Tamarind Chutney

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Tamarind Chutney

I made this wonderfully layered spicy, sweet, sour and tangy south Indian tamarind chutney in preparation for this tamarind rice dish. Made with fried spices and toasted sesame seeds and coconut in addition to the tamarind, this recipe comes from Dakshin by Chandra Padmanabhan, a lavishly illustrated and informative cookbook focusing on traditional fiery vegetarian Indian dishes from the south. Dal and rice dishes are nicely balanced with vegetable creations, condiments, sweets and snacks and essential spice powders. Included is a helpful glossary of ingredients and cooking terminology common to Indian Cuisine. It's quickly become one of my favorite Indian cookbooks.

Tamarind Chutney

This recipe is easy to prepare but there are quite a few steps, so I would suggest making this when you can afford to spend some quality time in the kitchen. This will keep for a few weeks if stored in the refrigerator in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Other possible uses are mixing in a few tablespoons to hot freshly cooked white basmati rice or serving with Indian savories.

Tamarind ChutneyTamarind Chutney
Recipe by
From Dakshin: Vegetarian Cuisine from South India
Cuisine: Indian
Published on March 10, 2009

Hot, sweet, sour and tangy tamarind chutney with fried spices and toasted sesame seeds and coconut — a complex and delicious sauce for Indian savories or rice

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  • orange-sized piece of tamarind pulp
  • 3 cups hot water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons jaggery or brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup coriander seeds
  • 8 dried whole red chilies
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafetida
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon yellow split peas or chana dal, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon skinless urad dal, rinsed
  • handful of dried curry leaves
  • 1/2 cup white sesame seeds
  • 1/3 cup dried coconut
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 10 dried whole red chilies
  • 2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon yellow split peas or chana dal, rinsed
  • small handful of dried curry leaves
  • Soak the tamarind in 3 cups of hot water for 20 minutes. Strain the tamarind water into another bowl and squeeze as much liquid as you can from the tamarind pulp. Throw the pulp away and set the tamarind water aside.

  • To make the masala, heat the oil in a heavy frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add the coriander seeds, red chilies, asafetida, peppercorns, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, split peas or chana dal, urad dal, and the curry leaves. Stir and fry for 3 to 5 minutes or until the seeds are fragrant and have darkened. Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor and grind to a fine powder. Set aside.

  • For the garnish, dry roast the sesame seeds and coconut on medium heat in a heavy saucepan for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer to a blender or food processor and grind to a fine powder. Set aside.

  • For the tempering, heat the oil in a medium saucepan. When hot, add the red chilies and stir for 2 to 3 minutes or until they turn dark brown. Add the mustard seeds, split peas or chana dal and the curry leaves. When the mustard seeds turn grey and begin to pop, add the tamarind water, salt, turmeric and sugar. Simmer over medium-low heat until the liquid is reduced and the mixture begins to thicken — roughly 30 to 45 minutes. Stir in the masala powder until well blended. Add a few heaping tablespoons of the garnish powder and mix well.

  • Save the remaining garnishing powder for tamarind rice.

Makes 1 1/2 cups

Tamarind Chutney

Other tempting chutney recipes from Lisa's Kitchen:
Yamuna's Fresh Coriander Chutney
Coconut and Mint Chtuney
Quick and Easy Tomato Chutney
Toasted Coconut and Tomato Chutney


vanillasugarblog said...

that sounds so good...I am a huge lover of chutney

Manju said...

that is just delicious..i love CPs books..i have borrowed Dakshin from the library and i own a copy of her Southern Spices!! just love em!!

A_and_N said...

This is a huge favorite in South India, where I come from! :) And I love it.

Anonymous said...

You made this at Home!! I always buy a paste:-) & don't like them. I guess It's time i do it too.

Rumela said...

Wow!!what a great Scrumptious recipe.I am sure it will taste as good as the picture. the flavor can be enhanced by adding a spoonful of sesame oil.This must be really delicious with idlis or dosas. Love the tamarind combination. its so delicious.yammmi....thank you for shearing your post.