Sweet Tamarind Chutney With Dates

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Tangy, sweet and spicy tamarind chutney, once tasted cannot be forgotten.

Here is a super easy, quick yet delicious recipe to make this mouthwatering tamarind date (khajur imli) chutney at home using your Instant Pot. Stovetop instructions are included too!

Hand holding a spoon of tamarin chutney which is accompanied by Khaman
Tamarind Date Chutney

What is tamarind chutney?

Tamarind is a widely used fruit in Indian cuisine known for its tang. It is used across the Indian subcontinent in a variety of curries, dips, and drinks. One of my favorite ways to use this fruit is to make this sweet tamarind or imli chutney made with tamarind (imli), dates (khajur) and jaggery (gud or gur) as its key ingredients. 

It is the same sweet, tangy brown chutney that accompanies most Indian street food along with the slightly spicy green chutney

Make this: Fingerlicking green chutney recipe – perfect for Indian street food.

Is tamarind sauce a relish or a chutney?

There is a lot of debate about what is chutney and what is a relish.

Different groups have different theories, but the most common thought is that chutney is sweet, made with fruit and has a sauce-like texture and consistency. Whereas, relish is made of vegetables that have been chopped fine or grated to create a dish that is savory and rough-textured. Another thought is that relish falls more in the pickle range of dishes while the chutney is more like a spread or a sauce.

As far as Indians are concerned, the word chutney comes from the Sanskrit word ‘chatni’ which literally means to lick. The word was anglicized to the present form of chutney. In India, chutney is a thin sauce or paste of many different ingredients ground together. The ingredients can be fruits or vegetables or both. In short, there is no marked difference in what can be called a chutney and what a relish.

While we can debate about it, one thing we are certain of is that the Indian tamarind sauce is definitely a chutney and not a relish.

How to make tamarind date chutney

The process to make this chutney is pretty straightforward – add all the ingredients to a pressure cooker and cook them till it softens. Puree, strain and cool it down. Here’s the process explained in detail – 

  1. Run your fingers through the seedless tamarind and remove any seeds, if you find any.
  2. Add all the ingredients in the Instant Pot. Close the lid. Set the steam valve to sealing.
  3. Pressure cook on high for 8 minutes.
  4. When the cooking cycle is complete, release pressure by moving the steam valve to the venting position.
  5. Remove the lid. Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture. If using a blender, allow the tamarind-date mixture sauce to cool down for at least 10 minutes before pureeing it.
  6. The puree should be smooth without any coarse bits so sieve the mixture using a strainer or a cheesecloth to get that texture if needed. Use the back of your spoon to fasten the straining process when using a strainer.
  7. Let the mixture completely cool down. Refrigerate for up to a month or freeze for about 6 months.

Stovetop instructions

I have used an Instant Pot to fasten the process but you could make this chutney over stovetop too. All you need to do is bring the ingredients to boil. This will soften the dates and tamarind. Take off heat and then puree and strain the mixture. 

A collage of images depicting step by step images to make tamarind date chutney
Tamarind date chutney – step by step
Notes / Tips
  1. The amount of water can vary depending on how thick or thin you want the tamarind sauce to be. I prefer it to be ready to use and that’s why I use 3 cups. 
  2. The most popular ratio to make tamarind date chutney is to take tamarind, dates, and jaggery in a 1:1 ratio. This ratio does not work every time simply because the tanginess of tamarind that is available in your area can vary. That is why I use about 1/2 cup of tamarind to every 3/4 cup of dates and jaggery. 
  3. While I have used wet seedless tamarind, you could use any other version as well but like I have said before use a small amount, to begin with. 
  4. You can substitute black salt with table salt. Black salt adds a nice tang to the dish. 
  5. I prefer using powdered jaggery – it is such a timesaver. You can also add chunks of jaggery but it is hard to estimate the exact quantity you’ll need. 
  6. You can use strainer but I think a cheesecloth will be faster since you can squeeze it to get the juice strain out faster.

How to make tamarind chutney without dates

You can totally skip dates if you want to. I am pretty sure the Indian street vendors do it too because dates can be expensive. Substitute dates with an equal amount of jaggery to make a date free version of tamarind chutney. 

How long can you keep tamarind chutney in the fridge

The tamarind sauce has a fairly long shelf life if it is stored properly. You can keep it in the refrigerator for a month or more. It can even be made in advance and frozen in serving sized portions for several months.

What to serve with sweet tamarind chutney?

