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Tamarind Chutney Default

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This sweet-sour chutney is more like a sauce, and there are many regional variations. The base is tamarind, a very sour pod 3 to 4 inches (7.5 to 10 cm) long. The tamarind tree grows in many parts of India and also in Mexico. For this sauce, use the compressed slab-like tamarind available in Asian stores, not the “instant” kind. The fresh pods available in grocery stores are not suitable for this recipe.

Yield: Makes 1½ cups (375 ml)


  • 1 cup (250 ml) tamarind water (see Notes)
  • ¾ cup (175 ml) chopped dates or ½ cup (125 ml) jaggery (sugur)
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp (2 ml) cumin powder
  • ½ tsp (2 ml) salt or to taste


1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine tamarind water and dates. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until mixture begins to thicken, 5 to 8 minutes. After mixture has thickened, mash with a spoon.

2. Add cayenne pepper, cumin, salt and ¾ cup (175 ml) water. Simmer for 5 minutes to allow flavors to blend.

3. Press through large-holed strainer to make a thick, smooth sauce-like chutney. Let cool to room temperature and serve as a dipping sauce with appetizers. (Chutney can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several months. Do not freeze.)


To make tamarind water: Cut 1-inch (2.5 cm) strip from tamarind slab, about 2 oz (60 g). Break into smaller pieces and soak in 1¼ cups (300 ml) hot water for 30 minutes. Soften between fingers to make a pulp. Strain through large-holed strainer into bowl, pushing with back of spoon to extract as much pulp as possible. Discard rest.

© 2004 Suneeta Vaswani

Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

Nutritional information is based on 24 servings.

18kcal (1%)
5mg (1%)
0mg (0%)
2mcg RAE (0%)
0mg (0%)
49mg (2%)
0g (0%)
0g (0%)
0mg (1%)

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