Indian tamarind chutney

    40 min

    A sweet and spicy smooth chutney made with tamarind paste, cumin, ginger, fennel seeds and garam masala. Spoon on top of cooked chicken breasts or simply use as a dip for poppadoms or warm naan bread.

    40 people made this

    Serves: 10 

    • 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
    • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
    • 1/2 teaspoon asafoetida or garlic powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
    • 475ml (16 fl oz) water
    • 225g (8 oz) caster sugar
    • 40g (about 3 tablespoons) tamarind paste

    Prep:10min  ›  Cook:30min  ›  Ready in:40min 

    1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, ginger, cayenne pepper, fennel seeds, asafoetida and garam masala; cook and stir for about 2 minutes to release the flavours.
    2. Stir the water into the pan with the spices along with the sugar and tamarind paste. Bring to the boil, then simmer over low heat until the mixture turns a deep chocolaty brown and is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. This should take 20 to 30 minutes. The sauce will be thin, but it will thicken upon cooling.


    Asafoetida is used a lot in Indian cooking. It has a strong onion-garlic flavour but a little goes a long way. If you can't find it use garlic powder.

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    Reviews in English (33)


    Surprised there are no reviews of this yet! I regularly visit the Mughli restaurant in Manchester and they often serve an incredible small pot of a tangy sauce with some of their starters. I knew it had tamarind in because of the tang and the colour and it also has great aromatic flavours so I wanted to find a recipe which seemed similar. Just made this and added some fresh coriander and finely chopped red chilli and it has turned out superb - sweet, tangy and spicy. Great recipe for accompanying starters such as samosas / onion bhajis or poppadoms.  -  28 Mar 2015


    This was EXCELLENT, just perfect. Really easy to make and tasted delicious. I used jaggery instead of caster sugar...  -  18 Jul 2017


    DO NOT heat your oil over medium- go a little lower. I can't describe exactly what happened when the spices hit the oil, but I can tell you that it felt like my lungs had collapsed. My kids literally ran screaming from the kitchen and I finished cooking with a dish towel over my nose and mouth. I really think the heat is too high on this because I made something similar later on at a lower temp and didn't have anything like this happen. I'm still giving this four stars though because this is the best tamarind chutney I've ever tasted. If you don't have access to tamarind paste (I'm talking to you, my fellow rural Iowans!) then you can make a delicious substitute using 1 tablespoon each of dried, chopped apricots, dates and prunes. Pour boiling water on them and let them soak for fifteen minutes and then drain and puree them with one tablespoon lemon juice.  -  31 Dec 2009  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)

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