Saturday, March 24, 2007

Papaya Tamarind Chutney

"I se Imli" for Nupur’s A-Z of Indian Vegetables this week!!! Imli or Tamarind or Tetul is not an integral part of Bengali cooking. If you knock at my doors on a random Tuesday and ask me for some Tamarind, you will have to go back home disgruntled as I generally don’t have any. But since I like sambhar I get some Tamarind paste off and on, so you still might knock and get lucky.

Tamarind however plays a special and coveted role when it comes to “tak” or “chaatni” for Bengalis. Ripe Tamarind mixed with little mustard oil, salt, sugar and a bit of chilli powder (the concoction commonly known as “Makha Tetul”) on a summer afternoon was something we used to drool over as kids and were allowed to have only occasionally. At my Mamarbari (maternal grandparents house) my Ma’s cousin sisters would make this and we would quietly devour it at the corner of the roof on a hot summer afternoon.

We also use Tamarind for making chutney or achaar but they are rarely if ever used in cooking.
I was pleasantly surprised when I saw “Ka(n)cha Tetul” or “Raw Tamarind” in my Indian Grocery store. Visions of “Tetul er tak” a light chaatni made with Tamarind mesmerized me and I brought them home. My Ma suggested we pair these up with Raw Green Papaya to make a chaatni and that is what I did. So heres "Pepe Tetul er Chaatni" or "Green Papaya and Tamarind Chutney". We usually have this chutney with lunch or dinner. Its sweet and sour with the Tamarind and little crunchy with the Papaya.


Green Papaya Tamarind Chutney

What You Need

Serves 4

Papaya ~ 1 cup. Unripe Green Papaya peeled and thinly sliced 1 cup. When you cut raw papaya make sure to peel the skin, and when you reach the part which has the white seeds remove the seeds. You should also remove the little hard skin at the centre

Unripe Raw Tamarind ~ 6 cut in halves. Remove the ends and then cut them in halves or more for bigger ones
Mustard seeds ~ ½ tsp
Sugar ~ Started with 1/4 cup but was a little too sour for us so added 1/6 cup more
Ginger Juice ~ 1 tsp


How I Did It

Pressure cook the papaya slices. Take care that they are just cooked and not very soft. I put them in a separator in my pressure cooker and put water only at the bottom of the cooker, none in the separator. If you want you can do away with this step and cook it later too, I wanted it quick so I pressure cooked.
Soak the halved tamarinds in water
Heat Oil
Add mustard seeds
As soon as they sputter add the tamarind
Saute for couple of minutes and add the papaya.
Add salt, water and let it cook. Add water depending on how thick you want your chutney to be.
When the tamarind has become soft add the sugar and the ginger juice
Let it cook and the chaatni thicken to your desired consistency. Usually I don't have it very thick

Tip: When you are cutting raw papaya make sure that you remove the seeds and the hard skin next to the skin at the core. I don't know what it is called but if not removed the papaya may taste bitter when cooked. This is for dear Sushma's MTC -- Monthly Cooking Tipology . Check details at her blog Recipe Source

Safety Moment: Women in India and South East Asia and other parts of the world have used papaya for contraception and abortion since long and this is proven by Medical research so be careful to have Papaya when you are expecting. Though small amounts of ripe papaya does not cause any harm check with your doctor for authenticity as I do not know more about this effect. This is for lovely Jyotsna's event Safety Moment. Check more at her blog CurryBazaar

Trivia:Women in India and South East Asia and other parts of the world have used papaya for contraception and abortion since long and this is proven by Medical research so be careful to have Papaya when you are expecting.Papaya is rich in an enzyme called papain and other proteins and used as a digestive medicine (Source: Wiki)


  1. Oh, those childhood memories of sneakily eating tangy delights in the summer holidays!
    Thanks for the lovely post, Sandeepa :)

  2. What an interesting combination! I have never had papaya-tamarind combination. The post did bring memories from my own childhood of eating kaancha tetul on the roof

  3. beautiful pic of imli in the basket! we had a huge imli tree in our backyard back home and used to get sacks full of imli, which was then cleaned, deseeded, salted & distributed among relatives all across India.

  4. Oh yummy! I can just taste the fruity "chat patty" taste of this! What a clever combination!

  5. Hi Sandeepa, is that your baby's cute little hands I see? :) The photos, words, recipe, all lovely here. I so enjoy your stories :)

  6. Papaya Tamarind Chutney new and tasty combination, would love to taste it. We used to pick the tamarinds from the tree and eat with chilli powder and salt. Papaya is one fruit I can't stand the smell texture everything bothers me but have never tried raw one.

