• Tamarind and date chutney (Sharyn Cairns)Source: Sharyn Cairns

Make your own chutney and reap the rewards of a saucy condiment that is calling for a sandwich.






Skill level

Average: 3.7 (7 votes)

"Tamarind is one of those ingredients that seems to be used in so many cuisines - as diverse as Mexican, Thai, Jamaican and Indian. It’s a key souring agent and is also used to tenderise meat, is a great source of vitamin C and said to cool the body and break fevers… and in this case make a really sensational chutney. This recipe is from Jaya Chopra who grew up India. Jaya and her son Ankit now make and sell chutneys under the Eat Me label at Sydney Farmers Markets. The most unusual use of tamarind and date chutney, Jaya says, has been in chicken sandwiches which she says were fabulous." Maeve O'Meara, Food Safari Earth 


  • 300 g block dried tamarind
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 280 g sugar
  • 100 g dates, pitted and chopped
  • 60 g raisins
  • 2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 6 hot green Indian chilies, split and de-seeded

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


This recipe makes 500-750 ml

Soaking time: 30 minutes
You will need 2-3 x 1-cup jars for your chutney

Break the tamarind into small chunks and place in a saucepan. Add 650 ml water and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and set aside for 30 minutes to soften the tamarind. Mash the tamarind, then press through a sieve placed over a bowl to extract the pulp. Scoop with pulp that hasn’t gone through the sieve back into a small bowl and add enough water to just cover. Mash together again, then pass through the sieve again and combine with the rest of the pulp in a large bowl. Discard any remaining fibre and seeds.

Roast the fennel seeds in a dry frying pan over low heat until aromatic. Remove from the heat, cool, then grind to a fine powder. Add the ground fennel to the strained tamarind pulp along with the sugar, dates, raisins, chilli powder and salt. Mix well.

Place the oil and mustard seeds in a wide heavy based saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the seeds start to crackle. Add the tamarind mixture along with green chilies. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Pour the hot chutney into sterilised jars and seal immediately. Refrigerate once opened.


Photography by Sharyn Cairns. Styling by Lee Blaylock. Food preparation by Emma Warren. Creative concept by Belinda So.

Brand-new series Food Safari Earth airs Thursdays at 8pm on SBS then on SBS On Demand. For recipes and more visit the program site right here.