If there's a sweet antidote for the tangy sourness of tamarind or imli then it's jaggery, and a combination of jaggery and tamarind has been popularly used to make a sweet-sour chutney. However, very rarely do people use sticky and sweet dates to make chutney, and when it's used, it becomes a lip-smacking, nutritious and thick chutney. Imli Khajur chutney that is made of a fine blend of ground jaggery and soaked dates and tamarind turns into a marvellously yummy condiment when cooked with whole spices, salt and red chilli powder roasted in oil. This chutney is not just another trivial side dish but is the spark ingredients to light the fun of all the Pani puris, Chaat and Samosas.

What’s In A Chutney?

The word chutney is much more worthy of interest and attention than the rest of the details about it. How was it named so and what does it mean? Well, the word chutney, is from the Hindi word for licking or eating with appetite. Chutney, though, is an Indian word but is not confined to just our country. Europeans have it too, and an English-style chutney traditionally employs vinegar to increase the shelf life so that autumn fruits like rhubarb, sharp apples or damson used for making chutney are preserved for use throughout the year just like jams and jellies.

In India, chutney means freshly made ground blend of herbs and vegetables, like coriander chutney, coconut chutney, imli ki chutney and tomato chutney. For seasoning, this spread or chutney is seasoned with mustard oil, mustard seeds and curry leaves. There is an unending list of both ways of making and the kinds of chutney in India, that vary regionally.

Preparation: 1 hour 45 minutes

Cooking: 30 minutes

Servings: For 3 months

Ingredients:

    250 gm tamarind

    250 gm dates

    200 gm jaggery

    ½ tsp salt

    1 tsp red chilli powder

    ½ tsp pink salt

    2-inch sticks of cinnamon

    5 cloves

    1 tbsp oil

    Water as per requirement

Method:

    Wash, dates and tamarind separately and thoroughly. 

    Deseed the dates and tamarind and soak them separately in water for 1 hour.

    Break the jaggery into smaller pieces and keep it in one bowl.

    Then grind jaggery, soaked tamarind and dates together in a blending jar into a smooth paste. Add little water if needed.

    Then transfer it to a container.

    Heat a pan with oil, add chilli powder, salt, pink salt and whole spices to it and stir for a minute until it turns aromatic.

    Then add the paste to it and mix well with the spices and oil. Add a little water so that the paste combines well with other ingredients.

    Cook it on low heat for 20-25 minutes, and keep stirring in between so that it does not stick or form a lump.

    When the mixture becomes dark red after 20 minutes, turn off the flame.

    Let it cool a bit and strain to filter the thick fibrous part of dates and tamarind and whole spices.

    Then pour it into a jar and store it for use later.

Imli Khajur chutney will not perish ideally for about 3 months and can be used recurrently for eating with regular lunch, or as a dip with snacks like Dhokla and Pakora. So spare 30 minutes of the day, and prepare this simple chutney in large volumes to store and enjoy over and again.