Khatti meethi Imli Ki Chutney, sounds like a long name, but it takes 20 mins to make and is paired with sooooo many Indian/ Pakistani snacks (pakoras, chats) and mains! The literal translation of the name is going to be tangy sweet Tamarind Chutney. I swear! this is the best!
‘Imli’ or Tamarind is a super sour flavoring ingredient. This recipe uses a LOT of it and balances that sourness out with some heat from spices and sweetness from dates (or other sweeteners). The overall hit of flavor is definitely sweet and tangy with a bit of heat in there.
This recipe is suitable for: VEGETARIANS – VEGANS – GLUTEN FREE DIETS
How to store Imli ki Chutney?
Simply pour the chutney in a dry glass jar with an airtight lid. Use a clean dry spoon everytime you need to have some chutney time. You can also freeze the chutney indefinitely.
How long can I store the chutney for?
If stored properly, the chutney can stay fresh in the fridge for upto 70 days and indefinitely in the freezer. The longest it has stayed in my freezer is for about a year.
Can I use anything other than dates to sweeten the chutney?
Ofcourse! In Fact you can use any sweetener you like! There’s a whole list of substitutes up ahead. The only reason dates are preferred in this chutney is because they not only act as a nutritious sweetener, but also add that thick texture to the chutney.
- Tamarind (Imli)- The most easily available tamarind are in these 3 forms:
- Tamarind block with seeds
- Tamarind block without seeds
- Tamarind Paste
The paste is a ready to use option where no real cooking is needed. While the block tamarind takes a little bit of time to extract the tamarind concentrate. I’ve mentioned how to use both in the recipe
- Sweetener – The sweetness comes from dates in this recipe, which is made into a paste. You can buy a ready-to-use date paste if you want to avoid the hassle of making your own paste. However, dates aren’t compulsory to use in the recipe. Use any sweetener of your liking:
- Regular white sugar
- Brown sugar or molasses
- Coconut sugar
- Artificial sweeteners like stevia
- A combination of these sweeteners.
- Salt, spices – The flavoring in this recipes comes from roasted cumin, coriander and red chilies. Also known as the DAHI BARA spice mix. You can make your own spice mix or buy a boxed dahi bara spice blend as well.
- Optional Ingredients – Asafoetida (hing) and dry ginger powder (saunth) are also 2 commonly used ingredients in a tamarind chutney. Add a pinch of Asafoetida and 1/2 tsp of ginger powder to add another layer of flavor.
NOTE: Asafoetida has a very strong aroma and taste, so if you’ve never tried it or added it to your food, its best to avoid it with this chutney.
Step by Step
METHOD 1 – With Tamarind paste And Date Paste
The easiest way to make this chutney is to use a tamarind paste and date paste. It will literally take you 5 mins to make the chutney with this combo! You just need to add all the ingredients in a saucepan with water and boil for 5 mins. Viola!
But of course, some of us like to work for our chutney (not really 😛 we are just on a budget). In which case, we are going to be using tamarind blocks and whole dates for the recipe
METHOD 2 – With Tamarind block And whole Dates
STEP 1 – MAKING THE DATE PASTE
Start by removing seeds from your dates and soaking them in boiling water for about 10 mins or until the water comes to room temperature. Then put the dates in a blender and make a fine smooth paste. Now set this aside.
HACK ALERT: Soaking the dates make them softer and easier to make into a paste.
Step 2 – Extracting tamarind pulp from Block
Like the dates, you need to soak tamarind blocks in boiling water as well to loosen up the pulp. After about 10 mins, use a fork to break the blocks and use your hand to mush up the blocks completely. Be Careful for the hot water!
Use a strainer and remove the brown pulp water directly into a saucepan. Repeat the process 3 to 4 times until you can see clean seeds and only debris. You will end up with a lot of pulpy water! Which you now have to cook down.
Step 3 – Boiling the tamarind water with spices
Boil the tamarind water at high flame, along with all the spices and seasonings. When your water cooks down to half, add the date paste and cook for another 5 to 7 mins.
Turn off the flame and do a salt, sweet, spice test and adjust the flavors according to your liking. If you feel like you need more sweetness, you can totally add a little brown sugar or honey at this point rather than soaking more dates.
Allow your chutney to cool down and store them in airtight glass jars in the fridge. Go ahead and enjoy it as you like!
- Always use a glass jar to store condiments.
- Make sure your jar or storage bags are dry before pouring your chutney in it.
- Don’t overcook the chutney to get a thicker consistency. You may end up burning it. Instead, let the chutney air dry while it cools. It’ll thicken up considerably.
- Always use a clean dry spoon whenever using the chutney from the fridge.
- The chutney tends to boil like rice do, so make sure your chutney water only reaches upto 3 quarters of your saucepan and there is enough room for the chutney to rise up while it boils.
Like I said, this imli ki chutney works as a topping sauce or a dipping sauce with a LOT of snacks and mains. Here are some ideas:
- On dahi bara (shown below)
- With mix chaats like Papri Chaat (shown below)
- Use as the sweet chutney for pani puris
- Perfect to pair with bbqs like chicken tikka etc
- I would totally give this as favors to my non-desi folks to try it out.
- On paratha rolls, sandwiches or wraps.
- With Indian/Pakistani fried snacks like pakoras, kachori samosas etc.