Sweet Tamarind Chutney (Imli Chutney)

Sweet Tamarind Chutney aka Imli Chutney made with tamarind, jaggery and spices.

This is a staple chutney used in India for all kinds of chaats!

spoon inside a bowl of tamarind chutney served in a copper bowl

This recipe should have been here years ago. I don’t know what took me so long.

It’s one of the most staple chutneys and I have been meaning to share this recipe for years now.

I use it all the time in my recipes and recently when I shared Raj Kachori recipe, I received few messages asking me to share the recipe for the sweet tamarind chutney.

All this while, I would never measure and click pictures and hence the delay in sharing this recipe. But better late than never I guess?

With the festive season here, this seems like the perfect opportunity to share the recipe for this imli chutney. After all, it’s a staple during these times, isn’t it?

This Sweet Tamarind Chutney

✔has the perfect balance of sweet and tangy flavors.

✔used in all sorts of chaat, dahi bhalla etc.

✔stays good in the refrigerator for weeks.

✔is also vegan and can me made gluten-free by skipping hing or using gluten-free hing.

This chutney has a distinct flavor from all the spices, jaggery and tamarind and that’s what makes it so irresistible.

Honestly it is my favorite chutney. Whenever I am eating aloo tikki or samosa or paneer tikka, I just pile on the imli chutney. It’s like I can never have enough of it.

It’s also commonly known as sonth or saunth or simply meethi chutney.

Ingredients for The Chutney

Tamarind: it is obviously the main ingredient for this chutney. It’s what gives the chutney that distinct tart taste.

I have used seedless tamarind here which is easily available at all Indian grocery stores. The tamarind is soaked in hot water and then it’s juice is extracted and used in the recipe.

Jaggery & sugar: to sweeten the recipe, you can either use jaggery or sugar. I have a combination of both- more of the jaggery and a bit of sugar. I like the flavors better when I have both added to the chutney.

But, you may use jaggery only. If using only jaggery, use 1 cup of powdered jaggery.

Likewise if you prefer, you can use sugar only in this recipe.

Spices: the recipe calls for certain spices which gives the chutney that nice distinct taste.

I have used cumin powder, black salt, ground ginger and red chili powder. 2 types of red chili powder are used here- the regular chili powder for heat and kashmiri red chili powder for color!

Some people also use fennel powder, garam masala in the chutney so you can add them if you like.

Optional add-ins: so, I have made this chutney in a very simple way. But there are so many things that you can add to it-

✔dates: chop some dates (after removing seed) and add them along with the tamarind when you are boiling it. That will soften them. If use use dates, reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe since dates are naturally sweetened.

✔raisins: golden raisins are commonly added to this chutney. So feel free to add some.

✔melon seeds: these are often added to this chutney.

✔banana slices: this is another interesting addition that you can make to this chutney.

Consistency of the chutney: so the consistency of this chutney depends on your personal preference. I like it thick but not super thick.

If you prefer a more thicker chutney, reduce the amount of water or you can simmer the chutney for a longer time.

I like mine to have a nice pouring consistency so that it’s easily pourable over dahi bhalla etc.

tamarind chutney in a copper bowl with a spoon

Serving Suggestions

This chutney is commonly served with Indian appetizers, snacks and chaat.

Serve this with samosa, paneer tikka. Apply it on vada pav.

Or top it on dahi bhalla, aloo tikki, raj kachori, samosa chaat. It’s good on everything!

Storing the Chutney

This chutney keeps well in the refrigerator for a month easily.

Make sure, to use a clean and dry spoon every time when taking out the chutney and it should last long.

It also freezes well.

 

Method

1- Add seedless tamarind in a pan and add 1.5 cups (12 oz) water to it.

Put it on heat and bring to boil. As soon as it comes to boil, turn off heat, cover the pan with a plate and let it remain like that for 25 to 30 minutes.

2- Then transfer mixture to a blender and blend to a fine paste.

3- Sieve the mixture using a strainer to get rid of all the fiber. Add additional 1/2 cup (4 oz) water while sieving the mixture.

