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Sauces and Condiments, Vegetarian

Tamarind and date chutney

When a friend, originally from India, invited me to a "street food" party in Simi Valley, I expected a sort of outdoor fair where I would wander among food booths. Instead, I found a fun party in someone's home where ... Read more

Total time: 35 minutes, plus overnight soaking | Makes about 2 cups
  • 1/4 pound tamarind pulp
  • 2 cups boiling water, divided
  • 1/4 pound pitted dates
  • 1 tablespoon cumin, roasted and ground
  • Pinch asafetida
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar, depending on the sweetness of the dates
  • 3 ounces jaggery, chopped

Step 1Place the tamarind pulp in a bowl. Pour 1 1/2 cups of boiling water over the top, cover and allow it to soak overnight. Place the dates in another bowl, pour the remaining one-half cup of boiling water over the dates, cover and allow them to stand overnight.

Step 2Knead the tamarind with your fingers to break up the lumps. Pour the pulp and soaking liquid into a fine strainer set over a nonreactive saucepan. Scrape a wooden spoon over the pulp to force through to the saucepan. Scoop out the pulp remaining in the strainer, return it to the bowl and add about one-fourth cup of hot water. Knead again, then pour the pulp and soaking liquid into the strainer and press the pulp with the wooden spoon. Discard pulp remaining in strainer. Follow the same procedure with the dates.

Step 3Add the cumin, asafetida, black and cayenne peppers, black and regular salt, sugar and jaggery. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the jaggery melts, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes. Check the seasoning and adjust for sweetness.

Note: From "The Bombay Cafe" by Neela Paniz. Tamarind pulp can be found in Indian and Latino markets. Asafetida, black salt and jaggery (solid sugar) are available in Indian markets.
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