I can't take complicated. If it's a showstopper then okay fine, I am willing to do the work, but that's about it. Ask me to go buy a package of dates when I need a few for a chutney or gurh which I will not use again either and I am not a happy camper. Now please do not get me wrong - those chutneys taste great. I will happily drizzle them over my Dahi Baray any day of the week. However, I really wanted to create an Imli ki Chutney recipe that was easy and accessible. It also had to be chaat friendly - just a little sweet, tons of punchy tangy imli taste, and spice. In other words this is not a meethi imli ki chutney.Jump to the Imli ki Chutney Recipe
Straining the Imli
In fact I was so committed to making the recipe as simple as possible that I tried various combinations where I didn't need to strain the Imli first. I personally dislike squishing the imli by hand to separate the seeds from the pulp. Boiling the imli seeds and all with the spices led to a quick and easy strain at the end. However, it also resulted in an Imli ki Chutney that was unpleasantly sour. Offsetting that sourness with sugar meant I now had a chutney which was unpleasantly sweet instead of the tangy all purpose chutney I wanted.
However, to make the straining process easier I opted to create a runnier strained imli. I pour boiling or very hot water over the tamarind chunk (breaking it into pieces with a spoon in advance makes it simpler), then let it sit for ten minutes. This makes it easier to strain and press through with the back of a spoon. It also meant that when I am simmering the imli ki chutney there is enough liquid in the imli ki chutney for flavours to meld nicely together as it thickens.
Imli ki Chutney Ingredients
- Tamarind - I use unsalted (read the package!) and with seeds in because that's what is most commonly available. If you want to use seedless just reduce the tamarind by 20%
- Brown Sugar - it has better flavour in this chutney than white sugar and is commonly available. The chutney will get sweeter as it cools so for me 5 tbsp was perfect, but feel free to add more if you like a sweet chutney.
- Chilli Flakes or Powder - for a little heat
- Salt and Pink Salt - Salt and Pink Salt are both used here to give this chutney a little more atittude. If you don't have pink salt, then don't worry. Just add ½ tsp of chaat masala in at the end.
- Roasted Cumin and Coriander Powder - many cooks already a roasted ground version in their kitchen, but if you don't then a quick dry roast of the spices works. Simply heat a clean frying pan on medium heat and move the spices around until they smell toasty. The Coriander Powder is an unusual addition, but it was suggested by a friend on Instagram who tested the recipe for me and I loved what it did for the chutney. Feel free to omit if you want to - It is still delicious without.
Making this Chutney is a simple two step process
1.) Soak and strain Imli into a small saucepan
2.) Add the remaining ingredients to the saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes.
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An easy tangy spicy sweet chutney using pantry ingredients
- 200 g Imli seedless, unsalted (read package)
- 3 cups Water (very hot, boiling works)
- 5-6 tbsp Brown Sugar
- 1 tsp Chili Flakes (¾ tsp powder)
- ¾ tsp Roasted Cumin Powder
- ¾ tsp Roasted Coriander Powder (optional, but adds a great smokiness)
- ½ tsp Salt
- ¼ tsp Pink Salt (if you don't have it add ½ tsp of chaat masala at the end)
Break the imli into smaller chunks and pour over hot water. Let sit for 5-10 minutes or until softened.
Strain the Imli into a pot, just use the back of a spoon to make sure you get maximum flavour in your pot.
Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil
Simmer for 15 minutes. The chutney will thicken a little, but will still be runny.
Let cool completely then store in a jar in the fridge, it will keep for a few weeks. You can also freeze half.