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Tamarind Date Chutney

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Yields about 2 cups

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 111

Chutneys run the gamut from thin and smooth to thick and chunky. This smooth chutney, which balances the tartness of tamarind with the sweetness of dates, is a delicious accompaniment to the Salmon, Lentil, and Rice Kedgeree.

  • 6 oz. tamarind pulp (from a block or shelled pods), cut into chunks
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs. finely grated fresh ginger
  • 3/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 3/4 tsp. cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 3/4 tsp. coriander seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds, toasted and ground
  • Kosher salt

In a medium, nonreactive bowl, soak the tamarind pulp in the boiling water for about 20 minutes, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it becomes more pliable. Once softened, pour it into a medium-mesh sieve set over a 4-quart, nonreactive saucepan. Using your fingers or the back of a spoon, press the pulp through the sieve until only seeds and fiber are left behind. Be sure to scrape any strained tamarind from the underside of the sieve into the pan. Discard the solids left in the sieve.

Add the dates and sugar to the tamarind and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and stir in the ginger, chili powder, cumin, coriander, and fennel. Simmer until the mixture has thickened slightly and the dates are soft, 15 to 20 minutes.

In a blender, purée the chutney until smooth. Let cool and then season to taste with salt (you may not need any, depending on the tamarind). Store the chutney in a jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Serve at room temperature.

Serving Suggestions

• Serve alongside grilled chicken or roasted turkey.

• Spread on crackers and top with a piece of salty, aged cheese like Gouda or manchego.

• Make a bacon sandwich with chutney, mayonnaise, and a peppery green like arugula or watercress.

• Add a few tablespoons to the meat mixture for pork, beef, or veal meatballs.

• Whisk together chutney and olive oil to make a salad dressing.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : 2 Tbs.; Calories (kcal): 70; Fat (g): fat g 0; Fat Calories (kcal): 0; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 0; Protein (g): protein g 1; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 0; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 17; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 40; Fiber (g): fiber g 1;

Photo: Scott Phillips

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