Sweet Tamarind Chutney

This exotic sweet and sour chutney is a delicious condiment for samosas, pakoras, and more.


  • 4 oz piece tamarind from a pliable block*
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 1/4 cup packed jaggery date sugar* (4 oz; if necessary, chop to measure) or packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon anise seeds
  • 1 teaspoon hot chili powder* (preferably Indian)
  • 1 teaspoon black salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder


  1. Gently mash tamarind with water in a small bowl until pulp is softened. Force pulp through a sieve into a 2- to 3-quart saucepan, pressing on and then discarding seeds and thick fibers. Add sugar and grated ginger and cook over low heat, stirring, just until sugar is dissolved, then return mixture to cleaned bowl.
  2. Toast coriander, cumin, and anise seeds in a small skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until fragrant and a shade darker, about 2 minutes. Cool completely, then finely grind in grinder. Stir spices into tamarind mixture along with chili powder and salt. Mix again well and taste. Add more sugar, salt or pepper as needed.
  3. Allow chutney to cool, and serve. Chutney can be refrigerated for two to three months.

Serving suggestions:

  1. Tamarind chutney is delicious with samosas, pakoras, drizzled over dahi vadas, bhel poori, or any kind of chat.
  2. This is also delicious as a dipping sauce for French fries, or as a spread over crackers.


  1. To use as a dip, thicker chutney is ideal. To use as a topping, add water to make the chutney thinner.
  2. Add water and ice cubes to serve as a cool spicy drink.
  3. Add equal parts yogurt and chutney to make a dipping sauce.
  4. Try drizzling over rice to add a unique flavor to plain rice.