It is called Chutneys in India, Dips or Sauces with Continental food and in proper Tamil it is known as Thovial. These are more of accompaniments to enhance the food that is served with a tangy or sweet flavour. A special meal in Tamilnadu will have a special Thovial which the elderly ladies make with a lot of care. These can be made out of Fruits, Herbs, Vegetables, Fresh Leaves, Nuts and Pulses. In South India, TamilNadu is famous for chutneys made out of Tamarind, Cilantro, and Pulses, Kerala for Coconut and Andhra/Karnataka for Chilly and Greens.
Now, if you want to have a punch to your food try a Chutney;but remember it has to colourful, tangy, spicy, lip smacking and Yummmmy!!