Thursday, October 08, 2015

Tomato Khejur Chutney

Bengali Tomato and Date Chutney

This recipe is in the book and being reposted. Original date: Nov,2009.

*Chaatni is the Bengali for Chutney

Tomato Chaatni was my staple diet as a kid. That and Chanar Dalna. I don't remember eating anything else much as a 5 year old. My memory has gone bad so I don't remember too much but the red tomato chutney still glistens on the steel tiffin carrier that the help along with my Mom would bring for school lunch every day until Grade 2. Tomato chaatni to me means a safe haven of home amidst strict nuns, new friends and a foreign language that I didn't understand.

Later the aamer ambol pushed tomato chaatni to second place but a childhood sweetheart always has its own special corner.

So one of these weekends we were at this lunch at a friend's house. When I had first met her a couple of years back, she had thrown me off by saying that she makes experimental dishes like chicken with cauliflower. She didn't even say that it tasted great or anything re-assuring about it. So the first time she invited us for dinner we went with a lot of trepidation. She is wonderful company and we thought that the evening would be great even if the chicken had cauliflowers.

It turned out she is a wonderful wonderful cook, all her dishes are fabulous and none of them were radical.The last time we were invited for lunch, she had made 70 vegetable chops, all perfectly shaped and fried. Ok, just to get things clear there were more people and we didn't eat the chops just by ourselves.

Her Tomato chutney or tomato chaatni was really good, studded with raisins, dates and aam shotto, it tasted heavenly. But there was a tang in that chutney that is missing in mine which I just attributed to her good cooking.

Later when I asked, she told me she had added some tamarind chutney to the tomato chaatni and that was the secret to its tangy taste. And then I remembered my Mom adding a little tamarind pulp to her tomato chutney too. How did I forget ? In fact my Mom sometimes would add whole tamarind, pits and all to the tomato chaatni and now that I remember I can hear the clatter of the deep brown tamarind pits on the steel plate as I sucked them out clean.

More than just the tamarind pulp the sweet-sour-spicy tamarind chutney really lends a nice dimension to the tomato chutney and makes it delicious, so do try it next time. Khejur or dates is the perfect company for the tomatoes in the chutney and that is how it is almost always made in a Bengali home. The aam shotto or aam papad/dried sweet mango slices is another delicious addition to the traditional Bengali Tomato chutney. Sadly I had none and so couldn't add any.

I have also made tomato chutney with cranberries when they are in season, the cranberries also add a nice tartness to the chutney but I must say I like this one better.


Tomato Khejur Chaatni/Chutney


Wash and chop 5/6 nice juicy plump red tomatoes in large-ish chunks, like say each tomato should be chopped in 8-10 pieces

Chop 20-30 pitted dates in halves or in thin slices

Start Cooking

Heat Oil in a deep bottomed sauce pan

Temper the hot oil with 2 tsp of black mustard seeds and 2 dry Red Chili. Cover with a lid to avoid mustard dancing around your kitchen. Note: You can avoid the Chili if you don't want spicy

When the mustard sputters, add the chopped tomatoes, a pinch of turmeric, little salt and saute them. Then cover and cook the tomatoes at low heat. The juicy tomatoes will release a lot of liquid and will cook in their own juice. Every minute or so, remove the lid and give a good stir

Once the tomatoes are almost done, add the chopped dates, about 1/3 cup of golden raisins and stir well. If you have amswatta, add some chopped now. Add about 1 tsp of ginger juice, grate ginger and squeeze to get the juice. Add about 1/4-1/2 cup of water and cook for a few more minutes till the tomatoes have totally disintegrated and thoroughly cooked to a soft pulp.

Add 1/2 cup of sugar, mix well, adjust for salt & sugar and then let the chutney simmer and reduce to a thick consistency

Now is a small tip. To make the chutney tangy add 1-2 tbsp full of a tamarind chutney to the tomato chutney. You can use a store bought one or make one of your own using tamarind pulp. This really gives the chutney a sweet-tangy taste instead of just sweet.

Before serving, sprinkle with dry roasted cumin powder or dry roasted and ground paanch-phoron powder.

Updated on 11/10/2009: As I said in an earlier post a traditional Bengali meal usually consists of five to six courses, starting off with something bitter and ending with a sweet dessert. The fifth course served just prior to the dessert is the sweet & sour ambol or chutney.

The chutney (pronounced cha-a-tni in Bengali) in Bengal is not the chutney, sold in jars in the Asian/Indian Aisle of your SuperMarket and hugely popular in the Western World . The Chutney as we have it in a Bengali household is almost always prepared fresh and is eaten as a course of a lunch or a dinner to accent the meal and not as a relish or as a dip. It is the pickle which is preserved for later day use.

Updated on 12/01: A simpler recipe of Bengali Tomato Chutney from Eves Lungs as said in the comments
Dice 250 gm tomatoes . Temper a tsp pf paanch phoron in a little oil, add the tomatoes - add 1 cup of sugar . Cover and cook. Don't add water . You can also add some raisins . This tastes yummy. The tomatoes cook in the juice released from the vegetable as well as the sugar .

Similar Recipes:

Tomato Khejur Cranberry Chutney -- a similar chutney with cranberries for added tartness


  1. jibhe jol eshe gelo, ar ma er kotha khoob monay prochay. Chuti r diney, mangsho ar bhaat khabar pore tomato khejur er chatni was a must. Steel er plate angul diye chatni khete khete design banatam ;-) amar onek din eta kora hoyni.

  2. Love the color Sandeepa, yes we add a bit of tamarind as well but dates,raisins and sugar no but this gives me an idea, I'd make this for bhel poori.

