tamarind chutney also known as imli chutney served in a bowl

Tamarind Chutney Recipe (Imli Chutney)

Updated: March 5, 2023, By Swasthi, Comments, Jump to Recipe

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.

Tamarind Chutney also known as imli chutney served in a bowl

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 and 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
adding tamarind dates jaggery chilli to a bowl

2. Pour 2 cups water. If you skip dates then reduce water by half a cup.

pouring water to bowl

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.

pressure cooking tamarind dates

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
pressure cooker sweet tamarind chutney with spices

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.

passing chutney through a strainer

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.

ready to use sweet tamarind chutney

Method 2 – How to make Tamarind Chutney (Stovetop)

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.

boiling dates tamarind in water to make tamarind chutney

3. Add grated jaggery.

adding jaggery to make tamarind chutney

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.

tamarind dates turn soft to make imli chutney

5. Add all the spice powders and salt. Mix well. Next cook for another 2 to 3 mins for the flavors to come out.

adding spice powders and salt

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.

cooling the date tamarind chutney mix.

Grind Imli 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.

adding to blender jar

8. Next blend until you get a smooth tamarind chutney.

blended smooth tamarind chutney

9. Place a sieve over a large bowl and add the pureed imli chutney.

adding to colander

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.

passing tamarind chutney through sieve

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.

adding ginger powder

12. Mix everything well. You will get a thick sweet tangy tamarind chutney that is finger licking good.

mix the tamarind chutney well and store in a glass jar
Tamarind chutney

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.

tamarind chutney recipe

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.

Related Recipes

Recipe Card

tamarind chutney recipe

Tamarind Chutney Recipe (Imli Chutney)

5 from 67 votes
Imli chutney is a popular condiment used to make Indian chaats. It is also eaten with snacks like kachori, samosa, pani puri and pakoras. This tamarind chutney is great on flavors and is finger licking good. Instructions included for pot and pressure cooker methods.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Servings200 ml

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
  • 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.


If you skip dates, then reduce the water by 1/2 to 3/4 cup
Shelf life
  • 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)

Nutrition Facts
Tamarind Chutney Recipe (Imli Chutney)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 672 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Fat 3g5%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 6mg2%
Sodium 1221mg53%
Potassium 482mg14%
Carbohydrates 160g53%
Fiber 7g29%
Sugar 148g164%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 400IU8%
Calcium 93mg9%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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© Swasthi’s Recipes

Tamarind Chutney Recipe (Imli Chutney)

About Swasthi

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. More about me

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5 stars
Wonderful recipe

5 stars
Tasty tamarind chutney. Definitely better than store bought and healthier too

5 stars
This tamarind chutney turned out delicious. In Australia we don’t get good bottled tamarind chutney so I was looking for a authentic recipe to serve with your samosas. I used a stick blender to blend the cooked tamarind and dates. It came out beautifully and tastes fantastic.

5 stars
My gosh, this is so good!!! Like, perfect! The sourness, sweetness, all the spices, are all in perfect ratios! I used pressure cooker as suggested, and they used immersion blender to blend everything smoothly. When it first came out from the pressure cooker, I was horrified to find it was so thin. But after I blended it with the blender, it was in perfect consistency. I brought this chutney to eat with samosas for a party at work, and everyone loved it! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe! The store bought ones were nothing like this! Thumbs up!!

My chutney ws not thick was liquidy…i kept it in fridge …can i again reheat entire chutney n boil to desired thickness and store again in fridge

I did add dates

Will boil it again n storr in fridge ….it has becom3 very sweet how do i make it more tangy

Can you please confirm that we can use store bought tamarind paste or concentrate in the same quantities as in the recipe above? I will not be able to make the paste at home, hence the question. Thank you.

Very helpful. Thank you.

hello and good afternoon. ref: tamarind chutney, i have just bought a slab of tamarind fruit ( dried lmli ) on the packet it says soak in warm water overnight, in your recipe you do not say this, should i just follow your recipe or soak am a bit confused. also when i fry samosas in ghee what should i do with the ghee left in pan. many thanks for a great site.

thank you, are you saying you should not heat it again? once i have used it once. thank you.

hello again and good afternoon, have just made your great tamarind chutney, can it be frozen and if so, for what length of time. many thanks again.

5 stars
Thank you . This is very easy especially using dates was too good. Tasted very good

5 stars
I made this and it’s fantastic. I didn’t have saunf or ginger powder but I grated some fresh ginger into it. Also had to just use regular salt and sugar. I’d love to do it proper next time, but it’s delicious as it is. Thank you for the great recipe!

Do you blend the chutney with the tamarind seeds still in it?

I’m so excited to try this. I noticed in the video you do not use hing, do you usually omit it?

The recipe for imli chutney sounds great and it looks wonderful. Thank u Swasthi. I use many of your recipes and they are the best for almost every dish I have tried !

5 stars
Good one! I also added a little dry ginger powder.

Hi! I am excited about trying this. Since there are different kinds of dates, what kind do you recommend for this recipe? Thank you.

If I don’t use dates how much jaggery should I use