Spiced Tamarind Chutney Recipe

Subtly spiced and earthly sweet.

A wide, shallow cream-colored ceramic bowl with brown speckles of glaze on it, holding chunky tamarind chutney and a metal spoon. The bowl is placed on a copper tray and in the top left corner of the image is another similar bowl holding a different sauce.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Why It Works

  • Palm sugar and dates give this chutney body and earthy sweetness.
  • Ground ginger and Kashmiri red chile powder add savory spice and depth.

It's rare to find mint chutney without its partner in crime, sweet-and-sour tamarind chutney. Store-bought and restaurant versions are often sickly-sweet, loaded with corn syrup and sugar. Instead, my homemade chutney recipe gets its body and mellow sweetness from chewy dates and earthy palm sugar.

Tamarind can be found in many forms, from jarred concentrates to dried whole pods. Here, I've used seedless tamarind paste, which gives all the flavor of the fresh pods without any of the fuss. A quick steep in hot water softens the dates and tamarind and melts the palm sugar, readying it all to be blended into a smooth chutney.

November 2017

This recipe was originally published as a component of our Papri Chaat (Indian Street Snack With Potato, Chickpeas, and Chutneys) Recipe and is being republished here as a separate recipe to make it easier to use.

Recipe Facts

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 25 mins
Serves: 1/4 cup
Makes: 1 1/2 cups

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Ingredients

  • 4 medjool dates (40g), pitted

  • 1/3 cup (85g) tamarind paste (not concentrate)

  • 1/2 teaspoon (2g) ginger powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon (1g) Kashmiri red chile powder (see note)

  • 1/3 cup (100g) palm sugar or light brown sugar

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, combine dates, tamarind paste, ginger powder, chile powder, sugar, and 3/4 cup (175ml) water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside, covered, for 10 minutes to soften the tamarind paste and dates. 

    A four-image collage. The top left image shows the tamarind paste being transferred from a small white ramekin into a stainless steel pot. The top right image shows the sugar being transferred into the pot. The bottom left image shows the spices being transferred into the pot. The bottom right image shows the ingredients fully incorporated in the pot and coming to a boil.

    Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

  2. Using a blender, purée until smooth (if chutney is too thick, add 1 tablespoon of hot water at a time to reach desired consistency), then pass through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any fibrous bits. Store in an airtight container.

    A two-image collage. The top image shows the cooked tamarind chutney being poured from a stainless steel pot into a blender. The bottom image shows the interior of the blender bowl holding the thick, blended chutney.

    Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Notes

Kashmiri red chile powder is mild and fruity. If you cannot find it and wish to substitute cayenne pepper, be sure to cut the amount used in the recipe by half.

Special Equipment

Fine mesh strainer

Make-Ahead and Storage

The chutney will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
2890 Calories
3g Fat
739g Carbs
14g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1/4
Amount per serving
Calories 2890
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 4%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 226mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 739g 269%
Dietary Fiber 31g 109%
Total Sugars 636g
Protein 14g
Vitamin C 12mg 60%
Calcium 424mg 33%
Iron 15mg 82%
Potassium 3548mg 75%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)