Tamarind chutney

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    2 x 500 ml


Appears in

Tamarind chutney is like the subcontinent’s Vegemite – delicious as a condiment and great when added to a curry to thicken and enhance the flavours.

Sweet but tart, and sometimes very sour, the flavour of tamarind is potent, so a little goes a long way, which is why it is often mixed with sugar, and/or diulted, to mellow its strong taste. Tamarind makes a great base for sauces, marinades and stews.

Preparation 30 minutes
Cooking hours


  • 450 g (1 lb) tamarind pulp
  • 150 g ( oz) ghee
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 10 cm (4 inch) knob of fresh young ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 650 g (1 lb 7 oz) raw sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 350 ml (12 fl oz) white vinegar
  • 2 fresh curry leaf sprigs, leaves picked
  • 2 tablespoons black mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt


Soak the tamarind pulp in 350 ml (12 fl oz) warm water for 5 minutes, then push through a fine sieve, into a bowl. Reserve the liquid and discard any fibres.

Heat half the ghee in a heavy-based saucepan over medium–low heat and cook the onion, garlic and ginger for 3–5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent, stirring regularly.

Add the reserved tamarind water, the sugar, chilli flakes and vinegar and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring continuously, for 1 hour, or until the mixture has reduced by about three-quarters and is thick and pulpy.

Heat the remaining ghee in a small heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Add the curry leaves and mustard seeds and shake the pan until the mustard seeds begin to pop, then immediately add to the tamarind mixture with the salt, stirring well. Cover and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Spoon into two hot sterilised jars, seal and leave to cool.

Store in the fridge, and allow to settle for a week or two before using. This chutney will keep in the fridge for up to 1 year.