Sweet, Sour, & Spicy Tamarind Chutney~Sweetened with Medjool Dates

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by Sara Hafiz on September 20, 2010

The reddish brown, curved seed pods of a  tropical tree. These Tamarind pods have a hard shell on the outside and from the inside there are  several large seeds encased by moist, sticky, dark brown flesh that varies from being very sweet to very sour. Tamarind is used in Indian sauces & curries, Thai, Malaysian, Indonesian soups & marinades.

I used to buy Tamarind Chutney in a jar. But those days are gone ever since I had this tangy, sweet & spicy sauce with Samosas at a friends house. I asked her, “so where did you get this tamarind chutney from, it’s SO good?!” and she answered, It’s Homemade!!! I had to have her recipe right away, so I quickly jotted down the recipe faster than I could say Tamarind! To my amazement, I  found out that my  friend sweetened the Tamarind Chutney with Dates and not just any dates, Medjool Dates! (this post is not an ad for Medjool dates). I happen to really like these dates which I’m happy to say are grown right here in the good Ole USA!!!  I absolutely love this delicious & healthy fruit which is so Ancient. Medjool an Arabic name, for a type of Dates which are originally native of Morocco, are a large, sweet & succulent variety of Dates. Tamarind combined with dates is such an excellent intertwining of sour & sweet on your taste- buds. Tamarind is also a fruit which is native to South Asia, its tangy sour taste is perfect in chutneys & marinades. I love buying a Tamarind paste from my local Thai market.


1 Packet of Tamarind Paste

10-12 Medjool Dates, seeded & chopped

1 1/2 cup of water

2 tablespoons of Homemade  Cumin Poweder (toast it for 2 min on a frying pan & then grind)

1 teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper Powder

1/2 teaspoon Salt or to taste

2 tablespoon Sugar to taste


Tamarind paste is usually found in a condensed  block shape packages. I placed the Tamarind block in a metal bowl & covered it with boiling water, cover the bowl with a tight lid and let it sit for 1hr. Once the Tamarind paste is soft, I transferred it into a deep medium size sauce pan and placed it on a low heat on the stove. Add the water & the chopped dates into the sauce pan and let all of the ingredients simmer for 30 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to mash the mixture and give it a good mix after every few minutes. Once the Tamarind & Date mixture looks like it has combined well, take the saucepan off of  the stove. Take a big deep bowl and place a sieve on top of it, now pour the Tamarind/Date mixture into the Sieve.  In order to separate the pulp from the Tamarind pulp & seeds which are tough & unpleasant to eat, keep moving the wooden spoon so the pulp goes through the Sieve. Once you have the Pulp which is free of seeds and unwanted pulp. Add the Cumin powder, Salt, Cayenne Pepper & Sugar. Mix well. You can always add more or less seasonings to your taste. Tamarind Chutney can be stored in an air tight jar in the refrigerator for at least 3 months. Enjoy!

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Faith September 20, 2010 at 9:51 pm

I love tamarind chutney! This sounds really fantastic sweetened with dates!

Faith September 20, 2010 at 9:52 pm

I love tamarind chutney and this sounds delicious sweetened with dates! I had no idea that’s what tamarind pods looked like, very interesting!

Faith September 20, 2010 at 9:53 pm

Lol, sorry for the second (and now third!) comment! The first time I submitted I got an error message saying that my comment hadn’t gone through. :)

Jamie September 21, 2010 at 10:19 am

Ah, I was waiting for this! And I breath a sigh of relief as I see that this is exactly the brand and the packet of tamarind paste I can buy in Nantes. I even have a package I bought once, intrigued, and then never used. I love the look and the sound of how it tastes. I am making this. Thanks for the recipe. The photos are gorgeous!

Nadia September 21, 2010 at 6:27 pm

an all time favorite of mine! ive never made it all home like this on the stove, always use the tamarind paste, but it tastes wayyyy better on the stove! love the fresh tamarind on your pics. :D

Sara September 21, 2010 at 9:41 pm

Thank you Faith, Jamie & Nadia! Tamarind is one of my favorite foods! :)

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