Tamarind Chutney (Imli Ki Chutney, Sonth) is a sweet and sour Indian sauce made using tamarind, jaggery, and a few spices. Serve this homemade condiment with chaat recipes or snacks like samosa, pakoda, dhokla, etc (vegan, can be easily made gluten-free).
Here are some more chutney recipes that you may like – Dahi Chutney, Rajasthani Garlic Chutney, Raw Mango Chutney, Tomato Chutney, and Tangy Mint Coriander Chutney.
About Tamarind Chutney
Tamarind Chutney (Imli Ki Chutney, Sonth) is an Indian sauce made using tamarind, jaggery, and a few spices.
It has a sweet, sour, and spicy taste and a thick and smooth texture.
The sourness of the tamarind is perfectly balanced with the jaggery and the spices give it a spicy kick.
Serve it with Indian chaat like aloo tikki, papadi chaat, ragda pattice, etc, or with snacks like samosa, dhokla, pakoda, etc along with cilantro mint chutney and red garlic chutney.
Imli ki chutney is readily available in the market these days, but I prefer to make mine at home.
Store-bought chutney has a lot of sugar added to it while when making it at home, you can choose to use jaggery and also reduce the quantity.
Store-bought chutney is also loaded with colors, preservatives, and other chemicals but when made at home, there are no chemicals added to it.
Homemade chutney is much more economical too.
The best part is that you can prepare this chutney and store it in the fridge for a few months so that it comes in handy whenever you want to add that spicy tangy-sweet taste to your dishes.
This recipe is vegan and can be easily made gluten-free. I get approx 2 cups of chutney using this recipe. You can easily double or triple the recipe if you want to make it for a crowd.
Some Facts About Tamarind
Tamarind is a leguminous tree native to tropical Africa. The fruit of the tamarind tree is a pod-like structure, with sour and sweet or tangy and tart flesh and large seeds in the center.
Tamarind is used in many traditional cuisines, including Indian, Thai, Mexican, and Caribbean especially to make soups, curries, and drinks.
It is a rich source of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, B vitamins, iron, and calcium and has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties.
Tamarind is sold in many forms. You will find dried pulp with seeds, dried pulp without seeds, or tamarind paste (tamarind concentrate).
Dried tamarind can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to a year while tamarind concentrates or paste can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
All the ingredients are easily available at any Indian grocery store or Asian grocery store. You can also source them from online portals like amazon.
Tamarind – Also known as Imli, this is the star ingredient of this tamarind chutney recipe.
Use seedless tamarind to make this recipe. It is easily available at any Indian grocery store.
You can also make the chutney using ready tamarind pulp. It will save you some time too.
Jaggery – Jaggery balances that tangy taste of the tamarind pretty well.
Some people use sugar in place of jaggery, but I prefer it as it is much healthier as compared to sugar and also gives an earthy taste to the imli ki chutney. You can use brown sugar or demerara sugar.
Make sure to buy organic jaggery that is dark in color. The light-colored jaggery has chemicals added to it to lighten its color.
You can either crush the jaggery using something heavy (rolling pin, meat tenderizer) or use powdered jaggery to save time.
Raisins – Adding raisins is optional but I like the flavor and bite it adds to this chutney. You can choose to skip it.
Ginger – Fresh ginger adds that much-needed heat to this chutney. You can replace fresh ginger with ground ginger (dry ginger powder, saunth).
Other – You will also need Kashmiri red chilli powder (or cayenne pepper), roasted cumin powder, coarse fennel seeds powder (saunf powder), asafetida (hing), black salt (kala namak), and regular salt.
You can also add a few dates (khajoor) to the imli chutney recipe for natural sweetness. Reduce the amount of jaggery a bit if doing so.
Skip asafetida for a gluten-free chutney.
Some people add melon seeds along with raisins.
Thinly sliced bananas are added by many people to the cooled chutney just before serving it.
How To Make Tamarind Chutney
Soak 1 cup (150 g) of seedless tamarind in 2 cups of hot water for 20 minutes.
Mash it well using your hands.
Keep a mesh strainer over a large bowl and strain the tamarind concentrate through it.
Add 1 cup of hot water over the leftover pulp and strain it again. Keep pressing it with the back of a large spoon to get the maximum pulp.
Discard the leftover tamarind pulp.
