Tamarind Chutney also known as Imli Chutney, is a popular Indian condiment used in the preparation of chaat foods and also often served with snacks like Samosa, Kachori, golgappa, pani puri and Pakoras. This sweet & tangy tamarind chutney is extremely flavorful and tastes delicious. A well prepared tamarind chutney elevates the taste & flavor of the chaats & snacks.
So one of the key step to make good chaats is to make a good tamarind chutney first, which has the right balance of sweet, tang and spice with bursting flavors.
What is Tamarind Chutney?
Tamarind Chutney is a sweet & sour Indian condiment made with tamarind, salt, jaggery & ground spice. Optionally dates are added to make it healthier and flavorful. Tamarind Chutney is often used with Coriander Chutney, Red garlic chutney to make chaats like Bhel puri, Aloo chaat, Dahi vada, Papdi chaat & Sev puri.
Tamarind chutney is also served with snacks like samosas, pakora, kachori etc.
I make Tamarind chutney in 2 ways. The first one is by pressure cooking and the second one is cooking it in a pot. I love the first way of making as it needs no baby sitting and turns out damn good with little effort.
In this post I have shared both the methods. If you do not have a cooker you can follow the second method.
I usually bottle this chutney in a glass jar & keep it refrigerated for a couple of months. So it’s easy for me to make chaats whenever my kids ask. I dilute the tamarind chutney with little hot water to bring to consistency when needed.
This tamarind chutney is made using tamarind, dates, jaggery & spice powders. You can also skip dates & add more jaggery but the flavor of the chutney is much superior with the addition of dates or some raisins.
Method 1 – Pressure Cooker Tamarind Chutney (Stepwise Photos)
1. To a large bowl, add
- ½ cup tamarind (50 grams deseeded)
- ½ cup dates (100 grams, pitted)
- ½ cup jaggery (90 to 100 grams)
- ½ to 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
2. Pour 2 cups water. If you skip dates then reduce water by half a cup.
3. Pour 1 cup water inside the pressure cooker. Place a rack or trivet. Then place the bowl inside & then cover it with a plate. Cover the pressure cooker with the lid.
Stovetop cooker: Pressure cook on a medium heat for 3 whistles. I use a 6 lts cooker for this.
Instant pot: Press pressure cook button and set the timer for 9 to 10 minutes.
4. Once done, wait for the pressure to release naturally. To the bowl, add the following ingredients & quickly cover the bowl so the flavors are absorbed.
- ½ teaspoon ginger powder
- ½ teaspoon roasted saunf powder
- ¾ teaspoon roasted coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon roasted jeera powder
- ½ teaspoon kala namak
5. Tamarind and dates will be completely soft. You may blend it or directly mash it and pass through the sieve. I did not blend it here but just passed it through the filter.
6. I did not add any extra water but got the right pouring yet thick consistency. We used it for our chaats. Transfer the imli chutney to a clean glass jar and refrigerate for further use.
Method 2 – pot method
1. This step is optional. Heat ghee in a pot or pan. When it turns hot, add hing .
2. Immediately pour water. Clean the tamarind. Deseed the dates. Add both to the pot of water. If you do not have dates, you can add a handful of raisins or just skip them completely. Reduce water by ½ to ¾ cup if you skip dates.
3. Add grated jaggery.
4. Boil them until completely soft. Dates must turn completely mushy. If you feel the mixture needs more water, add another half cup. Some variety of tamarind and dates are harder and need more water to soften.
5. Add all the spice powders and salt. Mix well. Next cook for another 2 to 3 mins for the flavors to come out.
6. Cool this dates tamarind mixture completely. After it cools, with the help of a spoon remove any tamarind seeds left. I use deseeded tamarind so I don’t find any.
How to make tamarind chutney
7. Add the cooled mixture to a blender jar. I poured half cup boiled and cooled water at this stage to help blend the chutney smoothly. Adding tap water may spoil the chutney faster.
8. Next blend until you get a smooth tamarind chutney.
9. Place a sieve over a large bowl and add the pureed imli chutney.
10. Pass it through the sieve. Do not use your hand to pass through if you intend to preserve it. Using hand may reduce the shelf life. A strong ladle will help you pass it through easily.