  3. The sweetness of dates should really pair well with those tomatoes.
    Never made sweet and tangy chutney, very interesting combo!

  4. hey - this looks yummy! What do you typically eat this chutney with?

  5. Adding tamarind is a great idea! Now I realise inspite of loving this chaatni so much, I've never made it myself ever! Eto culturer joga khichuri hoye gechi je I know I'll cease to be the proper bangali soon. :-(
    Shesh paate shob torkarir taste er shonge chaatni jokhon mishe jaye tokhon otar ekta alada taste hoye jaye. :-)

  6. jodio tomato khejur er chatni amar kache chirokal aamer chatni r porei chilo, tobu Shiter Picnic er smritir sathe kothai jeno mile mishe ache.Ami majhe majhe sun dried komlalebur khosa use kori.Kharap lage na!

  7. 70 chops! Your friend is a domestic goddess, perfectly fried or not. I'm glad I got to taste your aamer ambol, this next time! ;) We usually add tamarind to most of our chutneys, not jaggery or dates, though, unless it's something sharp like a ginger chutney. We make some pickles with jaggery too, except for ginger, I don't like the others.

  8. Sandeepa - here is another recipe for you . Dice 250 gm tomatoes . Temper a tsp pf paanch phoron in a little oil, add the tomatoes - add 1 cup of sugar . Cover and cook. Dont add water . You can also add some raisins . This tastes yummy. The tomatoes cook in the juice released from the vegetable as well as the sugar . Eta aamar chhelebelaar chatni. Ekhon chini baad diye Diet sugar diye banayi .

  9. I saw cranberries yesterday and remembered the chutney on your blog! I will try this soon, sounds like a brillant combination!

  10. nothing can be more delicious than this my dadi used to mke this,..:-)

  11. ami mishti khete bhsihon bhalobasi akhon khete paina bole sugarfree die chatni banie sesh pate khai.
    amar maa o thik ebhabei chatni banay tabe tentul dayna. ami akdin haldiram theke oi samosa r sange je laal chatni day ota mishie diechilam. bhishon bhalo jhal tak mishti khete holo. aklhon sabai ektu tentul day. aar season e amra amada di. asadharon gandho hay.

  12. Soma

    Chat kore kore phelo, amader winter eita khub hoy

    This would not go well with bhel-puri, it is not smooth like the bhelpuri chutney :(

    This is a very common chutney for us, but we have it as part of a meal

    I have updated the post, check it out.We typically eat it as a part of a meal, the course served just before dessert


    Doesn't that make it more special :) I am sure if I was in India, these things wouldn't be so important for me

  13. Sandeepa,
    I even put a little bit of grated beet root to the chutney, love that red color of it :).

  14. Sayantani

    Kamla lebur khosa. Bah darun idea to


    I like all kinds of pickles :) Most of my friends are great cooks like that. I am amazed totally by their skills especially when it comes to cooking in large quantity


    Update kore debo recipe ta ei method tao debo. Thanks

    How are you girl ?

    Notyet 100
    Dadi sure made it superb :)


    Aha re sugar free keno, ki hoyeche ? Oi Haldiram er chaatni'r moton kena tetul er chutney diyechi amio. Ki bhalo lage na

  15. Sudeshna

    Beet root ??? Thats a neat idea, first time am hearing of it though

  16. is very informative. The article is very professionally written. I enjoy reading every day.

  17. I am a big tomato khejurer chutney addict. I still remember Durga Puja's in my building when i was in school. I used to serve food in the community lunches. And sit with a bhaar (earthen glass) full of chutney at the end and have it.

    Love pineapple chutney too

  18. tomato khejurer chutney te amio ektu tetul di..chatni tak na hole thik jame na..ami chaltar ambolpoat karechi..time pele dekho..kolkatai giye maer kache ranna sikhlam..jodio singapore e pai na

  19. karechi..not poat, sorry

  20. eyimon ke ache jaar chatni bhalo lage na ..ami chatni te tentol di na ..eve's lung (am i right) ..jemon boleche ami seyimni kore chatni bana E ar ekto aamsotto hole to kotha hi neyi :)...
    hugs and smiles

  21. yes, it is mazing and tasty chutney. but may i ask you instead of tamarind pulp can we use vinegar for sharpness or as a perservative? pls advice me. thanks

  22. Anurag Mathur : I had to refer to this blog as my childhood was spent in Tatanagar and chutney was aplenty !! Now i am in Gujarat - Ahmnedabad and now i can savour this only at the Durga Pooja Community lunch on all the 6 days. I wanted my wife to learn the recipe hence, this blog - thanks -everybody !! :)

  23. Hi Sandeepa,

    Love reading your blog...You should try adding some lemon juice instead of tamarind. Its my mom-in-law's secret to a delicious, finger-licking tomato it a lemony flavour that goes so well with the tomatoes :)

  24. Love your blog and refer to it and share it quite often, although I don't post much. Thank you so much for putting in the effort in this blog.

    Love this recipe. Your adding tamarind chutney reminds me of my MIL who adds some lemon juice after the chutney is finished cooking. Just noticed someone else talked about adding lemon juice .. wonder if it's a ghotti vs Bangal thing! :) :)

    I have to cook a large dinner for this weekend and am going to try it with tamarind chutney!

  25. Hurrey. I cooked the tomato chaatni and it tastes good!
    Shailendra Nath

  26. Its so long since I've visited here....! This morning I was thinking of your cranberry chutney recipe from long ago and wanted to check it out..don't have to search much! I can send this in my lil one's school lunch, she'd love it.


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