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This tamarind dipping sauce is sweet, sour, and subtly infused with Indian spices such as cumin seeds, ginger, chili, and garam masala. It’s the ultimate dipping sauce for samosas, pakora, egg rolls, or fries!

Tamarind dipping sauce in a small bowl.

⭐️ Why You Should Try It

  • Sweet, sour, and subtly spiced. This tamarind chutney is incredibly aromatic thanks to a blend of fragrant spices such as cumin, ginger, and garam masala. Jaggery sugar brings just the right amount of sweetness to balance the sourness of the tamarind. We tried this chutney alongside the one from our favorite Indian restaurant and couldn’t tell the difference!
  • The perfect dipping sauce for samosas. Whether you are looking for a dipping sauce for Indian classics such as samosa or pakora, or simply want a new dipping sauce for fries or fritters, this sauce is sure to become a favorite!
  • Simple to make with minimal ingredients. You will need only 5 ingredients and a few spices to make this delicious chutney.

📘 What is It

Tamarind dipping sauce, or tamarind chutney (“Imli ki chatni” in Hindi), is a condiment prepared with tamarind fruit, sugar, and spices. It is commonly used as an accompaniment for samosas, pakora, papri chaat, aloo tikki, etc.

Ingredients like tamarind paste, spices, jaggery, and cumin seeds.

🫚 Ingredient Notes

Here is what you will need to make this sweet-and-sour dipping sauce:

  • Tamarind – It makes the base of the sauce, bringing a fruity and sour flavor. Use seedless tamarind paste. You can learn more about tamarind and how to use it in our complete tamarind guide.
  • Rock sugar – Or jaggery. It helps balance the sourness of the tamarind and adds a hint of caramel flavor. If you don’t have jaggery, you can replace it with light brown sugar or white sugar.
  • Sugar – Use granulated white sugar.
  • Cumin seeds – If you don’t have cumin seeds, you can substitute them with about 1/8 teaspoon of ground cumin. Just remember to add it at the same time as the other spices.
  • Ground spices – Black pepper, ginger, chili, garam masala, and an optional pinch of asafoetida.
  • Salt – We will be using two kinds of salt. Kala namak salt, which adds a sulphurous taste and regular salt.
  • Cornstarch – To thicken the sauce.

🥣 How to Make It

1. Soak the tamarind

  1. Cover with water. Add the tamarind pulp to a bowl and cover with boiling water.
  2. Let it sit. Use a wooden spoon to mash the tamarind into small pieces. Let the tamarind sit for about 30 minutes or until it has softened.

2. Blend the tamarind

  1. Blend with the water. Transfer the tamarind and the water to a high-speed blender and blend on high for 15-20 seconds or until smooth.
  2. Strain it. While this step is optional, I highly recommend straining the blended tamarind for a smoother, less fibrous sauce. Just know that strained or not, the sauce is equally delicious! Set the tamarind juice aside.

3. Cook

  1. Sauté the cumin seeds. Heat the oil in a skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add the cumin seeds and sauté for about 1 minute.
  2. Add the tamarind juice. Next, add the tamarind juice, rock sugar, granulated sugar, spices, and salt.
  1. Simmer the sauce. Simmer the sauce for 5-7 minutes over medium heat until the sugar completely dissolves.
  2. Thicken. In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch. Pour it into the sauce and simmer for another 2-3 minutes or until slightly thickens.
  3. Let cool. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and let it cool for about 2 hours before serving. The sauce will thicken a bit more as it cools down.

📔 Tips

  • Adjust the consistency to your liking. This sauce is on the thinner side, so if you prefer a thicker consistency, you can triple the amount of cornstarch.
  • Play with the sweetness and sourness. While I believe we nailed this recipe’s sweetness and sourness balance, it’s obviously subjective and depends on each person’s taste. If you prefer a more sour sauce, increase the amount of tamarind. Conversely, if you want it less sour, use less tamarind and reduce the sugar content as well.

🧄 Variations

This sauce tastes amazing on its own, but if you would like to experiment and customize it to your liking, here are a few ways you can tweak the sauce:

  • Make it spicy: Give the sauce an extra kick of heat by increasing the chili powder or adding finely chopped chili.
  • Add fresh ginger: While the sauce already contains ginger in a ground form, feel free to sauté a tablespoon of chopped fresh ginger with the cumin seeds to add a more citrusy flavor.
  • Make it garlicky: Sauté 3 minced garlic cloves with the cumin seeds.
  • Replace some of the sugar with dates: You can replace about half of the rock sugar with date paste. To do so, process a few pitted dates in a food processor until they turn into a paste. Next, add it to the tamarind sauce and simmer for a few minutes. Note: you might have to slightly increase the amount of water as the dates will thicken the sauce.
Top view of a bowl containing tamarind sauce.

