Tamarind chutney | Imli chutney

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Tamarind Chutney is also known as Imli chutney (Imli is the Hindi word for tamarind). Tamarind chutney is a spiced, sweet and tangy sauce served with Indian chaat snacks or fried snacks like samosa, kachori or pakoda.

tamarind chutney garnished with one sprig of coriander served in a steel bowl with a square plate of Dahi Vada kept in the left center and green chutney kept in a steel bowl on top

In this post I am sharing two delish tamarind chutney recipes:

  1. Easy Tamarind Chutney
  2. Tamarind Dates Chutney

About this Easy Tamarind Chutney

This is a family recipe of Tamarind chutney which is so good and finger-licking tasty. We also call this chutney as as saunth chutney or sonth chutney as this chutney is spiced with ground ginger powder.

Dried ginger roots or dry ginger powder is also called as ‘Saunth’ or ‘Soonth’ in Hindi. Hence the name of this condiment.

The consistency of this imli chutney is slightly thick with a smooth texture. It has the sourness of tamarind balanced with the sweetness of the jaggery (Indian unrefined sugar made from sugarcane juice) and the earthiness and mild hotness coming from the dry ginger powder, cumin and red chili powder.

This tamarind chutney is often used in North Indian chaat snacks like dahi vada, samosa chaat, aloo tikki chaat etc. It is also served with samosa, kachori, pani puri and pakora.

You can store this imli ki meethi chutney in an air-tight bottle in the fridge and it lasts well for 4 to 5 months.

We always make this chutney with dried tamarind which is easily available in India. If you live outside India, then buy the tamarind from amazon or in your asian or Indian grocery store.

You can use tamarind paste or concentrate for the chutney. Depending on the tartness of the concentrate or paste, you will have to adjust the quantity of water and jaggery.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Tamarind Chutney

1: Soak the tamarind in 1.75 cups of water, overnight or for 4 to 5 hours.

soaked tamarind in a bowl after keeping them fo 4 to 5 hours

2: With your hands, squeeze the pulp from the tamarind in the same bowl or pan containing the water. Strain the pulp if you prefer and keep aside.

squeezed tamarind pulp

3: Heat oil in small pan. Fry the cumin seeds first. Keep the heat to a low. Then add the spice powders – dry ginger powder, asafoetida (hing) and red chilli powder. Mix well.

frying spices in a small frying pan

4: Then add the strained tamarind pulp. Cook for 2 to 3 mins.

strained tamarind pulp added to the frying pan

5: Add the jaggery and salt. Mix well. Simmer for 4 to 5 minutes or more time until the consistency thickens.

tamarind chutney mixture simmering

6: When cooled, store the imli chutney in an air-tight dry jar or container. Refrigerate and serve whenever required.

tamarind chutney garnished with one sprig of coriander served in a steel bowl with a square plate of Dahi Vada kept in the left center and green chutney kept in  a steel bowl on top
Tips

Expert Tips

  • Consistency: The consistency of the chutney can be altered easily. Simply alter the amount of water and you can make the imli chutney slightly thin or thick as per your requirements.
  • Quality: Use fresh ingredients. Avoid using aged tamarind as the taste will be very different with aged tamarind and the color will be very dark.
  • Scaling: This recipe can be easily halved or doubled.
  • Storage: You can easily store tamarind chutney in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 months. You can even freeze it to last longer. Simply thaw before using.
  • Make it Gluten-free: Skip asafoetida for a gluten-free tamarind sauce.

Substitutions

  • Jaggery: Jaggery is unrefined sugar made from sugarcane juice. If you cannot get jaggery then add sugar. The taste will be little different with sugar. You can easily add about ½ cup of sugar. If required you can always add more sugar.
  • Tamarind: Dried tamarind is easily available in India. If you cannot get dried tamarind then use ½ cup of tamarind paste or concentrate. Depending on the tartness of the concentrate or paste, you will have to adjust the quantity of water and jaggery.

Serving Suggestions

  1. Dipping Sauce: Serve tamarind chutney as a side condiment dip with Indian snacks like pakoda, samosa, kachori, aloo tikki. n fact even with potato wedges or french fries, this chutney pairs fabulously.
  2. Topping or mixing sauce: You can even use it as a topping sauce for chaat snacks like dahi vada, sev puri, pani puri, dahi puri, katori chaat, bhel puri or any chaat snack.

