There is nothing quite like the tangy, sweet and sour sensation of tamarind, the main ingredient in this essential Indian chutney. In chaat, a category of spicy, savory, tangy and crunchy Indian snacks, tamarind chutney provides the pungent, pucker-inducing element that makes those dishes so craveable. In this recipe, from Maneet Chauhan’s cookbook, “Chaat” (Clarkson Potter, 2020), the tamarind flavor is sweetened with jaggery, dates and raisins, and brightened up with ginger, with deep umami coming from the chaat masala. It’s possible to find high-quality store-bought tamarind chutney, but nothing beats the vibrant flavors of a fresh batch made at home. —Priya Krishna
- Serves: 4 persons
- 1tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- 1(16-ounce) block seedless tamarind pulp, coarsely chopped (see Note)
- 1cup jaggery or dark brown sugar
- ¼cup golden raisins
- ¼cup pitted dates, coarsely chopped
- 1tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger (from a 1-inch piece)
- 1teaspoon chaat masala
- 1teaspoon ground ginger
- ½teaspoon kala namak (black salt)
- Kosher salt
Step 1In a medium sauté pan, heat the oil over medium until it glistens, about 1 minute. Add the cumin, coriander, fennel and red-pepper flakes, and sauté until aromatic and lightly browned, about 2 minutes.
Step 2Add the tamarind, jaggery, raisins, dates and fresh ginger, increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the sauce is thick and coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to prevent scorching and to encourage the flavors to mingle.
Step 3Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chaat masala, ground ginger and kala namak. Transfer the chutney to a food processor or blender and blend on high speed until smooth, adding a little water if needed to create a thick but pourable consistency.
Step 4Taste and season with kosher salt. The chutney will keep in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.