This chutney is a typical and very common chutney, served alongside the offerings at almost every street-food cart. Called khajur imli ki chutni, it is usually served to accompany a snack. Samosas, pakoras or most chaat dishes are lifted if this is served with them. It is often accompanied by a drizzle of yoghurt when served this way.
Interestingly, tamarind and date chutney is reputedly the basis of the recipe for HP sauce.
It has a sweet and sour taste with a bit of chilli heat. The tamarind gives it a tang and the dates give it sweetness. Adjust the Kashmiri chilli powder to your taste, but remember this is an accompaniment, not a chilli assault.
It is one of the most common and instantly recognisable chutneys served throughout India. It is as common as coconut chutney or green chutney and many Indian homes would have at least one of these available at most meals.
The tamarind paste mentioned in the recipe is the pulp of the tamarind pod, and is discussed in the post about tamarind.
- Place the tamarind and dates in a saucepan, then add 250ml cold water. Cover with a lid and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes or until the tamarind and dates have disintegrated.
- Whilst tamarind is simmering, heat a small pan over medium heat. Once hot, add peppercorns and cumin seeds, then toast until aromatic. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Once cooled, grind to a fine powder and set aside.
- Pour tamarind and date mix into a large sieve placed over a bowl. When cool enough to handle, force the mixture through the sieve, extracting as much liquid as you can. Collect the pulp from the strainer and squeeze to remove all the liquid. Discard the fibres and stones.
- Return the tamarind and date liquid to the pan. Add the ground pepper and cumin, black salt, chilli powder and jaggery. Cover and simmer over low heat, stirring regularly for one hour or until thick, glossy and syrupy.
- Once cooked, pour into a sterilised jar and seal. Once cool, refrigerate until ready to serve.
- This chutney will keep up to two months if refrigerated.
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