I recently had the pleasure of dining at Rasika, a very popular DC Indian restaurant, and trying their famous palak chaat. This dish is an amazing medley of textures and flavors, with crispy spinach playing off a sour-sweet chutney and sweetened yogurt, and I knew almost immediately that I had to try my best to recreate it. I’ve dedicated this week to a series of posts on recreating all the pieces of Rasika’s palak chaat. This post is the second in a series of three. See post 1: Chaat Masala and post 3: Palak Chaat.
This date tamarind chutney balances the sweetness of dates and jaggery sugar with the sourness of tamarind. The recipe is very simple, and you don’t even need to worry about using the exact ingredient amounts specified in the recipe; the sweetness of dates and sourness of tamarinds can vary greatly so don’t be afraid to adjust the flavors to your liking.
Date Tamarind Chutney (adapted from One Hot Stove)
Yield: 2 cups
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup soft pitted dates
- 1/4 cup tamarind*
- 1/4 cup jaggery sugar**
- salt, to taste
*Tamarind paste is typically what you’ll use here. I actually used fresh tamarind pods – to make a paste from fresh tamarind, remove the brittle outer pods and the stringy inner structures (these should both come out easily), then soak the remaining flesh in enough warm water to cover, mashing occasionally with a fork and removing any seeds. You can also substitute lemon juice for the tamarind, but cut back the amount a little.
**You can substitute palm sugar or brown sugar.
- Combine 2 cups water, 1 cup soft pitted dates, 1/4 cup tamarind, and 1/4 cup jaggery sugar in a large pot, and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Using a potato masher or spatula, press down on the tamarind and dates to extract as much pulp as possible. Stir well and taste. Add salt, to taste and more tamarind or jaggery if needed.
- Strain the mixture (making sure to use a sieve with relatively large holes – I actually use a pasta colander) to remove any date and tamarind fibers. Refrigerate.