Padma Lakshmi doesn't stick to the script when hosting a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Yes, she does serve up a turkey (brined in buttermilk, because it's a chef thing), and for dessert, she may bring out an apple pie. If she does, though, she's likely to serve it with a mini-lesson on how it's not as "all-American" as it's cracked up to be. Delish informs us that the Lakshmi family Thanksgiving is also likely to feature stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, and green beans. But one thing you'll never see on the table is canned cranberry sauce.

Lakshmi says she likes to explore flavors from other cultures in her side dishes as a part of the holiday meal. One year she served up Moroccan preserved lemons, and another year she made a Chinese-inspired stuffing with rice, mushrooms, and Chinese sausage. This year, it seems she's going back to her Indian roots, as she tweeted a video clip showing her preparing chutney.

This chutney is a variant of cranberry sauce

Padma Lakshmi describes the condiment she's making as "a tangy, spicy, Indian-inspired chutney that my sweet great aunt Bala used to make every year around Thanksgiving" (via Twitter). According to a recipe she posted on Instagram, the main ingredient is cranberries, so it can very easily take the place of cranberry sauce. But Lakshmi's aunt's recipe differs from cranberry sauce in that it uses less sugar and is flavored with cayenne, fenugreek, asafetida, and turmeric as opposed to the more familiar orange zest. As Lakshmi explains, though, "I used more sugar & less fenugreek because I want this to be a sweet and sour relish for Thanksgiving."

Her aunt's original recipe, Lakshmi says, appears in the cookbook "Tangy, Tart, Hot, and Sweet." Lakshmi says she used to mix this chutney into hot buttered rice to make a quickie pilaf. She also used it as a condiment, crediting it with having "saved many a turkey sandwich." Her revised recipe has over 38,000 views as the time of writing and has been awarded the standard hearts and smiley faces. One Instagram user, at least, seems to share Lakshmi's aversion to the standard sauce, praising this chutney as "a cranberry sauce I could actually get into."