Imli Sauce: Sweet And Spicy Tamarind Date Chutney

Imli sauce literally means tamarind sauce. It’s the sweet tamarind chutney. And it has a flavour combination of tangy, sweet and spicy spices aroma that makes the sauce unique.

Imli sauce in a round white bowl with some fresh tamarind on the background.

Imli Sauce Is The Sweet Tamarind Chutney

Imli sauce literally means tamarind sauce. It’s the sweet tamarind chutney. And it has a flavour combination of tangy, sweet and spicy spices aroma that makes the sauce unique. It’s also called tamarind chutney, imli chutney, or imli ki chatni. They all refer to the same thing. 

In this recipe, I pair the sweet juicy dates with tamarind. Simply because dates offer more natural sweetness and are supposed to be better for health, right? Also, the dates give a delicious toffee-like smell to the chutney. Just yummy.

a bowl and a jar of imli sauce the sweet and spicy tamarind sauce in Pakistani style.

But you don’t have to worry if dates are not available to you. Swap them with sugar. And you’ll still have a tasty and moreish sauce. Better than the ready-made sauce you get from the shop. Because this one has nothing but natural ingredients. No fluff of additives or preservatives. And the best thing is that it is so easy to make this sauce and reasonably cheap. 

Here, I made a concentrated chutney which is quite thick. So you can add more water to make it saucier if you like. A bit like the tamarind sauce you get from the shop.

Perfect Sauce For Many Things

This imli sauce is one of the most sought after condiments among Indian/ Pakistani foods. It is often served with appetizers and/ or snacks such as pakoras or kebabs. And it can be used as a delicious drizzle for Khaman Dhokla, Dahi baray (lentil dumplings in spiced yoghurt) or chana chaat. 

So it’s only natural if you want to learn how to make this condiment. To save you and your family from consuming too many additives. 

Easy Ingredients

You only need 6 items for this imli ki chutney recipe. Tamarind block, dates, ground cumin, Kashmiri red chilli powder, ground ginger, and salt. 

I’d say they’re all relatively easy to get from any Asian shop.

Though I strongly suggest you use Kashmiri red chilli powder, don’t worry too much if it’s not available for you. Ordinary red chilli powder is sufficient. 

As for dates, I recommend Medjool dates. But I appreciate that they may not be easily attainable. So, feel free to use any type of date. Make sure you deseed them and chop them finer if the dates are a bit dry. 

And if you want to omit the date altogether, you can swap it with coconut palm sugar (jaggery). Or dark soft brown sugar and dark muscovado sugar. For this recipe, I’d put 50-75 grams of palm sugar. But of course, you can adjust it according to your liking. 

How To Make Imli Sauce At Home

Firstly, you want to soften the tamarind block by boiling it with enough water. Once it gets softened, you sieve it and discard the pulp and the seeds. 

photo collage of boiling tamarind and date.

Secondly, add the chopped dates (if using) or sugar, ground cumin, ground ginger, Kashmiri red chilli powder and salt into the tamarind. Then pour in some more water and cook everything until they’re bubbling and dates are softened. 

Thirdly, using a handheld blender, a food processor or an ordinary blender, you blend/ process the tamarind mixture until really smooth. You can add more hot boiling water (from the kettle) if you like your imli chatni a little runnier. And put the chutney back onto the cooker and heat it another few minutes until it is piping hot again. 

photo collage of making imli ki chatni.

Storage And Lifespan

Once your tamarind sauce is smooth and bubbling hot again, you can place it in a clean and sterilized jar. Leave the container open until the chutney is completely cooled down before you put the lid on. 

You can store your imli sauce for about 4-8 weeks in the refrigerator. Just make sure you always use a clean spoon to take some of the chutney when you need it. This way, you will prevent crisscrossing the potential bacteria from using a used spoon into the sauce. 

Imli chutney the tamarind sauce in a bowl and a jar.

Want More Ideas For Condiments?

Thank you for checking out this Imli Ki Chatni recipe. I hope you’re now thinking of trying it. If you do, can you please share what you think about the recipe in the comments below? I’d really appreciate it. 

And please follow me on Facebook, Instagram and/or Pinterest. To sneak a peek at what’s cooking in my kitchen. 

Before you go, you may want to check my other condiment recipes that you may like.

Thank you and all the best.

Imli sauce in a round white bowl with some fresh tamarind on the background.
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4.50 from 2 votes

Imli Sauce: Sweet And Spicy Tamarind Date Chutney

Imli sauce literally means tamarind sauce. It’s the sweet tamarind chutney. And it has a flavour combination of tangy, sweet and spicy spices aroma that makes the sauce unique.
Author: Devy Dar
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Sundries
Cuisine: Indonesian
Servings: 1 jar = 30 servings

Equipment

  • Saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Sieve

Ingredients

  • 7.05 ounces gr/ 7.05 oz/ 44 lbs tamarind block.
  • 1 ¼ cup water.
  • 3.53 ounces pitted dates see the note if you are not using dates.
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin.
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder.
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger.
  • 1 teaspoon salt.

Instructions

  • Place the tamarind block in a saucepan and add in 1 cup of water (240 ml). Cook it at medium heat until the water boils, then turn the heat down to simmer. Using a spoon, try to break the tamarind to help it soften quicker. Mash it as it is cooking.
  • Turn the heat off once the tamarind is completely softened, and you get a very thick tamarind sauce. Now, sieve the sauce and discard the tamarind seeds and any other pulp leaving the sauce smooth. 
  • Chop the dates and place them in another saucepan together with ¼ cup of water (60ml). Cook it until the fruits soften. 
  • Using a handheld blender stick, a blender or a food processor, whizz the date mixture until it turns smooth. If you like, you can mash the mixture with a big spoon instead and sieve it through to get a smooth mixture. 
  • Place the tamarind and date mixture in a clean saucepan. Add in the ground cumin, red chilli powder, ground ginger and salt. Give it a good stir and cook it until it reaches boiling point. Here, you can add more water if you prefer your sauce to be runny. Just make sure you check the taste and adjust the salt accordingly. 

Notes

  • You can substitute the dates with sugar. The best choice is coconut palm sugar (jaggery). But soft brown sugar or muscovado sugar are good enough.
  • This recipe yields a dipping sauce consistency. If you want a runnier consistency, you can add more water according to your liking.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 1600kcal | Carbohydrates: 418g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 260mg | Fiber: 34g | Sugar: 260g

Disclaimer

Nutritional info in this recipe is only estimate using online calculator. You should refer to it as a guide only. Please verify with your own data if you seek an accurate info.

Author: Devy Dar

Title: Food Writer, Recipe Developer, and Digital Content Creator.

Bio:

Devy Dar founded So Yummy Recipes and Drizzling Flavor to share her love of food after exploring various cultures and cuisines for more than two decades. Her mission is to help others easily recreate traditional and non-traditional food with readily available ingredients. Her works have been featured in Reader’s Digest, Al Jazeera, MSN, Yahoo, Bon Appetit, and more. 

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