Indian Coriander Chutney

corianderchutneypOne more fantastic discovery from Meera Sodha’s Made in India. Cooked in Britain: Recipes from an Indian Family Kitchen! This chutney has been the highlight of the past winter moths. Its combination of refreshing, tangy and fiery flavours has such a spring touch, I would almost forget it was just another grey cold day. I have been using it as a spread, as a dip, as a sauce, as a condiment… It is equally good raw and cooked, with seafood, meat or vegetables, with rice or pasta… After at least a dozen different experiments, I  haven’t had a single failure and now that warm weather has arrived, I intend to stretch my list of its use even further. Obviously, I’ll share with you my impressions very soon.

I have slightly changed the recipe, for example replacing the advised lemon juice with my beloved tamarind, so I encourage everyone to buy Meera Sodha’s book for the original and other Indian home cooking treats (as an example you might want to check Roasted Cauliflower I consider the best thing I’ve ever tasted with this vegetable).

TIPS: You need a really huge bunch of coriander here, so buy it at farmers’ markets. If you live in Switzerland, I also advise Aligro shops selling huge bags of coriander.

This recipe is an excellent way to use also branches you discard while adding coriander leaves for example to Indian dishes, so make sure you don’t throw them. Simply buy another bunch and prepare this chutney.

This is a particularly versatile product. As I have mentioned, it can be eaten raw or cooked/simmered. It spices up carbs, vegetables, seafood and meat.

This chutney freezes well if you intend to cook it afterwards (otherwise it’s too mushy to be served fresh) and is an excellent base for a quick weekday meal.

Tamarind is a delicious “acidifier” of Indian – and also Thai – dishes. It is sold either fresh (but usually it’s the sweet snack version) or in hard dried blocks or in ready-to-use jam-like paste (in jars). I definitely prefer the block version because it keeps forever in the fridge (the paste does start growing mould after a long time in the fridge) and has a more lively taste than the paste (it’s dissolved in hot water and then strained to obtain “juice”). I never use the paste, so cannot tell you how much of it you should use; if it’s your choice, try to adjust the amounts to your preferences.

Preparation: about ten minutes

Ingredients (makes enough for a dish with sauce for 4-5 people):

150 g coriander leaves and branches

4 heaped tablespoons unsalted peanuts

1/3 flat teaspoon turmeric


1 heaped teaspoon brown sugar

3 small fresh green chillies (or more/less, depending on your heat resistance), seeds removed (or not, if you want more heat)

3 cm tamarind block (see the TIPS above) or ready-to-use paste (no idea how much)

If you use the tamarind block, put the 3 cm square into a glass and pour 50 ml hot water. Leave for fifteen minutes. (In the meantime start preparing the masala paste and the curry). After this time, mix it well and strain leaving the seeds. You will obtain tamarind “juice”.

Chop the coriander roughly and mix it to a slightly rough paste in a food processor (or grind a mortar).

Taste and adjust the flavours if necessary (you should taste the heat, the tanginess and the sweetness at the same time, but of course their ratio is up to you).

Put into a closed glass container and keep in the fridge for 3-4 days (or freeze for months, but once frozen, you can use it only in cooked version later).

10 Replies to “Indian Coriander Chutney”

    1. Thanks a lot, Katerina. I don’t put a lot of sugar, but if it’s the dark, moist sugar, it does add another dimension to the dish.

  1. I never thought of using tamarind as a substitute for lemon and I think it’s a good idea. I would love to get a spoonful of that chutney in my plate. Looks delicious, Sissi. Have a wonderful rest of the week. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for the compliment. It’ so good, I like like eating it even with bread 😉

  2. Wow, Sissi, your chutney looks as vibrant and lively as it sounds. The ingredients are unlike any pesto/chutney I’ve made before and I welcome them. It’s amazing too how a tbsp of this flavor-intense spread/condiment can transform an entire meal. I’m tickled by the use of peanut – I have to give this a try. I just wish I could grow cilantro… I have had horrible luck. At least when I was living in Canada I could blame it on the climate but I have not excuses here other than my black thumb… I must research it more thoroughly I think and try again.

    1. Thank you so much, Kelly. I have hesitated to call it coriander pesto, but since I think the name “pesto” comes from basil, I didn’t want to make anyone nervous 😉 It’s really fantastic as a sauce. You fry anything you want, put some of it into the pan and there you have a delicious simple meal. (I also add some coconut if I want it creamier).
      As for coriander growing problems… I grow it from seeds every year and everything goes well until the temperatures are typical of spring. From my humble balcony growing experience, coriander hates sun and heat. Luckily I have a second small balcony on a rather shady side and it grows perfectly there until the weather becomes really summery. I advise growing it in a shade in a pot and maybe moving it indoors during the summer (it’s crazy, but it’s the only plant I know that grows badly at high temperature). Good luck this year!

  3. I agree with Kelly, this is a beautiful condiment, the colour is just exquisite. We love cilantro so using this as a sauce on zucchini noodles sounds wonderful. I also love the sweet sour flavour of tamarind.

    1. Thanks a lot, Eva. The colour looks much worse if used in cooked dishes or frozen, but it’s still delicious. I recently bought a huuuuge block of dried tamarind and intend to experiment with it much more often now! (By the way, have you ever tasted fresh “sweet” tamarind? I bought it in an Asian shop and it’s really a fantastic snack).

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