Meethi Chutney| Imli Chutney| Sweet Chutney

I am a big, big, big fan of chaat. The way chaat has sweet and spicy and sour and salty flavours rolled into one has my heart. And there’s so much variety, so many different types of chaat, I can never tire. Today, I’m going to share with you all the recipe for Meethi Chutney, an integral part of a chaat platter.

What is Meethi Chutney?

‘Meethi Chutney’ is Hindi for sweet chutney. It is, actually, a sweet and sour chutney, typically made using tamarind. The sweetness comes from the use of dates or jaggery in it.

Making chaat like Bhel Poori, Dabeli or Sev Poori is unimaginable without a generous dose of this chutney, often used along with its spicy counterpart Hari Chutney. The sweet chutney also makes for a wonderful accompaniment to snacks like cutlets, samosa, kachori and gota. It is also used in preparing Dal Moradabadi, a dal which also doubles up as a chaat.

A bit about my way of making Meethi Chutney

Like I was saying earlier, this Meethi Chutney is made using tamarind (‘imli‘ in Hindi), due to which it is also referred to as ‘Imli Ki Chutney’. Very often, this chutney is sweetened using dates, but I use jaggery since I’m not very fond of the texture the former lends to the dish. Roasted cumin powder is the ‘cherry on the cake’ for this chutney, giving it a beautiful fragrance and flavour.

In itself, this Meethi Chutney is completely vegetarian and vegan (plant-based). It is also entirely gluten-free. I usually make a big batch of this chutney, keep it refrigerated and use as needed.

How I make the Meethi Chutney

Here is how I go about it.

Ingredients (makes about 1 bowlful):

  1. A big lemon-sized ball of tamarind
  2. 3/4 cup jaggery powder or to taste
  3. 2 teaspoons roasted cumin (jeera) powder

Method:

1. Soak the tamarind in boiling water for at least 15 minutes, to soften it. Keep aside, and let it cool down enough to handle.

2. When the tamarind has cooled down a bit, extract all the juice from it. Use water as needed to help with the extraction. Keep the extract a little watery, as the chutney will thicken upon cooking.

3. Take the tamarind extract in a heavy-bottomed pan, along with the jaggery powder. Place on high heat. Soon the jaggery will get completely dissolved in the tamarind extract, which will start thickening. This should take 4-5 minutes. Stir intermittently. Taste and adjust jaggery as needed.

4. Reduce flame to medium when the extract starts thickening. Continue to cook on medium flame for 3-4 minutes more, or till the mixture has thickened up a bit more. Switch off gas when it is thick, but still runny.

5. Mix in the roasted cumin powder. Your Meethi Chutney is ready.

6. Allow the Meethi Chutney to cool down completely before filling it in a clean, dry, air-tight bottle. Store refrigerated and use as needed.

Tips & Tricks

1. Adjust the quantity of jaggery you use, depending upon taste preferences.

2. If the tamarind you are using has seeds and/or impurities, make sure they are removed before you set out to make the Meethi Chutney. I have skipped this step because I usually don’t find any impurities in the tamarind we use.

3. Keep the tamarind extract a little watery, but not overly so. It will thicken when cooked.

4. You can add a bit of salt to the Meethi Chutney too, while it is cooking. I don’t.

5. Adjust the consistency of the Meethi Chutney as per your preferences. For best results, cook till it thickens but is still runny – neither too watery nor thick like a jam.

6. The chutney stays good for up to a month when stored refrigerated in a clean, dry, air-tight bottle and used hygienically.

7. To make roasted cumin powder, dry roast about 2 tablespoons of cumin on medium flame till it gets fragrant, then allow to cool down and powder coarsely. Store this in a dry, air-tight bottle and use as needed.

8. Adjust the quantity of roasted cumin powder you use, as per personal taste preferences.

9. Some people add sugar to the Meethi Chutney, but I’m partial to jaggery. I don’t like the flavour of dates in this chutney either.

10. Black salt, red chilli powder, ginger powder and similar spices are often used in Meethi Chutney. However, I avoid them because the Hari Chutney I almost always use along with this includes all those spices/flavours.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

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