When Padma Lakshmi Got Nostalgic Sharing Her Dates and Imli Chutney Recipe
Image Credit: Instagram @padmalakshmi

Indian American author, activist, model, and television host, Padma Laksmi has a tremendous fan following across all her social media platforms, and what we absolutely look forward to are her own recipes. The 51-year-old model is also a noted gourmet and has somehow managed to put many Indian delicacies on the world map. Recently, she shared one of the recipes that apparently made her childhood special.  

“When I was young, my sister-cousin Neela and I loved the category of snacks called chaat. The joys of chaat come from the thrilling mix of textures, temperatures, and flavors - we couldn't get enough! This dark, gooey chutney was my first mother sauce of sorts and is one of the key components that takes a snack or dish to chaatpati status.”, she wrote in her caption to the video that she uploaded on Thursday.  

The chutney is also one of the few recipes from her memoir ‘Love, Loss and What We Ate’. She calls the recipe very easy, with the “only labour” being chopping dates. If you find that hard, you can go for pitted dates, she suggests. But make sure you chop them until they are very “little and fine”. The recipe starts with dry roasting the powdered spices like cumin powder, coriander powder and cayenne pepper. You can go easy of Cayenne, if you want to keep the heat in control, you can start with “one tsp”. Just dry roast it, until you start smelling heat. Keep the heat to medium or medium-low, because you do not want to burn them. Powdered spices take a lot less time to roast, says Padma Laksmi.  

“This is the taste that reminds me very much of my childhood”, says the ‘Top Chef’ host, while proceeding to add the tamarind concentrate and warm water. Post this, there is nothing much to the recipe, you just have to stir and allow the water to dissolve. Keep stirring for no lumps. Let it come to a boil and then add dates. As it concentrates, add salt. It should be simmering for 45 minutes.  If it gets too thick, do not be scared to add more water, says Padmalakshmi “It is such a forgiving recipe,” she says.  

Further in the video, she also gives us many ideas to use this chutney. From shrimp tacos, pan sauteed fillet fish, to boneless chicken tenders, you can use this chutney to sautee with a range of things. “Use it as a drizzle, dip or marmalade-the possibilities are endless”, she also writes in her caption.

In the video, Padma Laxmi also confessed to being a fan of Delhi’s chaat. She said when she was little she would frequent Old Delhi a lot for the street food, even around India Gate, in Bengali Market,  she would often have what she calls the “Best Panipuri”.  “In you are ever in the capital, please have chaat,” she says.