11. Check salt and add more if needed. I prefer to add ginger powder towards the end, just a personal preference not to boil it.
12. Mix everything well. You will get a thick sweet tangy tamarind chutney that is finger licking good.
Tips & notes
It is good to make this tamarind chutney thick if you plan to store it in a bottle as it helps in longer shelf life. When ever needed you can just scoop a little and add water to bring to consistency.
This recipe gives me a 200 ml bottle of imli chutney which lasts for 2 months in the fridge.
Storing Imli chutney
Clean a glass jar and ensure it is moist free. Transfer imli chutney to it. Cover and refrigerate. It keeps good for about 2 months if you handle it with moist free hands and spoons.
How to use tamarind chutney
Scoop some chutney from the bottle to a bowl. Pour a few tbsps of hot water to the bowl and mix it to bring to a consistency you desire. This will refresh the tamarind chutney. Use it in chaats such as bhel puri, pani puri, papdi chaat, sev puri, dahi vada and many more.
Tamarind Chutney Recipe (Imli Chutney)
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- ½ cup tamarind (Imli, 50 grams deseeded)
- ½ cup grated jaggery (90 to 100 grams)
- ½ cup dates (100 grams, substitute with 3 to 4 tbsps jaggery)
- ½ to 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
- ½ teaspoon roasted saunf powder (roasted fennel powder)
- ½ teaspoon roasted jeera powder (roasted cumin powder)
- ½ teaspoon ginger powder
- ½ teaspoon kala namak (or regular salt as needed)
- ¾ teaspoon roasted coriander powder (or ¼ tsp garam masala)
- 2 cups water (½ cup more if needed)
- ½ teaspoon ghee
- ⅛ teaspoon hing
Method 1 – Pressure Cooker Tamarind Chutney
- To a bowl, add tamarind, dates, jaggery, 2 cups water and red chilli powder.
- Pour 1 cup water to your pressure cooker, place a rack/ trivet. Keep the bowl of ingredients inside. Cover the bowl. Cover the pressure cooker.
- Pressure cook for 3 whistles on a medium heat. If using Instant pot, press the pressure cook button and set the timer to 9 to 10 minutes.
- Once done, wait for the pressure to release completely. Remove the bowl and add all of the spice powders. Mix and cover immediately so the flavors will be absorbed.
- Cool this completely. Using a masher, mash it very well or blend in a blender. Place a strainer over a large bowl and add the cooked tamarind paste. Pass it through the sieve. Taste test and add more salt and spice if needed.
- Store tamarind chutney in a clear jar and refrigerate.
Method 2 – How to Make Tamarind Chutney in pot
- Optional: Heat half tsp ghee in a pot. Add hing to it.
- Pour water to the pot. Deseed the tamarind and dates if any. Add them to the pot. Also add jaggery.
- Boil all the 3 ingredients until dates & tamarind turns very soft. If the mixture turns too thick then you can add up another half cup water. Some kind of dates and tamarind need more water.
- Add red chili powder, salt, saunf powder, coriander powder, ginger powder and jeera powder. Mix all of these and continue to cook further for 2 to 3 mins until the flavor of the spices comes out.
- Cool this mixture completely. Check if any tamarind or dates seeds are left in the pulp. Discard them.
- Add the entire mixture to a blender jar and blend until smooth.
- I added about half cup boiled and cooled water at this stage to help blend smoothly.
- Place a sieve or colander over a large bowl. Then transfer the pureed dates tamarind chutney to it and pass through.
- You will get smooth thick tamarind chutney. Add this to a clean moist free glass bottle and store in refrigerator for up to 6 weeks.
How to use
- This chutney turns thick due to the addition of dates. So you will need to bring to consistency before using in chaats. Scoop a few tbsps from the bottle to a bowl and add some hot water. Mix up well. This will refresh your tamarind chutney.
- For better shelf life, use a moist free colander to filter the chutney.
- If you add more water while blending, ensure you use clean filtered water or boiled and cooled water.
- Bottle it in a clean moist free glass jar.
- Handle the tamarind chutney with moist free spoons and avoid adding water to the bottle.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
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I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills.
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