Oct 4, 2012

Tamarind & Date Chutney aka Sweet Chutney

It's day four of the Vegan Mofo challenge and as much as i would love to see what all the 600 people are doing every single day, I'm afraid it's just not possible. Everyday from now on I will share an interesting blog I found while attempting to see all that I can among all the blogs.

Today's find of the day is : Vegan Fling. Check out Melissa's amazing No Bake Oatmeal cookies or the Pomegranate Vanilla Limeade. Her pictures are stunning too!

In keeping with my chutney theme, today's chutney is a sort of a complex recipe. Most of the other chutneys I have come across are simple and involve a little bit of cooking and a lot of blending. This chutney is a little more time consuming. So when I make this, I make a big batch and freeze it for subsequent uses. I usually don't freeze stuff because in India, the idea  of eating freshly cooked food every day is something of a habit. Our weather permits us to get fresh fruit and vegetable every day and food kept longer than a day is considered stale. Many communities (mine included) will not eat food cooked the previous day. So our freezers are usually a small section of the fridge unlike the ones in the US where the freezer is a huge, deep, never ending drawer. I do see people buying those humongous fridges here too, but the freezers aren't nearly as full as the ones I have seen in the US.

This chutney is the partner/wife/husband/spouse of the basic green chutney that I have posted earlier. It is almost always served up with the spicy green chutney so that you get a bit of both when you take a bite of whatever you are eating. This chutney is also served with spicy samosas and bhajjis. It is famously used in street food (also known as Chaat) in Bombay. It is a very sweet chutney but lots of people add red chilli powder to this to make it a sweet, sour and spicy chutney in one. I usually make the green chutney when I want to use this one because I feel like the coriander/cilantro-mint combination adds a nice depth of flavour when it is all mixed together.

You need:

500gms of seedless Dates (any variety)
1 and a 1/2 cups of jaggery powder
50gms of skinless tamarind or 3tbsp thick tamarind paste
2 and a 1/2 cups of water
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red chilli powder (optional)
2 tsp cumin seeds roasted and powdered

Cook the dates in the water till they become soft. Stir it around in intervals to ensure that the dates are not sticking to the bottom. If the water has evaporated, add little water. It takes about 30 minutes for the dates to become fully soft. Once cooked, cool it a little bit before you put it into a blender. You do not want a kitchen full of date purée  You can also use a hand blender to purée the dates.

In the mean while, soak the tamarind in about half a cup of water. If you are using tamarind pulp, you can omit this step. After 20 minutes squeeze the [life out of] tamarind so that you extract all the pulp. Remove the fibre and seeds and put it through a sieve and add this to the date purée. Add the jaggery and put it back on the stove. Let it come to a boil, after which you can add the salt, chilli powder and cumin powder. That's it. 

Cool it completely before freezing.

Dense, flavourful and yummm!

Some ideas to use this chutney:

It can be added to a potato chaat - boil potatoes and chop it into big chunks; mix with green chillies, chopped coriander, diced tomatoes, onions, salt, lime and this chutney.

It can be served as a sweet dip for spicy snacks like samosas, bhajjis and wadas

It is very commonly used in street food in Bombay and one of them is Ragda Patties (pictured above). Ragda is sprouted white peas that are cooked in a spicy tomato-onion gravy base and the Patties are mashed potatoes made into medals and roasted on both sides. And then after you've done all that, serve it with the spicy green and this sweet chutney on top. 

It can be added along with green chutney to make bhel puri - puffed rice, diced tomatoes, onions, coriander, sev, roasted peanuts.

You can even add some vinegar to it and make it into a salad dressing.

I even think this will make a great sorbetto when frozen. It is very sweet and has the sourness from the tamarind. 


  1. Another great chutney! And it is so fun finding new blogs. I'm off to check out those cookies :)

  2. YUM -- I love this chutney when I eat Indian food, and I'm so happy to have a recipe for it now!

    1. I will for sure. Looking forward to it!!! :D

  3. I'm not a big chutney fan - but I always thought of it as a dip. Adding to the to-do list!


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