I had about one cup of dates leftover from making a batch of sriracha pimiento cheese stuffed dates wrapped in duck bacon; and I knew, by sad past experience, that I had to do something with them before I came back at some future date (funny!) to find the remainders all dried and shriveled and not really good for much.
So I went to da Google and searched on dates, and came across a fairly detailed recipe for making date and tamarind chutney – which looked wicked tempting.
Of course, I don’t happen to keep regular tamarind around the house, but…
Tamarind Nectar? Yeah! YouBetcha! It’s one of the base ingredients for my Sherry Peppers Sauce (found in almost every recipe I make), and can be found in most markets in the hispanic foods section.
With 18% juice, and added sugar and/or corn sweeteners, this is not quite a health drink, but it works a treat when turned into a sauce… or chutney.
•1 cup pitted dates
•11.3 oz tamarind nectar
•1/2 tsp allspice
•1/2 tsp black pepper
•1/2 tsp Cayenne
•1/2 tsp curry powder
•1/4 tsp cumin
A note on the spices used: I buy most of my spices and blends from The Spice House in Milwaukee, their different seasoning and spice blends seem to “click” with my palate, and, truly, their prices and selection are good enough to go ahead and order on line and just pay the shipping charges. More than likely, you’ll still be ahead – in quality and price – over what you can get at your local market. If you don’t care to order these specific spices, by all means, choose your own with similar flavor profiles – or one’s that you prefer. I cut back the amount of cumin called for in the original recipe because, while I don’t hate it, I prefer to use it judiciously to get a touch of that flavor.
Making the chutney is a snap…
Add the dates and tamarind nectar to a pot and cook over low heat for about ten minutes.
Transfer to a blender – I used my immersion blender – and whizzz until smooth.
Taste it. It is already quite nice, but you’ll need some seasoning for this to be a proper chutney, so return the now smooth mixture to the pan and stir in the seasonings.
Return the pan to low heat and cook, stirring, for another five minutes or so, until the sauce has reduced and thickened nicely.
Cool, then stash the cup-and-a-half or so in a tightly covered jar for up to three weeks until you make chaat or…
Go all plain and simple and top crackers with a bit of cheese (cottage cheese is my fave here, but my husband thinks I’m weird) and top that with a dab o’ chutney.