Date and Tamarind Chutney

A chutney that combines sweet, savoury and citrus flavours, making it a good accompaniment to many meals and also suitable for most diets, including Diabetic, Low Calorie, Raw and Vegan.

The BBC Food Programme is a wonderful source of food information and ideas. It was here, within a discussion of the approaching festive season and cooking preparations, that the presenters discussed Date and Tamarind Chutney.

This is a condiment that requires no added sugar and is not cooked; “what a find”, I thought; especially as it is suitable for virtually everyone. (I have not coded this as appropriate for Fodmap diets because it contains dates which are usually avoided, although in the small quantities they would be acceptable for many.)

A list of ingredients was provided by the BBC team, although there was no guidance on quantities. In trying to keep my recipes simple, using ingredients that are readily available, I have tweaked this a little. The recipe discussed included sumac, a middle eastern spice that has a hint of citrus. This will not be in everyone’s pantry nor available in all markets. I have replaced it with lemon zest. However, if you have sumac available it will provide a more complex-flavoured chutney.

I have mixed and tasted and remixed and found the proportions listed below work for me.

Use fresh dates when available. If the dates you are using are dry, chop and moisten them with 2 tablespoons of hot water; then soak the dates in the water for about 20 minutes and pour off any excess water. I do not recommend you use dates that are packed and moist; the manufacturers generally use oil and sulphites to maintain this texture, which I consider unnecessary.

Diets for which Date and Tamarind Chutney is suitable:

Diabetic, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Low Calorie, Low Fat, Nut Free, Paleo, Raw, Vegetarian and Vegan.


Preparation: 10 mins | Serves: 2/3 cups
170 gm (1 cup chopped) dates, pitted *
1 tbsp tamarind concentrate
1 lime, juiced (3 tbsp)
1 tbsp ginger, finely chopped
1/2 chilli , finely chopped
1/2 lemon, zest**


CUT the dates in half and remove the stones.
MIX all ingredients. (For a fine-textured chutney mix, pound so the dates break down.)
STORE for a minimum of 2 days for the flavours to mingle.
TASTE and adjust ingredients to your taste. (It may require more date, tamarind, lemon or ginger.)


– Good with duck, lamb and aubergine.


* If the dates are dry, chop and moisten them with 2 tablespoons of hot water. Soak the dates in the water for about 20 minutes and pour off any excess water.
** Replace lemon zest with sumac.

Other Chutney and Sauce Recipes

Sweet Chilli Sauce
Horseradish Cream

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