This brown chutney also popularly called samosa sauce is often served along with cilantro chutney as an accompaniment to Indian snacks. Serve it with pakora, samosa, or with cutlets as a dip or drizzle it over the Indian chaat dishes such as this corn bhel. It’s sweet and savory, spicy, and tangy taste will add a zing to any dish.

An overhead shot of tamarind date chutney served in a glass bottle
Tamarind Chutney

If you are looking for more chutney recipes, here’s a collection that goes well with Indian breakfast and snacks –

  1. Red chili chutney – a spicy and tangy chutney perfect for south Indian snacks.
  2. Coriander chutney – This green chutney is perfect for street food.
  3. Lehsun chutney – This zesty garlic chutney is what makes vada pav so tantalizingly good. It has a long shelf life and you’ll find that it is a great way to amp up your meals.
  4. Coriander-mint chutney – A delicious combination of cilantro and mint makes it perfect for sandwiches, idlis, and even street food. 
  5. Coconut chutney – Most South Indian breakfast and snacks can’t do without coconut chutney – a coconut-based dip that we all love to dunk our idli and dosas in.
  6. Andhra style Peanut chutney – If you love peanuts, this Andhra style peanut chutney is for you. Creamy and finger-licking good, this groundnut chutney is a perfect accompaniment to piping hot idlis, vadas, or dosas. 


Got a new Instant Pot? Check out the links below to make the most of your pressure cooker -  
Hand holding a spoon of tamarin chutney which is accompanied by Khaman

Instant Pot Tamarind Date Chutney

5 from 2 votes
Here is a super easy, quick yet delicious tamarind date chutney recipe to make this mouthwatering dip at home using your Instant Pot.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Pressure building time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 32 tablespoons
Diet : Dairy-free
Course : Accompaniment
Method: Instant Pot
Cuisine : Indian

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Run your fingers through the seedless tamarind and remove any seeds, if you find any.
  • Add all the ingredients in the Instant Pot. Close the lid. Set the steam valve to sealing.
  • Pressure cook on high for 8 minutes.
  • When the cooking cycle is complete, release pressure by moving the steam valve to venting position.
  • Remove the lid. Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture. If using a blender, allow the tamarind-date mixture sauce to cool down for at least 10 minutes before pureeing it.
  • The puree should be smooth without any coarse bits so sieve the mixture using a strainer or a cheesecloth to get that texture if needed. Use the back of your spoon to fasten the straining process when using a strainer.
  • Let the mixture completely cool down. Refrigerate for up to a month or freeze for about 6 months.

Notes

Stovetop instructions
I have used an Instant Pot to fasten the process but you could make this chutney over stovetop too. All you need to do is bring the ingredients to boil. This will soften the dates and tamarind. Take off heat and then puree and strain the mixture. 

Notes / Tips

  1. The amount of water can vary depending on how thick or thin you want the tamarind sauce to be. I prefer it to be ready to use and that's why I use 3 cups. 
  2. The most popular ratio to make tamarind date chutney is to take tamarind, dates, and jaggery in a 1:1 ratio. This ratio does not work every time simply because the tanginess of tamarind can vary. That is why I use about 1/2 cup of tamarind to every 3/4 cup of dates and jaggery. 
  3. While I have used wet seedless tamarind, you could use any other version as well but like I have said before use a small amount, to begin with. 
  4. You can substitute black salt with salt. Black salt adds a nice tang to the dish. 
  5. I prefer using powdered jaggery - it is such a timesaver. You can also add chunks of jaggery but it is hard to estimate the quantity you'll need. 
  6. You can use strainer but I think a cheesecloth will be faster since you can squeeze it to get the juice strain out faster.

How to make tamarind chutney without dates

You can totally skip dates if you want to. I am pretty sure the Indian street vendors do it too because dates can be expensive. Substitute dates with an equal amount of jaggery to make a date free version of tamarind chutney. 

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Disclosure: This recipe contains affiliate links to products we love and recommend. As an affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition

Serving: 1tablespoonCalories: 30kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 38mgPotassium: 24mgFiber: 1gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 14IUCalcium: 5mgIron: 1mg

Disclaimer: Approximate Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and can vary depending on the exact ingredients/brands used. If you have health issues, please work with a registered dietician or nutritionist.

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Keyword : sweet, Tangy

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2 Comments

  1. What kinds of things do f things can I use the chutney for? I made it and like it on duck, but what are some other good recipes or stews I could make with it?

    1. David – we mostly use it for Indian street food. I think you can use it as a substitute for cranberry chutney.

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