Monday, July 29, 2013

Date and Tamarind Chutney

One of my favourite places to eat in Sydney, particularly when it was cold and you needed something really warming, was the Maya Indian restaurant on Cleveland Street in Surrey Hills.  After a huge North Indian thali plate I would get some samosas for lunch the next day and they would always come with their version of this chutney - yummy!

This is a really easy and quick recipe.  I whipped up batch yesterday afternoon when I realised that we had run out (always the way) and I was cooking up some pakoras (Indian vegetable fritters) for friends who were coming over for dinner.  This chutney is just the perfect accompaniment for that kind of food and also things like pates, terrines, cold meats, all sorts of curries and my husband's favourite - cheese sandwiches.
Pakoras - Indian vegetable fritters


It doesn't require any onions, garlic or vinegar and the sour fruity taste of the tamarind goes really well with the sweet richness of the dates.
Stick blending the chutney until smooth



Date and Tamarind Chutney

1 cup seedless (block) tamarind, soaked for half an hour in one of the cups of water.
2 cup seedless dates
¾ cup palm sugar
1 cup brown sugar
6 cups water
3 tsp roasted cumin seed - grind after roasting
1 tsp chilli powder
1 ½ tsp garam masala
2 tsp salt
1 tbs grated fresh ginger

TOP TIP:  I find it easiest to grate ginger with a julienne grater that has a finger guard - it's done in no time at all without shredding your knuckles!

1. Put all ingredients together in saucepan.  Bring to boil and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring to avoid sticking to bottom.
2. Stick blend to smooth consistency
2. Pour into sterilized jars.

(Will keep for six months or so in the fridge - if it lasts that long!)

NOTE:  It's really easy to make your own garam masala if you have a spice grinder.  Freshly ground spices just have so much more flavour.  Here is a simple recipe that I used for this chutney.
Dried spices ready for grinding

Garam Masala

4 tbsp coriander seed
1 tbsp cumin seed
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1tsp fennel seeds
¾ tsp cloves
2 cm piece cinnamon
1 tsp whole mace or ½ tsp grated nutmeg

1. Toast all lightly 
2. Grind all to fine powder and store in air tight jar

NOTE:  There are just about as many recipes for garam masala as curry recipes - this is just one that goes well with this recipe.  Be adventurous - try your own?






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