When I was a kid, I loved to rifle through my mom’s recipe box. There were some treasured family recipes in there that we’d make from time to time, including one my grandmother kept from her catering days: Narsai’s Chutney Cheese Paté.
In the 1970s, my grandma Rachel worked with Narsai David, a Bay Area restaurateur and caterer who later went on to have a career in TV and radio. As it turns out, the chutney cheese paté recipe was actually given to him by another well-known Bay Area food personality, Shirley Sarvis. She worked at Sunset Magazine and then went on to a freelance career, writing for magazines and authoring several cookbooks. Needless to say, this recipe has a pretty cool history!
Simplifying an Already Simple Recipe
Shirley’s original version is the one we’d make in my house growing up. In her version, you beat together cream cheese and shredded cheddar spiked with curry powder, sherry, and hot sauce. That mixture is spread on a platter, chilled, then topped with chutney and green onions just before serving.
I wanted to make a version of this that was still delicious but didn’t require any blending or chilling. You can truly put this together in five minutes, right before your guests arrive. Spread a layer of cream cheese in a serving dish, then top it with layers of shredded sharp cheddar, store-bought mango chutney, and green onions.
How To Make This Chutney Cheese Appetizer
For a small dish of this appetizer (serves about four), I spread half an 8-ounce tub of whipped cream cheese in a dish, top with about 1/2 cup of shredded cheese, then top with half an 8.5-ounce jar of chutney, and sprinkle with a tablespoon or so of sliced green onions.
You can easily double these quantities and spread out the ingredients in a larger dish to accommodate more people. Serve with a spreading knife and some crackers.
The Best Cream Cheese and Chutney
You’ll definitely want to use whipped cream cheese for this recipe—the fluffy and scoopable kind that comes in a tub, not a bar. It’s easily spreadable straight out of the tub, and no softening is required. That’s a big part of what makes this recipe so fast and easy to pull off last minute!
As for the chutney, I like Trader Joe’s Sri Lankan Mango Chutney. It’s got a nice hit of warm spices with bits of diced mango throughout. If you can’t find the TJ’s one, go with any mango chutney labeled “Major Grey’s,” which is the style used here. You can of course make your own if you want to.
A Cocktail or Dinner Party Favorite
The strong flavors of sharp cheddar and mango chutney pair really well with cocktails, especially something whiskey-based like a Manhattan or an old fashioned. A big red wine isn’t a bad choice either.
Set out a plate of chutney cheese paté and crackers when guests first arrive, and they’ll be happy to have something delicious to nibble on before dinner or with other appetizers as part of a spread.
Our Favorite Appetizer Recipes
- Cranberry Walnut Baked Brie
- Gouda and Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms
- Crash Hot Potatoes with Smoked Salmon
- Potato Skins
- Mushroom Crostini