5 Ingredients or Fewer

Sweet & Sour Tamarind Chutney

March 18, 2022
1 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog. Prop Stylist: Amanda Widis.
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • makes ¾ cup
Author Notes

This sweet tamarind chutney is sweet, sour, and tangy at the same time. It stays well in the refrigerator for 4 weeks. —Annada Rathi

Test Kitchen Notes

This delicious tamarind chutney recipe was developed for aloo chaat, which provide much of the dish's flavor contrasts. Spoon a quick cilantro chutney as well as the tamarind chutney onto the fried potato mixture, which have been cooked with chaat masala, cumin, and chile powder, for a dance between spicy (from Thai chile peppers), zingy (from ginger), and sweet (from sugar), and tangy (from tamarind). But this chutney stands out all on its own. You only need six ingredients to make the chutney, including salt and water, and you'll want to have a batch of this hanging out in the fridge at all times, since you'll be using it so much.

To make it, combine all the ingredients, except the cornstarch and water, in a pot, and heat through. The cornstarch mixed with the water helps thicken the chutney to a glossy consistency. Feel free to adjust by adding more cornstarch and water to get that perfect texture. If it's still not thickening to your liking, just let it simmer away on the stove low and slow; it'll happen. And that's basically all there is to it. For some serving suggestions, you can add 2 teaspoons of the chutney to a cup of crispy rice cereal. Mix a pinch of salt and red chile powder, a spoonful of diced red onions, and chopped cilantro for a quick snack. Serve alongside samosas and naan for dipping. Or, of course, enjoy with more of a heartier dish like the aloo chaat above. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup tamarind concentrate or extract from the pulp
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon (or more) cornstarch
  1. In a small, thick-bottomed pan, combine the sugar, tamarind concentrate, cumin, and salt. Heat over medium heat.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with 1 teaspoon of water. Add to the chutney and bring to a rolling boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes, until thickened. If it isn't thick enough, mix ¼ teaspoon cornstarch and ½ teaspoon water and continue to boil for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Let cool, then store in a clean glass bottle in the refrigerator.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Annada Rathi
    Annada Rathi
  • cindy
To some people's frustration, I like to talk about food before cooking, while cooking, while eating and of course after eating.

7 Reviews

cindy September 13, 2020
this did not thicken up. Any suggestions?
Annada R. September 13, 2020
Oh, sorry about that! Can you increase the quantity of cornstarch from 1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp or 3/4 tsp and check? Please let me know how it went.
cindy September 14, 2020
Thank you Annada, I added an additional 1/2 tsp of cornstarch mixed with a spoonful of water and brought to a boil again. This time I let it simmer for 20 min as it reduced then cooled off in fridge. It did thicken up!
Annada R. September 14, 2020
Great! Thank you for letting me know. I would love to know how you enjoyed it.
cindy September 15, 2020
First time I ever made it, really liked it. A bit more tart than expected, but not too much. Enjoyed it with nan, samosas, corn and potato "fritters" . Yum.
Annada R. September 15, 2020
Great! Thank you for letting me know! Corn & potato fritters sound SO good! I enjoy this chutney with lentil fritters and potato bowl (roasted potato bed). Fritters dipped in cilantro chutney and the above tamarind chutney taste phenomenal.
cindy September 15, 2020
I actually did just that - we made the Food52 Potato Corn and Scallion Tikki with Cilantro Mint Chutney! The tamarind sauce was a nice balance.