Tamarind Chutney

I think home-made gifts are the best. So last week I thought I’d invite my friend over and together we’d make some chutney for a friends 21st. Though it was our first attempt at chutneys, it was a great success. It was a good balance between sweet and sour. In terms of texture, very soft and smooth and full of flavour. We even tried making a drink out of the remaining liquid the tamarind was soaking in but it was rather intense, the tamarind really needs to be diluted if it’s to be made in a drinkable form!The recipe I amended was from Mamta Gupta’s website here.

Makes one large condiment jar.

INGREDIENTS

1 packet of tamarind pulp (you can get these at large Asian grocers)
300ml of warm water (enough to cover the pulp)
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp roasted and ground cumin
2 tsp garam masala
4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp hot chilli powder
100g packed brown sugar
6 cooking dates

METHOD

preparing the tamarind: In a large-bowl, break up the tamarind in large chunks and pour warm water over. Let it soak for at least one hour to loosen up the tamarind. Then, in an empty bowl push the softened tamarind pulp through a colander with your hands. Add a little water to the pulp to thicken it (you can add up to 1/2 of the liquid the tamarind was soaking…you don’t want it to get to liquidy). When most of the pulp comes through (you may need to pour some more water to loosen it), and the mixture is thick and bulky, it’s ready to be cooked.

cooking the tamarind: In a large saucepan, at medium-high heat, add cumin seeds and let them pop. Then, add the soft tamarind pulp and the rest of the ingredients (except for salt, chillies and sugar). Mix well. Let it simmer for 20 minutes or until the tamarind mixture thickens up. Add the garam masala. Let it cool for a few minutes before pouring into recycled jars or containers.

It keeps for a few months, with the flavours intensifying as time goes by.

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