Ingredients:

1 pack fresh mushrooms (any variety)
1 medium onion roughly chopped
3/4 garlic cloves roughly minced
1 cup 2% milk
1 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil

A pat of butter
Rosemary to garnish
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Tamarind date

chutney

Street food. Every cuisine around the world has it's own version of it. And while there is great variation in ever country's - no, make that every city's version of street food, one thing they all have in common, is a smashing sauce that brings it all together. The most popular street vendors are usually the ones with the best sauces!

The tamarind-date chutney is the soul of one such wildly popular category of Indian street food called Chaat. It is also served as an accompaniment to fried appetizers like samosas.This tart and sweet chutney balances out the chaat which is usually quite spicy. The tartness offered by tamarind, is toned-down by the dense earthiness of the dates and the sweetness the jaggery while the smoky cumin rounds it off perfectly. The recipe is ridiculously easy and once you try this, you will never go to the store-bought version again!

Years ago, I could always find a beautiful glass jar of this chutney sitting in my grandmother's fridge, or more recently, an orange box of frozen chutney in my mom's freezer. I make my chutney in a big batch storing some of it in a glass jar, and freeze the rest (in a bright pink box :)). No one knows when a craving for chaat is likely to strike. Better to always be prepared!

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Ingredients:

10 - 12 large dates

1/2 cup jaggery {this is an unrefined cane-sugar with molasses. Substitute with dark brown sugar or palm sugar}

1 tbsp concentrated tamarind extract {if the extract is not concentrated or it is homemade, use 2-4 tbsp depending on it's potency. Method follows}**

1 tsp red chilli powder

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp chaat masala* (optional)

Salt to taste

*Chaat masala is a spice used to garnish street food in India. It is tangy and adds a certain zip to foods. It's great sprinkled over summery fruits like watermelon, guava etc or over fried foods, in raitas and more. You can find it in the "masala" or spice section of your grocery store. Since it contains many obscure ingredients, it's usually store bought. If it's unavailable to you, substitute with cumin powder.

**To make tamarind extract at home, Wash and soak a lemon sized ball of tamarind in warm water for 30 minutes. Using your fingers, mash the tamarind to extract pulp. Discard the seeds and fiber.


Method:
 

  • Soak the dates in warm water for 15 minutes.
  • Puree them with the tamarind extract in a blender with some water.
  • Add the jaggery/sugar and blend. If your jaggery is too hard skip this step.
  • Transfer contents to a pan. Add sugar (if skipped in previous step), red chilli powder, cumin, chaat masala and salt. Mix to combine.
  • Bring the mixture to a simmer and boil for a few minutes. (This step can be skipped if you do not intend to use it right away. I usually make this in advance and use it later. The chutney keeps longer when boiled.). The chutney should neither be too watery nor too thick. It should have the consistency of ketchup. 
  • Remove from heat and cool completely. The chutney will thicken a bit when cooled.
  • Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. Stays for upto 2 weeks or even more if you ensure no one dunks wet spoons in it!
  • Tip: I make a double batch and freeze half in small bottles to use in the coming months.
  • Get ready to add to bhel, paani poori or dahi wada, or serve with a piping hot samosa!

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