Tamarind Chutney | Imli Chutney | Meethi Chutney

Susan S. Johnson

Sweet, sour, savoury, imli chutney or tamarind chutney is a riot of flavours! Commonly drizzled on chaats or served as a dipping sauce with fried Indian snacks, this Indian condiment is a total must have. Once you find out just how easy it is to make at home, this sweet chutney will make a permanent place in your kitchen. 

Tamarind Chutney being poured from a spoon into a bowl to show the texture

Indian snacks feel utterly incomplete without a generous side of chutney, don’t you think? Whether it’s the fresh and tart green coriander chutney served with pakoras or the fiery schezwan chutney usually accompanying momos. 

This tamarind chutney is no exception. Made with tamarind and dates, its deliciously sweet, sour and savoury all at once and will make your lips pucker. A common condiment in most Indian households, this sweet chutney for chaat is also surprisingly easy to make and a jar of this will last practically forever! 

If you aren’t already convinced, here are some reasons why you need to make this recipe ASAP: 

  • This one’s a put-it-on-the-stove-and-let-it-do-its-thing kind of recipe. Which means there is very little active cooking involved
  • This chutney stays good in the refrigerator for up to a year
  • Naturally vegan and gluten-free 

What is tamarind chutney made from? 

Tamarind date chutney is a common Indian condiment that is usually used in chaats. This chutney is made using just a handful of ingredients such as tamarind, dates, jaggery and some basic Indian spices. Here’s the complete list of ingredients needed to make this chutney: 

Picture of all the ingredients for tamarind chutney with text overlay
  • Tamarind – Responsible for the sour, tart flavour. I have used deseeded tamarind for this recipe, but sub with store-bought tamarind pulp in a jiffy
  • Dates – Deseeded Dates are most convenient
  • Jaggery – Powdered jaggery works best for this recipe and adds caramelly notes. Sub with sugar, palm sugar or brown sugar in a pinch
  • Spices – Common spices like cumin powder, red chilli powder, dry ginger powder for some heat and extra flavour. 
  • Salt – For flavour and seasoning

What does tamarind chutney taste like? 

Tamarind chutney is a combination of sweet, sour and savoury flavours. Tamarind is responsible for that punchy sourness while dates help balance it out. Jaggery lends a delicious sweetness to the chutney and spices add some heat. 

Step by Step Recipe

Here’s how to make meethi chutney at home:

Step by step picture collage showing how to make tamarind chutney

1. Soak tamarind and dates in hot water for 30 minutes

2. Grind them to a paste in a mixer grinder

Step by step picture collage showing how to make tamarind chutney

3. You may have to repeat the grinding step twice if the mixture doesn’t get ground properly the first time

4. Once ground, sieve the paste to take out the pulp. Try to extract as much pulp as possible and then discard the residue

Step by step picture collage showing how to make tamarind chutney

5. Add the tamarind and dates pulp to a saucepan along with water and spices. Mix well, bring this to a boil and then simmer for 15-20 minutes

6. Add jaggery and mix well. Simmer till it thickens. Cool and store

Imli Chutney: All the tips

  • When grinding the tamarind and dates mixture, make sure to use the same water you soaked them in. This water is infused with flavour from the ingredients, which ensures your chutney turns out a lot more delicious. 
  • Adjust the consistency of the chutney while cooking – I generally like my chutney thick yet runny, but you can keep it as thick or thin as you prefer.  
  • Store the chutney in an airtight container before refrigerating it to keep it fresh for a longer period of time. 
  • This chutney can also be frozen. Simply thaw it out on the kitchen counter before using it. 

Is tamarind paste and chutney the same?

Tamarind paste is one of the main ingredients used to make tamarind chutney, but they are not the same. Tamarind paste is made by soaking tamarind pods in water and then grinding it to a paste. While tamarind chutney uses other ingredients like dates, jaggery powder and spices along with the tamarind paste to form the chutney. 

A spoonful of tamarind chutney being taken out of a bowl

I highly recommend keeping a big jar of this tamarind chutney ready in the refrigerator to go with all the pakoras and samosas you will be making this festive season. Apart from this, some of my favourite chaat recipes to drizzle this meethi chutney over include this easy aloo chaat and my all time favourite pani puri.

Watch the Recipe Video

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A spoonful of tamarind chutney being taken out of a bowl

Tamarind Chutney

Tamarind Chutney is an Indian condiment or sauce that’s sweet, sour, spicy and savoury. Its generally used as an accompaniment to various Indian chaats but also works really well as a dipping sauce or a marinade. A jar will last you over a year in the fridge!

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Course: Dips, Dressings & Sauces

Cuisine: North Indian

Diet: Gluten Free, Hindu, Vegan, Vegetarian

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Servings: 30 servings

Calories: 62kcal

Instructions

  • Soak tamarind in ¾ cup of hot boiling water and soak the dates in 1 cup of hot boiling water for 30 minutes or until it has softened.

  • Transfer the tamarind pulp and date pulp to a mixer and grind until smooth. Use the remaining water as required while grinding the pulp. Do not discard any of the water.

  • Strain the pulp using a fine sieve and extract it as much as possible. Transfer it into a saucepan and heat over medium-low heat.

  • Add jaggery powder, jeera powder, chilli powder, dry ginger powder and salt. Stir to combine and ensure that all the ingredients are properly combined.

  • Continue to heat over low heat for 30-40 minutes or until the desired consistency is achieved. You can adjust the jaggery, salt and masalas as per your taste. Allow it to cool and transfer into an airtight container.

Video

Notes

  • When grinding the tamarind and dates mixture, make sure to use the same water you soaked them in. This water is infused with flavour from the ingredients, which ensures your chutney turns out a lot more delicious. 
  • Adjust the consistency of the chutney while cooking – I generally like my chutney thick yet runny, but you can keep it as thick or thin as you prefer.  
  • Store the chutney in an airtight container before refrigerating it to keep it fresh for a longer period of time.
  • This chutney can also be frozen. Simply thaw it out on the kitchen counter before using it.

Nutrition

Calories: 62kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 0.2g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.01g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.02g | Sodium: 40mg | Potassium: 48mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 19IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 0.3mg

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