> New York Hudson Valley Eats & Treats!: Tamarind Chutney. Sweet, sour, spicy and oh so good.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Tamarind Chutney. Sweet, sour, spicy and oh so good.

When eating Indian food, it's common to have a number of sauces or "chutneys" available to spice up the dish.  While most Indian food is highly spiced, some of it (like dhals and simple rice dishes) are.. bland.  Well not bland, but not too exciting by themselves.  Adding chutney turns these dishes into something magical, healthy and delicious!

A popular Indian chutney is Tamarind Chutney.  Tamarind as you may or may not know is a tropical fruit that is rather sour.  This recipe mixes spices, heat, and sugar to sweeten up the tamarind while retaining its' characteristic tang!

Tamarind pods
Raw tamarind pods - Courtesy of nonya-cooking.webs-sg.com

This recipe yields a little over a cup of delicious chutney, and it will keep long enough for you to use it - at least a few weeks, if you manage to keep it around that long!


3 Tbsp of Tamarind paste.
1 Cup of white cane sugar.  Avoid beet sugar.
1.5 Cups water

1 Tsp cumin or cumin seeds
1 Tsp ginger powder
1/2 Tsp each of: Cayenne, asafetida, garam masala, and fennel seeds.

Oil to fry the spices... 1 Tbsp tops.

Heat the oil in the pan until smoking.  Turn down the heat.  Dump in all the spices, mix well, and cover, cook for a minute or two until everything becomes fragrant.
Add the sugar and tamarind paste and stir.
Then add the water, carefully - you don't want it  to spatter when it hits the hot oil! :)
Bring to a boil, and then simmer this mixture for half an hour.  Let cool.

Congratulations - you've made delicious sweet and sour tamarind chutney!

A quick note: You don't have to make your own tamarind paste - you can buy it pre-made from any Indian grocer.  It's all good so buy the least expensive one you can find :)

processed tamarind paste by Tamicon
Processed tamarind paste - this is what I use! - Courtesy of thespicehouse.com

This is the brand that I use, and it's excellent - doesn't require refrigeration, you just leave it in a cool dry place.  Too acidic for anything to grow in there I suppose.  Or hope.  Either way, it doesn't say to refrigerate it and I haven't gotten sick yet!  You can expect to pay $4 or less for a bottle like you see above :)

Let me know what YOU like adding YOUR tamarind chutney to! :)

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