  7. Nupur
    Thanks for hosting the event, lots of work and I really appreciate your effort :)

    emniy tetul er chaatni o korte paro

    That must have been fun

    Thanks for dropping by

    thank you for your lovely words

    Did you eat the unripe ones that way too ? I like Ripe Papaya as long as it is firm but Green Papaya we use often to make curries called "Peper Dalna", and even for my daughter's stew thats a often used veggie.

  8. Dear Sandeepa,
    Goodness of papaya with taste of tamarind - wow! Refreshing to know that raw tamarind can be used like this in cooking. Your awesome tamarind pic. reminded me of the good old times when we kids used to sneak to the backyard and feast on ripe tamarind. Fond memories you have rekindled with this recipe....Thank you.

  9. I've read about a Bengali papaya chutney where the pieces are transparent as plastic. Do you know about it?

  10. We use raw papaya in cooking as well.But I've never had this chutney...must be a nice tangy one with the tamarind.We use tamarind for mostly the uncooked chutneys- or bota, as we call it.

  11. oh..again i gett to see that cute little hands...:D.Nice pic. sandeepa.Papaya and tamarind ...a new combo to me.Looks delcious.I liked both tip and safety moment entry.Thanks for sharing.

  12. you guys put mustard oil on raw tamarind as well? if i stand still for 5 mins in front of a bong, will they pour mustard oil on me as well? you bongs are too much.

  13. papaya and tamarind. Now I'd never have thought of that combo before....I love the stuff you come up with...and hahahahahahahha on Bee's comment.. :)


  14. Sandeepa, When u describe , I can very well imagine its sweet & sour taste...:) I used to eat raw tamarind from my uncle's place...all childhood memories! I liked the second pic with those cute chubby hands :)


  15. Ma’s cousin sisters would make this and we would quietly devour it at the corner of the roof on a hot summer afternoon.

    Some things are universal! :( :(

    Never teamed papaya with tamarind. That gives me lot of ideas!

  16. Wonderful dish. Even I wanted to make something with imli but my lil one was sick so i din't get time to do. BTW nice picture. Lil hands are very pretty.

  17. Sandeepa, what a lovely combination! I would love to taste it one day. Unripe papaya is not hard to find in Australia, but fresh tamarind is not. *sigh* Recall the day I can get fresh tamarind so easily in Vietnam.

  18. Wow, I like the sound of it! Your chutneys are all so original! Have never seen fresh tamarind, so was it easy to separate the pulp from the seeds? Did you buy the whole basketful?? :)

    I love your new header, by the way! Still haven't found out how to alter mine! grrr...

  19. raw tamarind...i am salivating and cant stop it. but must say tamarind and papaya comination which i have never heard of. nevr seen any raw tamarind in indian stores where i go for shopping. just the picture of it with those two loittle cute hands are making me crave for this.
    i remember we having this huge tree in our hostel and as i our warden was very strict we would climb the tree at night to steal some;) bunch of monkeys, yup thats us;)

  20. ha ha ha ha ha... bee is has become our official comedian here. what with her pic and comments?;) he he he he...

  21. Pritya
    Thanks so much for your lovely words :)

    You know so much about Bengali cooking !!!! Yeah that "Plastic Chutney" is the famous one. It needs a lot of sugar though, so I avoid it unless I am going to eat at someone lese's house :)

    We use the ripe tamarind as you said for uncooked chutney too

    Thanks dear :)

  22. Bee,
    Not only that, they will fry you in hot mustard oil as well and eat you off with little salt and green chillies :)

    Trupti, Shn, Inji

    I think you are Padmaja. hey what happened to the little one ?

    Yeah even I don't see it much here. The ones I got were the sour ones, green inside and unripe.
    Yesterday however my hubby got a box of raw tamarind which looked same but were "SWEET" !!! The box said they were from Thailand, do you know about this "SWEET TAMARIND" ? It was not at all sour and the insides were ripened too.

    These were green, unripe tamarind. the way we do it just cut in halves and toss them in. Now when you are having the chutney you have to deal with hard skin, the seeds everything. That is why it is only served for cozy home lunches :)

    You share bee's pic too, monkeying around :) Hope you are not climbing out of the window in UK :)

  23. Ah!! Look at that cute hands!:))
    I loved it.I used to eat LOT of raw imlis as a kid.Thanks Sandeepa.

  24. If you want to know how I altered mine Shilpa, drop a line Shilpa

  25. u got the pic sandeepa;) he he he...
    lovely header. suits ur blog. love it:)
    err... u didnt put mustard oil there;)

  26. my mouth is watering at the thought of tomarind chutney!!!!!! Thats a new combo for me to try!!!! Nice chutney there sandeepa and lovely tips from you. :)

  27. Thanks, Sandeepa! I did in fact want to write and ask you how you changed your header and how you included the drop-down lists, but I don't see any e-mail address in your profile, and I was afraid to bother you, since I'm sure you get such questions regularly! :) My address is

  28. hey, lovely masthead, I saw it only now! i forgot to tell you in my own comments - will put up the pix you mentioned later and let you know about it. Also, when you do eat that plastic chutney at someone else's place, get a picture and post it, will you? (I'm only half-joking.)

