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Green tamarind chutney (Kacchi imli ki chutney)

Updated: Oct 11, 2022

Fresh tamarind appears in the market very briefly in late summer and folks clamour over them picking out the most tender and succulent pods. It is used mainly in chutneys, but also in some curries and dishes adding wonderful fresh tart flavour to the dish.

This chutney is as basic as it gets. The sour tamarind is complemented by the spicy green chillies and the cilantro adds herbed notes. The chutney pops with flavour and is perfect with heavy curries. This seasonal chutney is a must during the season to enjoy the flavours of the tender tamarind pods.

Pratibha Karan started her career as an IAS officer, and after a successful career migrated to authoring cookbooks. She has published a couple of cookbooks, and her work as the Secretary in the Ministry of Food Processing prepared her for this new role. This cookbook is her opus on Nawabi Hyderabadi cuisine, she brings to your table the distinct dishes of the era and culture. From the classic Dum ka biryani to the other lesser-known dishes that she has resurrected, this book is filled with recipes that shine on the table.

For more recipes from this book, click here.


1/2 lb green tender tamarind pods

10-12 green chillies, or to taste

1 bunch of cilantro leaves and tender stems

1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin seeds

1 clove garlic

1 teaspoon ginger paste

Salt, to taste

Water, as needed

To temper:

2 tablespoons oil

5 whole red chillies

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

10-12 curry leaves

Wash the tamarind pods well to get rid of any grit. Add all the ingredients, except those for the temper to a small blender and add 2-3 tablespoons of water. Blitz to a fine purée. You are looking for a very thick purée, so do not add too much water. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve to get rid of any bits.

Heat the oil in a small "tadka" vessel. Add the red chillies, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and curry leaves and fry for 30 seconds till the chillies have turned a dark shade of red. Pour over the chutney and serve as is or mix in.

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