Exploring the Delightful World of Tamarind Chutney: Recipes, Tips, and Where to Find the Best

Tamarind chutney, affectionately known as “imli chutney” in Indian cuisine, is a culinary gem that graces the palates of food enthusiasts around the world. This versatile condiment, born from the tangy embrace of tamarind pulp and the natural sweetness of dates, brings a symphony of flavors to a myriad of dishes. Its unique blend of tartness and sweetness makes it an indispensable addition to an array of Indian snacks, from savory samosas to vibrant chaats.

Classic Tamarind Date Chutney Recipe


  • 1 cup Tamarind pulp (seedless)
  • 1 cup Dates (pitted and chopped)
  • 1 cup Jaggery (grated)
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp Red chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cups Water
  • 2 tbsp Oil


  1. Soak the Tamarind and Dates:
    • In a bowl, combine the tamarind pulp and chopped dates. Pour two cups of warm water over them. Allow them to soak for about 2-3 hours, or until they soften.
  2. Extract Tamarind Pulp:
    • After soaking, use your hands to squeeze and extract the pulp from the tamarind and dates mixture. Pass it through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any seeds and fibers. You should be left with a smooth, thick tamarind-date paste.
  3. Prepare the Tamarind Date Base:
    • In a saucepan, heat two tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and let them splutter. Then, add the tamarind-date paste.
  4. Add Jaggery and Spices:
    • Stir in the grated jaggery, red chili powder, and a pinch of salt. Mix well to combine all the ingredients.
  5. Simmer and Cook:
    • Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to low. Let it simmer uncovered for about 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. The chutney will thicken and develop a rich, dark color.
  6. Check for Consistency:
    • To test the consistency, take a small spoonful of the chutney and let it cool for a moment. It should coat the back of the spoon and have a sticky, saucy texture.
  7. Cool and Store:
    • Allow the chutney to cool completely. Once cooled, transfer it to a clean, airtight container. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to several weeks.


  • Adjust the quantity of jaggery and red chili powder according to your taste preferences.
  • If you prefer a smoother texture, you can pass the chutney through a fine sieve after cooking to remove any remaining fibers.
  • Use seedless tamarind for a smoother consistency and easier preparation.

Variations of Tamarind Chutney

  1. Sweet Tamarind Sauce:
    • Ingredients:
      • 1 cup Tamarind pulp
      • 1 cup Jaggery (grated)
      • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
      • 1/2 tsp Ginger powder
      • 1/2 tsp Black salt
      • 1/2 tsp Chaat masala
      • Water as needed
    • Instructions:
      1. Combine tamarind pulp and grated jaggery in a saucepan.
      2. Add water and heat over medium heat, stirring until the jaggery dissolves.
      3. Add cumin seeds, ginger powder, black salt, and chaat masala. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until it thickens.
      4. Let it cool and store in an airtight container.
    • Usage: This sweet tamarind sauce is perfect for drizzling over desserts, ice creams, or as a dip for fried snacks.
  2. Coconut Tamarind Chutney:
    • Ingredients:
      • 1 cup Grated coconut
      • 1/4 cup Tamarind pulp
      • 2 Green chilies
      • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
      • 1/2 tsp Urad dal
      • 1/2 tsp Chana dal
      • A pinch of Asafoetida (hing)
      • Curry leaves
      • Salt to taste
      • Water as needed
    • Instructions:
      1. Grind grated coconut, tamarind pulp, green chilies, and salt to a smooth paste.
      2. Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal, hing, and curry leaves. Allow them to splutter.
      3. Add the ground coconut mixture and cook for a few minutes until it thickens.
      4. Let it cool and store in an airtight container.
    • Usage: This coconut tamarind chutney pairs exceptionally well with dosas, idlis, and vadas.
  3. Apple and Tamarind Chutney:
    • Ingredients:
      • 2 Apples (peeled, cored, and chopped)
      • 1/4 cup Tamarind pulp
      • 1/4 cup Jaggery (grated)
      • 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
      • 1/2 tsp Red chili flakes
      • Salt to taste
      • Water as needed
    • Instructions:
      1. Combine chopped apples, tamarind pulp, and grated jaggery in a saucepan. Add water and simmer until the apples are soft.
      2. Blend the mixture to a smooth consistency.
      3. Heat oil in a pan, add cumin seeds and red chili flakes, and sauté for a minute.
      4. Add the blended mixture and cook for a few more minutes until it thickens.
      5. Let it cool and store in an airtight container.
    • Usage: This apple and tamarind chutney is a delightful accompaniment for roast meats, cheese platters, or as a unique dip for snacks.

