Imli (tamarind) chutney (condiment)

Anyone who loves Indian street food knows the taste of Indian Chaat – pani puri, chole tikiya, ragda pattice. Papdi chaat etc.

However, there is a key ingredient in all these preparations – the tangy, lip smacking imli (tamarind) chutney.

I grew up in North India but have been settled in West India for nearly 2 decades now. And, I do love my chaat. However, unlike the tamarind version we get in North India, West India is more partial to the sweeter Khajoor (date) chutney.

But I cannot do without my imli chutney. My version is straight from my home state of Uttar Pradesh.

IMLI CHUTNEY (tamarind chutney)


1 cup tamarind paste

2 tsp mint leaves, chopped

½ tsp black rock salt (If more is needed then white salt can be added too)

1 tsp pepper powder

1 tsp red chili powder

1 tsp saunth (dry ginger powder)

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 dried red chili

2 tsp cumin powder

½ cup jaggery/ sugar (depending on the tartness of the tamarind, you can increase the quantity)

1 tsp ghee/clarified butter

2 cups warm water



  1. Heat the ghee in a pan and add the fennel seeds. Once they start to splutter add the red chili.
  2. Heat two cups of water and dissolve the tamarind paste in that. Once done add the solution to the pan.
  3. Add the red chili powder, cumin powder, dry ginger powder, pepper powder and rock salt.
  4. Stir and mix well. Let the mixture come to a boil.
  5. Add the jaggery/sugar and let the mixture bubble for about 10-15 minutes on low heat. It should reduce in volume. We are looking for a 50% reduction or till the mixture thickens.
  6. Once done, stir in the mint leaves and take off the heat.


About Sonal Singh

I believe that life is a repertoire of anecdotes. The various situations that we encounter, the many incidents of every day, the people we meet, our conversations with them; all make life a melange of tales. And, that is what I attempt to capture through my writing. My cooking is no different! It reflects my love for travel and my love for innovation. The kitchen is my happy place. So, even though by vocation I am a recruiter (, by passion I am a writer, home chef and a hodophile.

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