Transfer the tamarind water to a medium size pan.
- 1 cup (250 g) of crushed jaggery
- 2 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
- 1 teaspoon coarse fennel powder
- ½ teaspoon asafoetida
- 1 teaspoon black salt
- ½ teaspoon regular salt
to the pan and mix well.
Cook the mixture on medium heat for 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add ¼ cup of raisins and cook the chutney for another 12-15 minutes, stirring frequently.
If the chutney has thickened too much, add some water to it and bring it to a boil. I like mine to be of pouring consistency.
Check for salt and add more if needed.
Remove the pan from the heat and bring down the chutney to room temperature.
Transfer it to a glass container and store it in the refrigerator. Use as desired!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can. Skip the step of soaking the tamarind and directly use 1 cup of ready-made tamarind paste to make the chutney. You will have to dilute the paste a little though.
To make tamarind sauce with dates (khajur imli ki chutney), chop 2 cups of seedless dates and soak them in 3 cups of water for 20 minutes.
Add the dates along with the water in which they were soaked and tamarind pulp to a pan.
Reduce the amount of jaggery according to your taste and keep the remaining process the same as mentioned below. When the chutney is ready, cool it a bit and blend it in a blender to make a smooth chutney.
Tamarind Chutney can be served with Indian snacks like Samosa, Bread Roll, Dhokla, Kachori, Aloo Pakoda, Onion Pakora, Bread Pakora, Mirchi Vada, Ragda Patties, etc.
It is a must topping for Indian chaat recipes like Samosa Chaat, Sev Puri,Papdi Chaat, Bhel Puri, Dahi Vada, Pani Puri, Dahi Puri, Aloo Chaat, Aloo Tikki Chaat, and Ragda Pattice.
If the chutney has thickened, thin it down with some warm water.
This chutney keeps good in the refrigerator for 3-4 months in an airtight container. Make sure to use a clean spoon every time you take it out.
You can also freeze it in freezer-safe containers for 6-8 months. When ready to use, thaw it over the counter for 3-4 hours and use it as required.
I like to freeze this chutney in ice cube trays. This way, I can just thaw one or two cubes as per my requirement.
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Sweet and Sour Tamarind Chutney Recipe (Imli Chutney)
- 1 cup seedless tamarind (imli) (150 g)
- 3 cups hot water (divided)
- 1 cup crushed jaggery (gud) (250 g, or jaggery powder)
- 2 teaspoons grated ginger (or 1 teaspoon dry ginger powder)
- 1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon coarse fennel seeds powder (saunf powder)
- ½ teaspoon asafetida (hing) (skip for gluten-free)
- 1 teaspoon black salt (kala namak)
- ½ teaspoon regular salt
- ¼ cup raisins
- Soak tamarind in 2 cups of hot water for 20 minutes.
- Mash it well using your hands.
- Keep a mesh strainer over a large bowl and strain the tamarind concentrate through it.
- Add 1 cup of hot water over the leftover pulp and strain it again. Keep pressing it with the back of a large spoon to get the maximum pulp.
- Discard the leftover tamarind pulp in the strainer.
- Transfer the tamarind water to a medium size pan.
- Add jaggery, ginger, cumin powder, chili powder, fennel powder, asafoetida, black salt, and, regular salt to the pan and mix well.
- Cook the mixture on medium heat for 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add raisins and cook the chutney for another 12-15 minutes, stirring frequently.
- If the chutney has thickened too much, add some water to it and bring it to a boil. I like mine to be of pouring consistency.
- Check for salt and add more if needed.
- Remove the pan from the heat and bring down the chutney to room temperature.
- Transfer it to a glass container and store it in the refrigerator. Use as desired!
looking beautiful…interesting recipe..
Thank you.most amazing method wow so yummy
Nice chutney , i think you have added more liquid.
This chutney is supposed to be runny. This is the perfect consistency.
The recipe gives, first, 2 cups of water, then 3. Which is correct?
Hi, it’s 3 cups. Updated.
This was a wonderful recipe.
Thank you for such a wonderful recipe mam
Thnx a lot for trying 🙂
How long can it stay in room temperature?
2-3 days at room temperature.
Hi..my chutney has got thick in consistency.i have kept it in refrigerator.now can i add more water n make a smooth consistency.?
Yes sure, you can do that.
Loved the recipe