Monday, February 1, 2010

Chintakaya Thokku ~ Fresh Tamarind Chutney

Have you ever tasted a raw fresh tamarind? If you haven't, then you won't be able to understand the passion that attaches the senses to one who has tasted it and enjoyed it. I grew up in a town where tamarind trees were all over the place. We had many such trees in our village too. I am talking about when I was 8 years old. But those scenes are still fresh. And even much later I have had on many occasions enjoyed my share of fresh tamarind.

Then we had a never ending supply of these in our school campus. The fun comes out of eating these fresh tamarind is when you actually stand below a tree and pull down those fruits by yourself. Either by throwing stones or trying to pull it down with sticks. Whatever, the joy that comes out of your hard labour and when you pop it into your mouth. Ah!, actually you won't be able to do it right away, unless until you have one of those strong teeth, which doesn't shy out on biting a sour thing.

The sensation that hits you hard, on biting a fresh pulp, with water oozing out.and your teeth shrinking back because of the sourness. You can't but close your eyes in response to the reflex action that takes place. Yes, you won't know these unless you actually tasted it yourself.

If you haven't tasted one yet, then my advise to you will be is to,beg borrow or steal a fresh tamarind to experience this sensation.

Like all sour things, you will only hesitate for the first. After that how many goes in nobody knows. Even better than the fresh ones, those tamarinds that are naturally ripe in the tree. My God, that is even more exotic! Anyway I will talk about that in another post.

Today's post is all about fresh Tamarind and what you can make with it.

The country side in rural India is filled with many such beautiful scenes of lush Tamarind trees full with bounty. Whenever we go on long trips, we stop for a pick. Be it for the tender leaves or the fresh tamarind. Athamma makes both the Chinthaaku Pappu or Chinthakaya Thokku.

So during our recent trip, when we stopped for lunch at our usual spot, we found the tree with loads of tamarind hanging. We plucked some for the tokku.


Chintakaya Thokku ~ Fresh Tamarind Chutney

Fresh Tamarind - 1 cup (after pitting)
Salt to taste 
Fenugreek / Methi - 10 seeds

For Spice powder

Bengal gram/ Channa dal - 2 tsp
Urad dal - 1 tsp
Methi Seeds - 5 7- seeds
Sesame Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Red Chili dry - 12 nos 

For Seasoning

Curry leaves - 5 
Red chili - 2 -3 
Turmeric a pinch
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 3 - 4 tsp

Method to prepare:

Since we are using fresh tamarind, which is very juicy and has seeds that won't come out very easily, you got to mash them well to remove the seeds. This is usually done using the mortal and pestle. You can continue getting a smooth consistency by grinding it and also adding the methi seeds along with salt.
Once the seeds are removed, you can further grind it smooth in a mixer or food processor. Then the tamarind is stored along with the ground methi and salt for couple of days. Normally during the day, it is just left to dry in the shade. 

When it is dried for couple days, you can season it and store it.

Grind the spices listed in the spice mix and keep it aside. This spices can be dry roasted and powdered.

Heat a pan with oil, pop the mustard, then add curry leaves along with the red chillies. Saute well. Then add the turmeric powder and then the ground spice mix.

When you have sauteed for 5 mins, add the ground fresh tamarind chutney. Saute again for 5 mins. Adjust spice and salt. Spice can be adjusted by adding Red chili powder. But this can be done before serving too.



This chutney is normally stored for many months. It takes various forms, mostly interesting one being Chintakaaya Pulihora. You can also store the extracted tamarind that is ground with just salt and methi as such. Use it in various forms. Athamma gave me rice mixed with just that Fresh Tamarind with salt and methi, it was too delicious to put in words. So you can store it just that way too, and season the chutney when you want to use it.

Notes: Salt has to be mixed and mashed, only then the tamarind extract gets that typical taste. Adjust the spice accordingly. If you are using Green chilis, you need to add them while grinding in the mixer.

Have a great week ahead!

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30 comments :

Sailaja Damodaran said...

Very tasty......

Mallugirl said...

sigh! let me book a ticket to home and then i will leave a comment here.:((

K said...

Wow! You brought back memories Srivalli! In my school we used to have these trees and we used to throw stones and eat them (most of the time the raw ones too!)

Nice chutney, makes my mouth water:)

simplyfood said...

This sounds lovely .I really want to make some.Can it be made using tamirind that is stoned and prepacked as I dont think I can get fresh tamirind in Uk this time of the year??

jayasri said...