More Tasty Indian Chutney Recipes

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imli chutney recipe, sweet chutney recipe, sweet tamarind chutney recipe

Tamarind Chutney

Tamarind Chutney or Imli chutney is a sweet and tangy chutney made with tamarind, jaggery and ginger powder. It is also known as saunth chutney.
4.92 from 37 votes
Prep Time 4 hrs
Cook Time 12 mins
Total Time 4 hrs 12 mins
Cuisine North Indian
Course Side Dish
Diet Vegan
Difficulty Level Easy
Servings 1 small bowl
Units

Ingredients

  • ½ cup seedless tamarind – tightly packed (imli)
  • 1.75 cups water or add as required
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger powder (saunth powder)
  • 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup chopped jaggery or as required – adjust as per your taste
  • 1 teaspoon oil – any neutral tasting oil
  • rock salt (edible and food grade) (sendha namak) or black salt or regular salt as required

Instructions
 

Making tamarind pulp

  • Soak tamarind in water overnight or for 4 to 5 hours in a small bowl or pan.
  • With your hands, squeeze the pulp from the tamarind in the same bowl or pan containing the water.
  • Strain the pulp if you prefer and set aside.

Making imli chutney

  • Heat oil in a small pan.
  • Lower the flame & add cumin seeds and let them crackle.
  • Add ginger powder, red chili powder, asafoetida.
  • Stir and add the strained tamarind pulp. Cook for 2 to 3 mins.
  • Add the jaggery and salt and cook for 4 to 5 minutes or more till the consistency thickens.
  • Let the imli chutney mixture cool.
  • When cooled, store the imli chutney in an air-tight dry jar or container. Refrigerate and serve whenever required with chaat or snacks.

Notes

Tips

  1. Consistency: You can have the consistency of the chutney as per your choice. Simply alter the amount of water and make the imli chutney slightly thin or thick as per your requirements.
  2. Quality: Use fresh ingredients. Do not use aged tamarind as the taste of the chutney will be different and the color will be very dark.
  3. Scaling: This recipe can be doubled.
  4. Gluten-free option: For a gluten-free sauce, skip asafoetida.
  5. Storage: You can easily store tamarind chutney in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 months. You can even freeze it to last longer. Simply thaw before using.

Substitutions

  1. Jaggery: If jaggery is not available then as an alternative option you can add sugar. The taste will be little different. You can add ½ cup of sugar or more if required. 
  2. Tamarind: You can use ½ cup tamarind paste or concentrate for the chutney. Depending on the tartness of the concentrate or paste, you will have to adjust the quantity of water and jaggery.

Serving Suggestions

  1. Dipping Sauce: Serve tamarind chutney as a side condiment dip with Indian fried snacks like pakoda, samosa, kachori, aloo tikki. n fact even with potato wedges or french fries, this chutney pairs fabulously.
  2. Topping or mixing sauce: You can even use it as a topping sauce for chaat snacks like dahi vada, sev puri, pani puri, dahi puri, katori chaat, bhel puri or any chaat snack.

Nutrition Info (Approximate values)

Nutrition Facts
Tamarind Chutney
Amount Per Serving
Calories 560 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Sodium 2374mg103%
Potassium 376mg11%
Carbohydrates 128g43%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 123g137%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 150IU3%
Vitamin C 2.1mg3%
Calcium 87mg9%
Iron 3.5mg19%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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About Tamarind Dates Chutney

sweet tamarind chutney garnished with a coriander sprig and served in an Areca leaf bowl on a light brown paper with potato patties in areca leaf bowls on left side and ragda patties chaat on top

This is an again an easy Sweet Chutney made with tamarind, dates and jaggery that tastes so good.

I learnt this tamarind dates chutney in my cooking school and have been following the recipe since then.

This sweet chutney can be had for making chaat items like pani puri, bhel puri, sev puri, aloo tikki and even samosa or pakoras. It is a one-stop chutney recipe solution for all your chaat and fried savory snacks.

This chutney recipe yields about 1.5 cups of chutney. Make it and store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container. It stays good for about a couple of months.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Tamarind Dates Chutney

1. In a pan, take the seedless tamarind, seedless dates and water. Cook for about 8 to 9 mins on a low heat. The tamarind and dates should soften.

tamarind, dates and water in a pan

2. Add powdered or grated jaggery and mix well.

jaggery added and the mixture being mixed with a spoon

3. Let the jaggery dissolve and the mixture thicken a bit. Add all the spice powders, salt and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes more.

ground spice powders added to the tamarind chutney mixture

4. The chutney mixture is ready now. Let it cool.

tamarind date chutney mixture being cooled

5. In a grinder, pour the entire chutney mixture. Grind the chutney in a grinder till smooth. Add some water if required while grinding. If you prefer, you can strain the chutney through a strainer. Store the Sweet Tamarind Dates Chutney in airtight bowl or container in the refrigerator.

chutney mixture ground or blended and poured in a jar

Add the sweet tangy dates chutney to the chaat or Indian snacks that you make at home. In the pics the chutney is served as well as added to ragda pattice –  a popular Mumbai street food. You can also serve it with chaat snacks like bread pakora, veg cutlet, bread roll, onion pakoda, hara bhara kabab etc.

