Monday 15 October 2012

Alphabetic Recipes I — Imli Chatni (Tamarind Chutney)

Today we have a classic North Indian recipe for a traditional recipe for an acidic chutney made from tamarind pulp that's traditionally used as an accompaniment for curries.

Today's is the tenth entry of my new series of Alphabetic recipes. Each day for the next month and more, I will be adding a new recipe linked to a different letter of the alphabet. As I collect recipes from all over the globe, and have lots of Welsh recipes, I am going to use a blend of the Welsh and English alphabets:

A | B | C | DE | F | Ff | G | H | IJ | K | L | Ll | M | N | O | P | Q | R | Rh | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

so there will be 30 entries in total. As today is the eighth day in this series I am providing a recipe starting with the letter 'I'.

Today we have two Is, India and Imli (Tamarind). This is a traditional Indian recipe for a classic chutney-style accompaniment of tamarind juice flavoured with spices.

The term 'cutney' itself is an Anglicization of the Hindi word 'chatni' (which is pronounced 'chutni'). The Hindi word 'chatni' literally means 'to lick' and represents the lip-smacking sound made on eating something tasty. Traditional Indian chatnis are a mix of uncooked fruit (often mango, but also sour plums, apples and tamarind, as here), green chillies, herbs like coriander and mint, a few spices, lemon or vinegar or tamarind, sometimes sugar, all ground together to make a paste. In Britain and the West, this original was adapted to the preserving methods of the late 18th and early 19th centuries as a spicy preserve/condiment, where fruit or vegetables have been cooked in vinegar, with spices and sugar, and then bottled.

Imli Chatni (Tamarind Chutney) Recipe

400g tamarind pulp (the semi-dry variety containing stones and skins is best)
1l hot water (about)
1 tsp cooking oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
generous pinch of asafoetida powder
6 tsp salt
100g jaggery (or palm sugar or muscovado sugar)
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp powdered roasted cumin seeds
2 tsp garam masala

Break the block of tamarind pulp into pieces. Place these in a bowl, cover with hot water and set aside to infuse for 2 hours.

After this time, use your hands to mash and squeeze the tamarind pulp to extract as much flavour as possible from it. Strain the juice through a sieve and discard the skins and seeds.

In the meantime, heat the oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds and asafoetida powder. When the seeds begin to splutter and release their aroma stir in the strained tamarind pulp and stir in the salt, jaggery, chilli powder and cumin seeds.

Bring to a brisk simmer, stirring constantly, and cook for 10 minutes, or until well thickened. Taste the mixture and add more jaggery or sugar if it's too sour for your taste. At this point add the garam masala, take off the heat and set aside to cool before ladling the mixture into thoroughly cleaned and sterilized jars that have been warmed in the oven.

Ensure that you allow 1cm of head space in each jar then secure a lid on each and allow to cool, label, and store in the refrigerator. This chutney will keep for a month or more.

Alternatively, you can freeze where it will keep for many months.

This recipe is based, with permission, on the Celtnet Recipes recipe for Imli (Tamarind) Chutney.

This recipe is brought to you in conjunction with the Celtnet Guide to Recipes Beginning with 'I'.

For all the curry recipes on this blog, see the curry history and curry recipes page.

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