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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tamarind Sauce/Chutney (Imli ki Chutney)

This sweet and sour sauce is used to spruce up almost all the Indian snacks and chaat. You may adjust the amount of tamarind and jaggery/sugar to desired sweetness and tartness/tanginess.

1/2 cup seedless Tamarind or tamarind paste (available at local Indian grocers)
1 cup pitted Dates
1/4 cup of Jaggery **
1 cup of water to soak above
1/4 cup of Brown sugar
1/2 cup of Apple butter (optional, I use it if I am short or void of dates in my pantry)
1/2 cup water to dilute the paste
1 teaspoon of cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tbsl spoon oil
3-4 whole cloves
1-2 bay leaves
Pinch of asfoetida (optional)
Kosher Salt to taste
Black salt ½ teaspoon (optional)


• Soak tamarind, dates and jaggery in water for about 2-3 hours. (if want to make it in hurry can microwave it to soften it)
• Blend into a smooth paste, add brown sugar, apple butter, water (to desired consistency), both salts and cumin powder.

If you want smooth texture following steps can be omitted, but I like to make it this way to add more flavor and longevity.

• Heat oil in a sauce pan, add Cumin seed, when they crackle add cloves, asfoetida, bay leaves and crushed red pepper immediately followed by the paste.
• Simmer at medium to slow heat for 5 min.
• Cool and serve with desired snacks

This can be stored refrigerated for up to a month and deep frozen for more than 6 months.

**Jagggery (also transliterated as jaggeree and called "GUD" in Hindi and Sanskrit) is a traditional unrefined non-centrifugal sugar consumed in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. ] It is a concentrated product of cane juice without separation of the molasses and crystals, and can vary from golden brown to dark brown in color. It contains up to 50% sucrose, up to 20% invert sugars, moisture content of up to 20%.

Health benefit of Jaggery: Jaggery is considered by some to be a particularly wholesome sugar, retaining more mineral salts than refined sugar. Moreover, the process does not involve chemical agents. Indian Ayurvedic medicine considers jaggery to be beneficial in treating throat and lung infections; Some found that in rats jaggery can prevent lung damage from particulate matter such as coal and silica dust.

Gandhi felt that jaggery was healthier than refined sugar, as it was not introduced into the blood as rapidly. As such, he used it in his own personal diet and recommended it for use in his invented goat-milk diet (and all other diets and eating styles).

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