tamarind+date chutney

by sj

Brown chutney. That brown sauce. You know, that sauce that seems to come with every indian appetizer ever. That’s tamarind chutney, sometimes with dates (like here), sometimes watery and thin, sometimes thick and rich (like here), sometimes more sweet, sometimes more sour (this one is a nice balance of both)….but usually pretty darn good (unless it’s been crazy watered down, in that case, throw a fit and jump on the table and demand better chutney!)

tamarind+date chutney

Brown chutney. That brown sauce. You know, that sauce that seems to come with every indian appetizer ever. That’s tamarind chutney, sometimes with… base sauces + marinades + pastes tamarind+date chutney European make it paper
yield: 2 cups Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat
rating 5.0/5
( 3 voted )


1.5g | ½ tsp ginger powder

4.5g | 1 1/4 tsp amchoor powder

8.5g | 1 ½ tsp chaat masala

.4g | 1/16 tsp (large pinch) hing/asafoetida (make sure it doesn't have wheat starch if gluten free)

.3g | ⅛ tsp kashmiri chile powder

3.5g | 1 tsp onion powder

3g | ¾ tsp garam masala

4.5g | ¾ tsp fine salt

65g | ¼ cup tamarind concentrate

350g/ml | 1 ½ cups water

110g | ½ cup + 1 Tbsp sugar

100g | 6 whole medjool dates, pitted


Toast spices in pan over medium-low heat, stirring and shaking, until aroma is softened and caramely (you won’t smell the harsh scent of the hing, or the sulphurous odor of the kala namak anymore)

Place everything but tamarind and ⅓ of the water into a blender and blend until totally smooth

Pour into pan, use the remaining water to rinse remains from blender and add to pan along with tamarind

Bring to a light boil (while stirring) and reduce heat to low, simmer for about 5 minutes, remove from heat, cover and allow to cool

This recipe is best prepared at least a day ahead, the flavors and texture will be better after refrigeration

For using as a dip or drizzle, you can mix 2-3 parts chutney with 1 part water for a thinner, less concentrated consistency (like you’d find in a lot of restaurants)

Will keep in the refrigerator for at least a week (my experience has been that it lasts several weeks), and it freezes very well for up to 6 months (try freezing it in ice cube trays, then you can pull out a serving or two whenever you need it)

This is one of the easiest chutneys to make, perhaps that’s part of the reason it’s so popular, and because of it’s wonderful marriage of sweet, sour, slightly salty, and a touch of umami, it goes with just about everything. The ingredients are pretty simple, tamarind (i prefer using tamarind concentrate to avoid having to mess with making our own, plus it keeps forever) which brings the bulk of the tartness and some familiar umami notes to us westerners (it’s used in steak sauces, worcestershire, and other savory western sauces.) Dates bring sweetness and caramel notes, as well as bumping up the fruitiness of the chutney. Amchoor brings in some more tartness to boost the tamarind without becoming too rich, onion powder to enhance the sweetness and help to meld and soften the flavors, garam and chaat masalas for flavor and spice, and sugar to give you that lovely syrupy consistency.

After blending the dates, you may think things got away from you and you made a mistake, it will look more like coffee with cream that the dark brown with hints of red that you’re used to. It’s okay, once you add the tamarind and simmer for a bit, that milkiness goes away.

It is a good idea to keep stirring during the 5 minutes, because of the thickness and sugar content, this can scorch pretty easy. You don’t have to be super aggressive, just keep things moving around. That’s really all there is to it! I promise this is better than anything you’re gonna pick up at the market, and loads better than what most restaurants are going to pass off on you. Plus, you get to decide how thick, which is always nice (who likes watery tamarind chutney? who, i ask? who?)

Serve along with your favorite chaat, drizzle over snack and appetizers, dip papad in it, but don’t limit it to just indian finger foods! Try this as a BBQ sauce, a glaze for vegges or “meats”, add it to rice for some easy tasty tamarind rice, or freeze it to use later in whatever recipe tickles your fancy. [you like fancy tickles, yes you do]

Don’t forget, it pairs insanely well with cilantro+mint chutney! and it’s an ingredient in chaat quesadillas and  kala chana aloo masala.

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