Tamarind chutney/Imli chutney is a tangy-sweet chutney that is a must-have for almost all chaats. Chaats are generally particular kinds of snacks sold by street vendors in North India. There are so many chaats and even more variations to it. Pani puri, Sev puri, dahi puri, Tikkis, are some examples of chaats.
Imli chutney is also called khatta meeta chutney, and it is used both as a condiment as well as a dipping sauce. Imli is tamarind in Hindi so obviously, the main ingredient is tamarind. The sweetness comes mainly from the jaggery, but dates and raisins are also added.
I have adapted this recipe from the one taught in my cookery class. Since I could access the soft dates, I used them as is after removing the seeds. But if you happen to get the tough ones do soak them in water before grinding.
Raisins are not a must. They add to the natural sweetness. You can omit it if you do not like it. In fact, dates can also be omitted and the Tamarind chutney/Imli chutney can be made with just tamarind and jaggery.
But I prefer it this way as we get the added goodness of dates and raisins, esp with kids who do not consume both 😀 . The flavor comes from quite a few spice powders that are added.
The best chutney is the one that is perfectly balanced with regard to tanginess and sweetness. So add or reduce accordingly.
This chutney stayed for more than 3 months in the refrigerator, and maybe it will, even longer. So if you frequently make chaats, then you can make a big batch of the Tamarind chutney/Imli chutney and store it.
I tend to make small batches as chaats are occasional in our house 🙂 .
Let’s get to the recipe…..
Tamarind chutney/Imli chutney
- a lemon-sized ball of tamarind
- ¼ cup jaggery/gur
- 4 dates
- 1 tbsp raisins
- 1 whole Kashmiri red chilly
- 1 tbsp oil
- ⅛ tsp black salt
- ¼ tsp cumin seeds/jeera
- ⅛ tsp ginger powder
- ⅛ tsp hing/asafoetida
- a pinch turmeric powder
- 1½ cup water(or as needed)
- salt as needed
- Keep the ingredients ready. In a mixer, grind the tamarind, dates, raisins, and chilly to a nice paste using water.
- Strain this and keep it aside.
- In a pan heat the oil and splutter the cumin seeds. Next, add the ground paste and all the powders.
- Let it boil for a few minutes. Then add the jaggery and keep boiling till it thickens and reaches the desired consistency. Adjust salt and seasonings and turn off the flame.
- Cool down and transfer to an airtight glass or ceramic container. Store it in the refrigerator. Use it to make chaats or serve as a dipping sauce with chaats.
- Add as much jaggery as needed to balance the tanginess of the tamarind.
- More dates can also be added if you prefer.
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