Tamarind Chutney (Imli Chutney)


You are going to want to dip everything into this sweet tamarind chutney!

tamarind chutney

What is Tamarind Chutney?

Tamarind chutney is sweet and spicy and tart! It’s the perfect dipping sauce to serve with fried Indian snacks like pakoras or samosas.

I’ve already shared my recipe for Cilantro Mint Chutney here on the blog and so it’s about time I share this tamarind chutney recipe as well. After all, these two chutneys are always served together. I’d say these are two of the most popular chutneys out there. You can see I’m serving them both below with my Gluten-Free Samosa.

Paleo Samosa: gluten-free and dairy-free by MyHeartBeets.com

“This is the sixth tamarind chutney recipe I have tried…and I can finally stop searching for the ideal version. When I make chicken tacos, this is my secret topping that everyone asks about. The uses for this chutney are endless. Thank you for the recipe. Simply stunning in flavour.”


“Indian Sweet and Sour Sauce”

I like to think of tamarind chutney as being the Indian version of “sweet and sour” sauce (you know, the kind you can get at fast-food restaurants…). I know some of you are like “oh no, Ashley did NOT just compare tamarind chutney to McD’s sweet and sour sauce” but you guys, I did say it’s the Indian version of it! It has plenty of tangy tamarind flavor, a good amount of sugar to balance out the tartness, and a bit of cayenne to give the sauce some heat. Also, I think it’d be delicious served with chicken nuggets… just saying.

Does anyone else refer to tamarind chutney as “red chutney?” I’ve been calling it that since I was a kid… I have definitely heard people refer to cilantro-mint chutney as green chutney but now I’m not so sure that I’ve heard anyone else refer to tamarind chutney as red chutney? Does anyone else call it red chutney? I need to know…

More chutney observations (because I spend too much time thinking about food…): I think there are – for the most part – two types of people out there: the red chutney folks and the green chutney folks. The red chutney folks use a heavy hand when drizzling tamarind chutney on their plates then add a light drizzle of green chutney. The green chutney folks do the opposite. I am a red chutney girl through and through. I like all things sweet and tangy with just the tiniest bit of heat. My husband is a green chutney guy and likes all things spicy to the max.

So I have to know… what kind of “chutney person” are you? Man, that would be a good interview question. The right “interview answer” would obviously be something really obscure/unique that I haven’t thought of yet… I don’t even know.

Anyway, enjoy this tangy tamarind chutney and serve it with anything and everything!

tamarind chutney

Tamarind Chutney (Imli Chutney)

tamarind chutney

Tamarind Chutney (Imli Chutney)

5 from 14 reviews
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  • In a dry skillet, add cumin seeds and fennel seeds and stir-fry until brown and fragrant. Grind these spices in a spice blender.
  • Combine all of the ingredients, including the freshly ground cumin and fennel, in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  • Cook for 20-25 minutes or until the chutney has slightly thickened and coats the back of a spoon. You will want to stir occasionally during this time.
  • Allow the mixture to cool down, strain the liquid through a strainer, then serve.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week or put it in the freezer for longer storage.
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Find out more about my cookbooks Indian Food Under Pressure and South Asian Persuasion.

About Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley. Thanks for being here! I truly believe that food brings us closer together. Gather around a table with good food and good people, and you’ll have the ingredients you need to create some happy memories. My hope is that you find recipes here that you can’t wait to share with family and friends.


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  1. Angelique Cooper says

    5 stars
    Thank you for this awesome recipe. I did reduce the sugar to 1/2 c-mixed monk fruit with brown.
    I also added 1-2 tsp sambal oelek for extra spice.
    Could not get it to thicken so added 1 tbs cornstarch.

  2. Lina says

    Do you think it will work if I use the instant pot and follow the instructions you have for the Tamarind Date Chutney?

  3. mon says

    This recipe is my go to tamarind chutney. I’ve tried others in the past and they have been meh. This is spot on! Do you think I could use lakanto (looks/acts like sugar) when making for people who can’t have sugar?

  4. Ann says

    5 stars
    Very easy and delicious. I was looking for a tamarind sauce that would go with pakoras.. this hit the spot. I did halve the sugar though as I like my sauce more tart. Thank you!

  5. Sarah says

    The flavor of the chutney was PERFECT, but I could not get it to thicken. I tried to reduce it for over 30 minutes. Help!

  6. Chance says

    5 stars
    Delicious with coconut sugar. We can’t get enough of this tamarind chutney or the date-sweetened one. They are both equally good!

  7. Mark says

    5 stars
    This is the sixth tamarind chutney recipe I have tried…and I can finally stop searching for the ideal version. When I make chicken tacos, this is my secret topping that everyone asks about. The uses for this chutney are endless. Thank you for the recipe. Simply stunning in flavour.

  8. Jeff says

    5 stars
    On to my second batch, and you don’t need to alter the recipe at any stage, this goes so well with the samosa that I have for lunch and the chicken and the chips and the seafood and… you probably get the idea

  9. Bhavana Pathak says

    I can always counts on your recipes in a pinch to easily and tastily make what I need! Planning on trying your green chutney next. I’d say I go 50-50, can’t have the green without the red.

  10. John C says

    5 stars
    I loved the flavor of this which was spicier and more interesting than the tamarind sauces I’ve purchased at Indian markets. The sauce did not thicken however, even after more than 35 minutes. Just reduced in volume. Is there a technique I’m missing?

    • My Heart Beets says

      John, I’m so glad you loved the flavor! It’s still a fairly runny sauce – I’m sure you made it correctly. The longer you reduce it, the stronger the flavor should be.

  11. Ada says

    5 stars
    Just fabulous! Perfect accompaniment for samosas! (Although I used 1/2 the sugar). Great recipe. Thank you!

  12. Christie says

    5 stars
    I was pleased with how this turned out. Didn’t have the paste so soaked the pods as usual and made my own. Will make again.

  13. Gigi Greene says

    I have tamarind pods, not paste, do you have any tips for starting with those? Or shall I just see if I can find the paste? I looked up this recipe while we were eating at our local Indian restaurant because my husband loves the tamarind sauce/chutney sooooo much!

  14. Phyllis says

    Red chutney girl here! Although I’m Italian and only know it as tamarind chutney. Can’t wait to try it!

      • Phyllis says

        Made this chutney to serve with pakoras today (used your potato pakora recipe, but I had broccoli so that’s what I made), and WOW, so delicious! My husband and daughter would never have known they were both Paleo recipes had I not told them. Thanks so much for all your hard work. So many of us appreciate it!

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