Tamarind derives its name from Arabic tamr-hindī, meaning “date of India”. This delicious fruit is famous all over the world and requires no description. One of my fond memories with tamarind has always been the tamarind candies (read as “yum”) 😛
Used in numerous ways, tamarind adds an element of zing to any dish and makes it very appealing and palatable. In India, it is widely consumed across all regions in various sweet and savory forms. Particularly used in South Indian cuisines like Sambhar and Rasam.
Taken as one of the basic chutneys for Indian homes, this recipe for tangy Tamarind Chutney (Saunth) is simple. Tamarind chutney can be used as dip for Indian vegetable fritters (pakoras) or any fried savory snack as well as things like dhokla and chats. Personally, instead of using tamarind paste in recipes requiring tamarind, i usually use my tamarind chutney itself.
This chutney is a great sweet-sour combination making it a wholesome chutney by itself. Various variation of the same exists and some people include cut fruits (pineapple, banana, apple and pomegranate) and nuts (cashews, pinenuts etc) to serve it over savory snacks. I personally prefer the simple version as it allows me to be more creative with using it as a basic ingredient. Also, the simple version can be stored in the refrigerator for months all together , the fruit version goes bad very soon – specially in summers.
Tamarind Chutney / Saunth
- 100 gms tamarind
- 500-700ml water (depending on the desired consistency)
- 1 tsp black salt (or as per taste)
- 50 gms jaggery – chopped ( you can add more for a sweeter taste)
- 1/2 tsp powdered red chilli (use kashmiri chili for a bright red color)
- 1 tsp dried powdered ginger (Saunth)
- 1/2 tsp garam masala (optional)
- 1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder (optional)
- Bring half the quantity of water to boil and remove from heat. Break the tamarind into small pieces and soak it in the water. Let it soak for about 1 hr. The tamarind will become soft.
- Now, mash the tamarind in the water (preferably with hands for better control) and using a strainer, sieve out the tamarind water into a pan. The water will now have the pulpy extract of the tamarind.
- Now put this pan on flame. Add the rest half of the water, black salt, red chili powder, roasted cumin powder and garam masala and let this mixture boil.
- Once the mixture comes to a boil, add in the jaggery and dried powdered ginger (Saunth) and stir well till the jaggery completely dissolves in the tamarind water.
- Cover with lid and keep on low flame for about 5 minutes.
- Depending on your preference of chutney consistency, you can control the quantity of water you desire to add in the chutney. I usually keep the chutney at high flame to evaporate excess water as i like to keep a little thicker consistency.
- Remove from flame. Cool and store.
This chutney’s sweeter version made using dates with tamarind is used for some quick and delicious snacks and is famous in the western regions (Gujarat and Maharashtra) of India. For making that, just add the seedless dates to the tamarind mixture once the tamarind leftovers have been removed and cook as above. You can mash the dates once soft for a smooth and even consistency.
Make this today and try it with a plate of DSB Dahi Chat – Savory Yoghurt Snack
Tip – Do not throw away the tamarind leftovers. You can use these to polish your brass and copper utensils/artefacts. It is also known to polish silver.