May 03

How to Make Imli or Tamarind Chutney

I love Indian street food. The tanginess and the multitude of flavors and spices are just so delectable. I think my favorite among them all is papdi chat. Though pani puri or gol gappa is a close second. Back in Mumbai, I would make it a point to go have some almost every week!

But when I moved to the US, I knew that those flavors and that exact taste would be hard to come by. So, I decided the best would be to experiment on my own till I discovered the secret to the great taste. Now, all the spices are available in Indian grocery stores here and even the papdi and the puris for pani puri are available. Its the chutney that is the main ingredient missing. I have looked high and low but I haven’t yet found the tamarind chutney that I have been looking for. So, here is my mother’s recipe.


100 gm (a little over 1/2 a cup) Imli or Tamarind

100 gm Jaggery or Gurh

3.5 cups water

Salt to taste

1/2 tsp red chilly powder

1 tsp rock salt

1 tsp zeera or cumin powder


Soak tamarind in water and mix well. Strain this mixture. Add jaggery, salt, red chilly powder, rock salt and zeera powder and cook this mixture for 20 minutes, till it attains a sauce-like consistency. Remove from the pan and allow it to cool. The chutney is ready!

Store in the refrigerator. This chutney has a shelf life of about 3 months when kept in the fridge.

This chutney goes well with any snack and is an essential ingredient to Indian street food such as chat and bhel puri. It is also used as an addition to some yogurt dishes such as dahi bhalla or dahi vada (both are different). I use it just to make plain yogurt tangy sometimes.

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