4- Now heat oil in a kadai/wok on medium heat. Add cumin seeds and hing and let the cumin seeds splutter.

step by step picture collage of making tamarind chutney

5- Add in the prepared tamarind paste and mix. I added 1/4 cup (2 oz) more water here (so total water added is  2 1/4 cups= 1.5 cups (initially) + 1/2 cup (while sieving) + 1/4 cup (after adding tamarind paste to pan). Mix well.

6- Add jaggery, sugar and mix until the jaggery and sugar dissolve, around 2 to 3 minutes.

7- Then add cumin powder, kashmiri red chili powder, kala namak, salt, ginger powder and red chili powder. Mix everything well.

8- Simmer the chutney on medium heat for around 6 minutes until the chutney thickens. Taste test and adjust sweetness accordingly. Also you can simmer more for thicker chutney. I don’t like it super thick so this was perfect for me.

step by step picture collage of making tamarind chutney

Let the chutney cool down and then store in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator. Serve sweet tamarind chutney with samosa, chaats etc.

spoon inside a bowl of tamarind chutney served in a copper bowl

If you’ve tried this Sweet Tamarind Recipe then don’t forget to rate the recipe! You can also follow me on FacebookInstagram to see what’s latest in my kitchen!

Sweet Tamarind Chutney

spoon inside a bowl of tamarind chutney served in a copper bowl
Manali
Sweet and tangy Tamarind Chutney is made with tamarind, jaggery and spices! It's a must have for all Indian chaat!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Soaking Time 30 mins
Course Snack
Cuisine Indian
Servings 2 cups
Calories 521 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 70 grams seedless tamarind around 3/4 cup packed tamarind (imli)
  • 2.25 cups water 18 oz, divided
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • generous pinch hing
  • 3/4 cup powdered jaggery 105 grams
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar 50 grams
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kala namak black salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili powder or to taste

Instructions
 

  • Add seedless tamarind in a pan and add 1.5 (12 oz) cups water to it.
    Put it on heat and bring to boil. As soon as it comes to boil, turn off heat, cover the pan with a plate and let it remain like that for 25 to 30 minutes.
    tamarind boiling in water in a pan
  • Then transfer mixture to a blender and blend to a fine paste.
    brown color paste in a blender
  • Sieve the mixture using a strainer to get rid of all the fiber. Add additional 1/2 cup (4 oz) water while sieving the mixture.
    left out fiber after sieving a mixture with a strainer
  • Now heat oil in a kadai/wok on medium heat. Add cumin seeds and hing and let the cumin seeds splutter.
    cumin seeds in a kadai
  • Add in the prepared tamarind paste and mix. I added 1/4 cup (2 oz) more water here (so total water added is  2 1/4 cups= 1.5 cups (initially) + 1/2 cup (while sieving) + 1/4 cup (after adding tamarind paste to pan). Mix well.
    brown color liquid being poured in a kadai
  • Add jaggery, sugar and mix until the jaggery and sugar dissolve, around 2 to 3 minutes.
    jaggery powder being added to a kadai
  • Then add cumin powder, kashmiri red chili powder, kala namak, salt, ginger powder and red chili powder. Mix everything well. 
    brown color liquid in a kadai with spices
  • Simmer the chutney on medium heat for around 6 minutes until the chutney thickens. Taste test and adjust sweetness accordingly. Also you can simmer more for thicker chutney. I don't like it super thick so this was perfect for me.
    Let the chutney cool down and then store in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator. Serve sweet tamarind chutney with samosa, chaats etc. 
    thick brown color chutney in a kadai

Notes

  1. Use gluten-free hing to make the chutney gluten-free.
  2. The amount of sweetness can be adjusted to taste. Also feel free to add more chili powder for extra-heat. Even some garam masala would be nice if you prefer more kick in the chutney.
  3. Additional add-ins include dates, raisins, melon seeds. Please see the recipe post for more details.

Nutrition

Calories: 521kcalCarbohydrates: 124gProtein: 1gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 909mgPotassium: 220mgFiber: 2gSugar: 121gVitamin A: 222IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 59mgIron: 2mg
Keyword imli chutney, tamarind chutney
Tried this recipe?Mention @cookwithmanali or tag #cookwithmanali!

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