  29. Loved this post!! I learned so much--and now I'm wishing I had a local Indian Grocery Store. Papay-tamarind sounds wonderful together. I loved that picture with the sweet little hands!

  30. ouch ouch... my cheeks hurts!!


  31. Sandeepa,

    This is my first of many many visits to your blog - I love everything about it. Congratulations.

    Here in the Caribbean, we get a lot of tamarind also; we use it to make drink, achaar, and something called tamarind ball (I hope to do a post on that sometime soon). My sister and I used to love eating the ripe tamarind similiar to how you mentioned. Ours would just have chili and salt and we did not have a name for it, we would just say that we are eating tamarind with pepper and salt :))

  32. Hello Snadeepa,

    what a lovely tangy twist Sandeepa. Thanxs for participating...

    Also, I saw The NameSake and its amazing. Tabu's performance leaves you speechless...

    Hope you get it in your city soon..

  33. Khoob bhalo, Sandeepa.

    Tangy twist-must try/bookmarked it.

    and the trivia with each post is superb.

  34. Hi sandeepa
    papaya chutney is looking mom used to make this.yummy!!
    Actually the elders say not to use papaya and as well as the pineapple also.But Now a days doctors are saying that there is no harm in taking papaya in pregnancy.i don't know exactly ..but to give respect to the elders words we don't use them.

  35. Hi Sandeepa, I have seen the post again - those fingers pressing down on the tamarind - how did you ever think of that? That image makes me feel as though right now that imli is touching my fingers too - the tangible experiece - wow!

  36. I also see a lot of fresh tamarind in the Indian stores Sandeepa. on seeing that I remmeber in my childhood days , me and my friend used to mix tamarind with salt and chilli powder and eat it.. it would taste yummm. tamarind with papaya is new to me.. i bet it would taste wonderful.

  37. Posted a long answer to all of you, spent almost 15 minutes and it got lost, yeah in my own blog I loose my own comment

    Now I can't go back and type all that again :(


  38. Your chutney sounds wonderful! I always keep some tamarind in the pantry, sure will try out your lovely recipe :D
    Your heading's design, love it!

  39. Hey did u change the header? I liked it anyway :)

  40. Sandeepa, You are being lazy, You need to type all the "thank you for visiting" comments once more.

    Looks nice, but never tried this one. Not a huge fan of both tamarind and papaya :)

  41. Wow, tamarind and papaya in one dish, thats very cool... the tamarind pics are giving me major cravings Sandeepa...

  42. what a combination! a little taste of india right here. my uncle has an imli tree and we used to spend the summe sitting under it, picking off imlis till we get a stomach upset. did u use the thai sweet kind or is it really indian?

  43. Mallugirl

    These were the INDIAN ones. Since we don't use much tamarind I did not know about the Thai variety.
    After first suceess with the Unripe INDIAN tamarind last weekend I sent D for some more and he came back with the box of the Thai Tamarind. We didn't know it was SWEET until we cut them up and now don't know what to do with those

    Kya re, khali-pili timepass ? And I don't know if its a all Bong thing, I am yet to meet a Bong Man who likes/loves tamarind

    Gattina and all who are new to Raw tamarind

    The way we made this may not be liked by everyone as eating it is fun but messy, you have to bite and remove the hard skin and then spit out the seeds and enjoy the tamarind. Not good if are having guests over, fun if you know what you are doing and having a quiet home lunch

    Mishmash & Sig

  44. Me too, I also haven't met a bong man and all bong women are crazy about tamarind.

    Btw, the usage is a little wrong, "Kya re, khali philli ka timepass nako" but if you want to blend in with crowd; the usage would be "Timepass mat kar!" or "Dimag mat hata!" :-) (smile when you say both of them)

  45. A very new recipe to me Sandeepa. I used to eat tamarind right off the tree as a kid. lovely memories. Thanks for this post.

  46. tamarind and papaya!! never had this but i think it must be so yummy!!
    i remember eating tamarind just like that!!!
    u did bring back my childhood memories sandeepa

  47. পেঁপে'র চাটনি আর পোস্ত বাটা'র রেসিপি দিতে পারেন?

  48. পেঁপে'র চাটনি আর পোস্ত বাটা'র রেসিপি দিতে পারেন?


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