I was wondering, when I read only the half of the heading and clicked to whole post, I know this name, but what is it ??, yep it is fresh tamarind !! I did read the full heading, lovely photograph of the tamarinds, I used to make them back home, and used this for my pickles, they are a tedius job though, but love it, now I can only buy them in the shop. The chutney looks great valli

Rachana Kothari said...

The Chutney looks so tangy and tasty:)

meeso said...

That must taste amazing! Yum!

Uma said...

You're tempting me Srivalli! I miss it here so much. I love the pachadi we make with this thokku. YUm!!

Latha said...

Today I made fresh green tamarind pachadi. You have a very nice blog. Your thokku looks yummy.

jayasree said...

You had me drooling all over.. oh Valli, I want to eat them right now.. Earlier almost all house used to have one tamarind tree in their backyard... now a days, there is hard to find one. I have eaten only the raw tamarind and never taste any dish with that.

Jayashree said...

Lovely read, valli....

Anonymous said...

Hi, your post has made me hungry! I have had fresh tamarind, and this took me back to my childhood, when my older cousins would throw stones and get fresh tamarind from the tree and distribute to everyone! I had never tasted fresh tamarind chutney, but my friend's mother recently prepared it at home and sent me a whole bottle of it, because I am expecting and she thought I would like it. That whole bottle didn't last even 2 weeks, and I had it with idli, dosa, rice and chapathi etc. Even my husband was tempted to having it with ghee and hot rice! In fact, the recipe is exactly the same that aunty mentioned, and I am waiting to get some fresh tamarind so I can try this out on my own. Thanks for the post, really enjoyed it..~Shreya

Happy Cook said...

I am drooling ehre by the thought of fresh tamarind, it is shocking how much we used to et them in our school days.
Chutney looks so droolie delicous.

sahiti said...

Here is an easier way to remove the seeds......which otherwise is a big pain.
Crush the tamarind pod in a mortar.Add enough salt and haldi to it.Leave it in a bowl for 3-4 days.By then,the pulp becomes soft and seeds and strings can be removed without any problem.Wash them in a little water and use it to make rasam.

katiez said...

I think we have wonderful fruits here, then I see your photos... To have so much bounty available to be picked must be wonderful. As is the chutney.

Priya said...

Slurppp!!! tempting thokku..

Tina said...

Yummy yummy...

Laavanya said...

That must be awesome.. i remember munching on the raw green tamarind as a kid and even the leaves :)

Kamini said...

Oh, this brought up such memories of eating those sour, sour tamarinds during school lunch breaks! I was wincing just thinking of that pucker-inducing sourness!
Nice recipe - do you think it will work with bottled tamarind concentrate?

Aparna said...

Yes, there is something about fresh tamarind but its a bit of an acquired taste.

We usually use tamaring in thogayals but this one's new to me.

Rohini said...

Wow... Dear you brought those lovely old memories.. We used to hang under these trees just hoping one of them would fall, as it was too high for us to throw stones!! And the reflexive action of closing ur eyes biting into the sour tasting tamaring.. Mmm...
Yummy looking chutney.. :)

Indhu said...

the way you described biting into the tamarind was awesome... I haven't tasted fresh tamarind.. but I could relate the experience to biting into a raw mango - excellent chutney :)

Rachel said...

tamarind gets me back to my school days, where every class would have ownership of a certain tree in the campus.

Yummy chutney!

Mahek said...

hi
A must try for me....
I have added you in my links...

Prathibha said...

cant express my love for chintakaaya...pacchadi looks yummy..

Cham said...

One of my Gundur friend shared the fresh tamarind pickle, i am not sure if it is the same! Gosh It was out of the world the taste! Should try this one when I get the fresh tamar here!

nisha said...

Mouth Watering :)

Srivalli said...

Thank you everybody, I am so glad this brought so many wonderful memories..happy knowing my childhood memories are shared by so many!

Srivalli said...

Kamini, Thanks..on the bottled tamarind concentrate..I am not really sure. the concentrates that we get here is the extract. Which is not the same. Maybe you can check out if fresh pulp is sold.

Kamini said...

Thanks, Valli. Our Indian store here does sell the tamarind pulp, so I will buy that the next time I go there, to do full justice to your recipe. I was being lazy, that's all - but I know nothing will beat the actual pulp!

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