tamarind dates chutney garnished with a coriander sprig and served in an Areca leaf bowl on a light brown paper with potato patties and ragda patties chaat in Areca leaf bowls placed on top
Tamarind Chutney Recipe

Tamarind Dates Chutney

Tamarind Dates chutney recipe for chaat snacks. Thus sweet tangy gooey chutney made with tamarind, dates and jaggery goes well with Indian chaat snacks.
4.8 from 34 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 16 mins
Total Time 21 mins
Cuisine North Indian
Course Side Dish
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan
Difficulty Level Easy
Servings 1 small jar
Units

Ingredients

  • ½ cup tamarind – seedless and tightly packed
  • ½ cup dates – seedless
  • ½ cup powdered or grated jaggery or as required – adjust as per your taste
  • 2 cups water or add as required
  • ½ teaspoon roasted cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon Coriander Powder
  • ½ teaspoon dry ginger powder (saunth)
  • ¼ or ½ teaspoon red chili powder or 1 dry red chili * see notes
  • black salt or rock salt as required.

Instructions
 

Preparing tamarind dates chutney mixture

  • In a pan, take the tamarind, dates and water.
  • Cook the tamarind and date for about 8 to 9 minutes on a low flame till they soften.
  • Now add the powdered jaggery and continue to cook.
  • Let the jaggery dissolve and the mixture thicken a bit.
  • Add all the spice powders – red chili powder, coriander powder, dry ginger powder and roasted cumin powder.
  • Stir & simmer for a further 1-2 minutes more.
  • Season with salt. Let the chutney mixture cool down.

Grinding chutney

  • In a chutney grinder or small blender, grind this whole mixture till smooth.
  • Add some water if required while grinding.
  • Strain the chutney through a strainer.
  • Store the tamarind dates chutney in an airtight bowl or container in the refrigerator and use it when you make chaat at home.

Notes

1. * if using dry red chili, add it with the tamarind and dates right at the beginning – step 1.
2. Please note you can have the consistency of the dates chutney as per your choice. Simply alter the amount of water and make the chutney thin or thick as per your requirements.

Nutrition Info (Approximate values)

Nutrition Facts
Tamarind Dates Chutney
Amount Per Serving
Calories 640
% Daily Value*
Sodium 1199mg52%
Potassium 482mg14%
Carbohydrates 158g53%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 148g164%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 150IU3%
Calcium 77mg8%
Iron 2.5mg14%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This recipe post from the archives (November 2013) has been republished and updated on 17 September 2020.

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Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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56 Comments

    1. Both are good and will go well with golgappa. You can make according to the ingredients you have.

  1. Dassana ji.. I don’t have saunth or ginger powder. Can u please help tell how to make ginger powder and also substitute for this.
    Regards

    1. rupal, ginger powder is made with dried ginger. you can make at home but you need a really good mixer-grinder and dried ginger is difficult to grind. substitute for dried ginger in any recipe is fresh ginger. so in this imli chutney recipe, you can add 1 inch ginger. make a paste of it in a mortar-pestle or grate it and then after cumin seeds crackle, add the ginger paste. saute for a few seconds till the raw aroma of ginger goes away. then add red chilli powder, asafoetida. stir and add tamarind pulp. cook on a low flame so that the spice powders do not get burnt.

  2. Thank you for your lovely recipes. My son loves the snacks I’ve made using your recipes.

    I already have homemade tamarind paste. Can I use that for the chutney? If yes, how much of it should i use?

    1. welcome and thanks for the feedback vaishnavi. yes, of course, you can use homemade tamarind paste. you can use half a cup of tamarind paste. in case you find the sourness less in chutney, you can add some more of the tamarind paste and cook further. later jaggery can be adjusted accordingly. hope this helps.

  3. Dear Dassana,
    Your receipies are very easy to follow, esp with the pictures and the dishes once cooked, tastes superb. I donot know cooking and I rely completely on your website to cook my daily meals.I fall short of words to thank you and God. Now you are an integral part of my existence…lol5 stars

    1. thanks a lot anjana for this touching comment. felt so good to read it and i feel humbled too. thanks again and hugs.

  4. What a great way to show recipes in pics, step by step!
    May your blog flourish!5 stars

  5. Hi! Thanks for the recipe, I’m going to try it today, I have my tamarind soaking now. I do have one question: the part that say to squeeze the pulp from the tamarind, am I discarding any part of the tamarind soaking mixture? Is the goal to put the 1/2cup tamarind and 1/2 water that is was soaking in through a strainer then discard the stuff that wasn’t able to go through the strainer? Thank you!

