Tamarind Chutney with Banana
Imli-Kela Chatni (Saunth)
This chutney is served at wedding feasts, festivals and other special occasions in baniya families of Uttar Pradesh State of India. It is eaten like tomato ketchup, with snacks. I make it in bulk and then freeze it in small jam jars. Bananas are added just before serving. The pictures here show amounts for 2x200 gm. of Imli blocks, which made 6 jam jars full.
*100 gm. tamarind (sold in blocks, usually with husk and stones)
1 tsp. oil
A pinch of asafoetida or hing powder
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds or jeera
1/2 tsp. nigella seeds (nigella sativa)/kalonji/kalaunji
2 dry red chillies, broken up
2 tsp. fennel or saunf seeds
1 inch piece ginger peeled and shredded
50 gm. Jaggery (use muscovado or dark brown sugar, if you don’t have it)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black salt (kala namak). Use ordinary salt, if you don’t have it
1 cup water
1 tsp. chilli powder
1/2 tsp. Garam Masala
1 banana, ripe but firm, peeled and sliced
**4-5 Chuaare/Chuara/dry dates, de-stoned and thinly slices lengthways
*Ready made Tamarind purée/pulp can be bought in jars from Oriental, Asian grocers. It is much better than the dark coloured tamarind concentrate usually found in Indian stores, it is just tamarind pulp with fibrous bits removed.
Break up the tamarind block and soak in hot water for a few hours/overnight. Mash with hands and push the pulp through a sieve to remove husk and stones. Keep pulp aside.
Tarka: Heat oil, add cumin, fennel and nigella seeds and asafoetida powder.
When seeds crackle a little, add broken up chillies and ginger, stir fry for a few seconds.
Add tamarind pulp, water, jaggery, salt, and black salt, chilli powder and garam masala. If using, add sliced Chuaara dates here.
Bring to boil and simmer for 20-25 minutes.
Check and adjust seasoning/sugar. It is meant to be rather on the sweet side.
Add banana just before serving chutney.
You can keep this chutney for a few weeks in the fridge, as long as you have not added bananas to it.
**Chuara), if too hard, can be soaked in warm water for an hour or so, de-stoned and sliced lengthways.
Also see Pickle and Chutney Selection.