Where to Buy Tamarind Chutney

You can find tamarind chutney in various places, both online and offline. Here are some options:

  1. Online Marketplaces:
    • Amazon: Amazon offers a wide selection of tamarind chutneys from various brands and sellers. You can browse through different options and read reviews to make an informed choice.
    • Etsy: Etsy is a platform known for handmade and unique products. You may find artisanal tamarind chutneys with distinctive flavors and ingredients.
    • Specialty Food Websites: Some specialty food websites or online stores focused on Indian or ethnic cuisine may offer a curated selection of tamarind chutneys.
  2. Local Grocery Stores:
    • Many local grocery stores, especially those that carry a diverse range of international or ethnic products, may have tamarind chutney available in their condiment section.
  3. Indian Grocery Stores:
    • Indian grocery stores are highly likely to carry tamarind chutney, given its importance in Indian cuisine. You can find a variety of brands and types, including different levels of spiciness and sweetness.
  4. Supermarkets with Ethnic Food Sections:
    • Larger supermarkets, especially those with dedicated sections for international or ethnic foods, may carry tamarind chutney. Look for it in the Indian or Asian food aisles.
  5. Local Artisan Markets:
    • If you prefer homemade or artisanal products, local artisan markets or food festivals may have vendors who make and sell their own tamarind chutney.
  6. Online Specialty Food Stores:
    • Some online stores specialize in offering a wide range of international foods, including Indian condiments. These stores may have a selection of tamarind chutneys.
  7. Direct from Brands or Producers:
    • Some brands or small-scale producers may have their own websites where you can purchase their tamarind chutney directly.

When purchasing tamarind chutney, consider factors like brand reputation, ingredients, and customer reviews to ensure you’re getting a quality product that meets your taste preferences.

Tips for Perfect Tamarind Chutney

  1. Balancing Sweetness and Tanginess:
    • Adjust the quantities of tamarind, dates, and jaggery to achieve your desired flavor profile. Taste the chutney as you go along and add more of any ingredient if needed.
  2. Control the Spice Level:
    • Red chili powder adds heat to the chutney. Start with a smaller amount and adjust to your taste. Remember, you can always add more spice later, but it’s difficult to reduce if you add too much.
  3. Consistency Matters:
    • Cook the chutney until it reaches the right thickness. It should coat the back of a spoon and have a sticky, saucy texture. If it’s too thin, continue simmering. If it’s too thick, you can add a little water.
  4. Use High-Quality Ingredients:
    • Choose fresh, high-quality tamarind, dates, and jaggery for the best flavor. Fresh ingredients will yield a more vibrant and authentic taste.
  5. Soak Tamarind and Dates Properly:
    • Ensure that the tamarind and dates are soaked well in warm water to soften them. This makes it easier to extract the pulp and blend them into a smooth paste.
  6. Strain if Needed:
    • If you prefer a smoother texture, pass the chutney through a fine-mesh sieve after cooking to remove any remaining fibers or seeds.
  7. Store in Airtight Container:
    • Once cooled, transfer the chutney to a clean, airtight container. This helps preserve its freshness and flavor. Store it in the refrigerator for an extended shelf life.
  8. Experiment with Spices:
    • Don’t be afraid to experiment with additional spices like roasted cumin powder, ginger, or even a touch of garam masala to give your chutney a unique twist.
  9. Adjust for Dietary Preferences:
    • If you have dietary restrictions, consider using alternatives like coconut sugar or other sweeteners that suit your needs.
  10. Let Flavors Meld:
    • Tamarind chutney often tastes even better the next day as the flavors have had time to meld together. Allow it to sit for a few hours or overnight for optimal taste.
  11. Label and Date:
    • If you’re making a large batch, label the container with the date of preparation. This helps you keep track of its freshness.

The Best Tamarind Chutney Brands

  1. Dabur:
    • Dabur is a renowned Indian brand known for its wide range of food products, including chutneys. Their tamarind chutney is often praised for its authentic taste and quality.
  2. Mother’s Recipe:
    • Mother’s Recipe is a popular brand that specializes in traditional Indian condiments and sauces. They offer a variety of chutneys, including tamarind, known for their rich and authentic flavors.
  3. Patak’s:
    • Patak’s is a well-known brand for Indian sauces and condiments, known internationally for its authentic taste. Their tamarind chutney is a favorite among those who enjoy Indian cuisine.
  4. Swad:
    • Swad is a brand that specializes in authentic Indian foods, including a variety of chutneys. They are known for using high-quality ingredients to create flavorful products.
  5. TRS (Tropical Sun):
    • TRS is a UK-based brand that offers a wide range of Indian and ethnic food products. They produce a popular tamarind chutney that is appreciated for its taste and quality.
  6. Priya Foods:
    • Priya Foods is an Indian brand that produces a range of traditional condiments and pickles. Their tamarind chutney is known for its authentic South Indian flavors.
  7. National Foods:
    • National Foods is a Pakistani brand known for its diverse range of food products. They offer a tamarind chutney mix that allows you to prepare authentic chutney at home.
  8. Deep Foods:
    • Deep Foods is a US-based company that specializes in Indian and ethnic foods. They produce a variety of chutneys, including tamarind, which are appreciated for their quality and taste.
  9. Kissan:
    • Kissan is a well-established Indian brand known for its range of jams, sauces, and chutneys. Their tamarind chutney is popular for its balanced flavors.
  10. Haldiram’s:
    • Haldiram’s is a well-known Indian brand that offers a wide range of snacks and condiments. They produce a tamarind chutney that is favored for its authentic taste.
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