    1. welcome atourina. the tamarind will soften after soaking in water. so the pulp has to be squeezed in the palms and added directly in the water in which the tamarind was getting soaked. you just keep on squeezing till you the tamarind can no longer yield any pulp. then this squeezed tamarind flesh and fibres are discarded. hope this explanation helps.

  6. I loved this chutney…i specially make it for dahi wada and samosa….i always make fresh and use it…. can i store it for some more days? Like 10 or 15 days?5 stars

    1. of course you can. it stays good for about a month. i usually prepare a batch of tamarind and dates chutney and keep it refrigerated. whenever i make chaat or pakoras or any snacks, the tamarind dates chutney comes in handy.

  7. Hello,
    Is there any substitute for jaggery(gur) as i live in Europe and here i have never seen it in any supermarket

    1. john, you can use sugar if jaggery is not available. you can also use molasses instead of jaggery. but just keep a check on the sweet taste as with molasses the chutney can end up becoming more sweet. if you use sugar, then you can use the same amount as mentioned in the recipe for jaggery.

  8. This chutney is good for chats and turned out well… however, there is another chutney that is made with fresh ginger and jaggery I guess.. it has a spicy and sweet taste… it is called as allam chutney here.. it is generally served with idli and dosa in south indian restaurants…. could you please post the recipe for that if possible…5 stars

    1. thankyou neha have taken your request down for allam chutney recipe on our file 🙂

  9. i love your recipes ..veg recipes of India is the best site for Indian recipes …this recipe is awesome …trying it today …you post your recipes very well easy to understand and good for beginners too… well done dassana 🙂

    1. thankyou so much tanu for your kind and positive words 🙂 pleased to know our food blog could help you.

  10. This is a great recipe. I may play around with the spicing a little next time (cardamom, cinnamon, cloves) to better suit my tastes but this was delicious!5 stars

    1. thankyou nigel glad to know you liked the saunth chutney. next time you could be more playful in spices 🙂

  11. Oh yes…what a chutney this is and it has become a staple must have at all times, do not ever run out kind of thing for my fridge. Dassana, now that it is made I wonder can I use it as a cheat in the recipes that call for the addition of tamarind? I’m thinking throw a spoon or two of this in tiffin sambar for example instead of going through soaking tamarind, straining and what not?
    My wife is a Vada monster and I use it to great affect in dahi Vada, as well as with pakodas, with samosas, with dhokla, with…….

    1. thanks rohit. this is an all purpose chutney. i usually a make a good batch and keep in the fridge and it accompanies all the indian snacks so well. regarding adding in tiffin sambar, you will have to use it very judicially and carefully, so that the jaggery content in the chutney does not offset the balance in the sambar. try it and i feel it should work.

  12. Love all your recipes. I’m a frequent visitor of your blog. The food recipes and the pics are simply awesome. Thank you! 🙂5 stars

  13. I’ve made this twice. The second time I was in a hurry and I pulled the tamarind into pieces and soaked it in very hot water for under an hour. It squeezed out perfectly.

    Also, I used fresh ginger instead of dried and cooked it with the jeera seed. Then mashed them both with a mortar and pestle with a bit of black salt before adding back to pan and then following the recipe exactly. It came out perfect! (I needed help at Indian grocery since no product had the words “jaggery” on the label. At my stored it is shown as “Punjabi sakkar” )

    Thank you so much for the simple and delicious recipe!5 stars

    1. thanks lisa for the feedback. like you have done, tamarind when soaked in hot water for 30 minutes, squeezes out very well. usually dry ginger is used. but even fresh ginger can be substituted. punjabi shakkar is ground jaggery.

    1. yes you can. you just need to alter the other ingredients to suit the consistency and taste of the ready made tamarind paste.

  14. wow itz my fav and thatz wat i was looking for …. it seems yummiiiiii ……. going to try soon…. 🙂5 stars

  15. Hi! Tried ur recipe today and it turned out awesome!! My husband loved it!!! Thank u!!!!!

  16. Hi, the recipe looks soo good and pics remind me of home with the panipuris in the background!. I have a question.. Can I use sugar instead of jaggery as I dont think I will be able to jaggery in Sydney anywhere. Also, if I can use sugar then how much.. Thanks, for the recipe my mouth is salivating wih the idea of chaat 🙂

    1. thanks neha for appreciating the chutney recipe. yes, you can sugar instead of jaggery. but taste will be little different. amount of sugar depends upon sweetness of sugar and also on sourness of tamarind. so you can taste and add the sugar as required.

  17. This is a must have in my kitchen whenever I plan to make chaat or bhel, I add sugar in place to Jaggery even though I know jaggery is healthy still I am unable to convince the taste buds of my picky family 🙂

  18. I love this chutney a lot, its so tasty and flavorful cant think of chaat without thi so ne nicely made dear.