🥠 What to Serve It With

This tamarind dipping sauce can be used as a ketchup replacement, meaning you can serve it with:

  • Samosas: This is our go-to dipping sauce to serve with samosas! The sweet and sour flavor balances so well with the earthiness of the potato filling.
  • Pakora: Onion Bhaji or Aloo Pakoras taste fantastic with this sauce.
  • French fries: Or potato wedges.
  • Other fried foods: Egg rolls, wontons, or vegan chicken nuggets!

❄️ Storing and Freezing

  • To store: You can keep the sauce in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  • To freeze: Transfer the sauce to a freezer-safe container or bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw for a few hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator. It freezes beautifully and keeps its consistency.

💬 FAQ

Can I omit or reduce the sugar?

You can slightly reduce the sugar but I do not recommend omitting it. Sugar is essential to balance out the sourness.

Can I use whole tamarind to make this chutney?

You can use tamarind paste with seeds. In this case, you must strain it to remove the seeds before blending it.

The sauce is too thin. How can I thicken it?

If you prefer a thicker sauce, dissolve 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in 1 tablespoon of water and add it to the sauce. Simmer for 1-2 minutes or until thick.

I hope you will love this tamarind dipping sauce! It’s simple to make and has a balance of fruity, sweet, and sour flavors. I’m confident it will elevate your samosa game to a whole new level!

⭐️ Did you like this recipe? Let us know in the comments below, and tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!

Holding a spoonful of tamarind chutney.
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Recipe

Tamarind Dipping Sauce

5 from 1 vote
Author: Thomas Pagot
This tamarind dipping sauce is sweet, sour, and subtly infused with Indian spices such as cumin seeds, ginger, chili, and garam masala. It's the ultimate dipping sauce for samosas, pakora, egg rolls, or fries!
Prep Time : 20 minutes
Cook Time : 5 minutes
Resting time : 30 minutes
Total Time : 55 minutes
Servings 3 cups

Ingredients
 

Instructions
 

Soak the tamarind

  • Bring the 3 cups of water to a boil.
  • Add the tamarind pulp to a bowl and cover with boiling water. Use a wooden spoon to mash the tamarind into small pieces. Let the tamarind sit for about 30 minutes or until it has softened.

Blend it

  • Blend with the water. Transfer the tamarind and the water to a high-speed blender and blend on high for 15-20 seconds or until smooth.
  • Strain it. While this step is optional, I highly recommend straining the blended tamarind for a smoother, less fibrous sauce. Just know that strained or not, the sauce is equally delicious! Set the tamarind juice aside.

Cook

  • Sauté the cumin seeds. Heat the oil in a skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add the cumin seeds and sauté for about 1 minute.
  • Add the tamarind juice. Next, add the tamarind juice, rock sugar, granulated sugar, spices, and salt.
  • Simmer the sauce. Simmer the sauce for 5-7 minutes over medium heat until the sugar completely dissolves.
  • Thicken. In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch. Pour it into the sauce and simmer for another 2-3 minutes or until slightly thickens.
  • Let cool. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and let it cool for about 2 hours before serving. The sauce will thicken a bit more as it cools down.
  • You can keep this tamarind sauce for up to 7 days in the refrigerator.

Notes

  • Adjust the consistency to your liking. This sauce is on the thinner side, so if you prefer a thicker consistency, you can triple the amount of cornstarch.
  • Play with the sweetness and sourness. While I believe we nailed this recipe’s sweetness and sourness balance, it’s obviously subjective and depends on each person’s taste. If you prefer a more sour sauce, increase the amount of tamarind. Conversely, if you want it less sour, use less tamarind and reduce the sugar content as well.
Course : Condiment, Sauce
Cuisine : Indian
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About the Author

Thomas Pagot is the founder, photographer, and recipe developer behind Full of Plants. He created the blog in 2016 as a personal cookbook for vegan recipes. Through years of recipe development, Thomas has successfully grown Full of Plants into a trusted resource for plant-based recipes.

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5 stars
This sauce bring an excellent taste to fries. My family loved it. Thank you Thomas.

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