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A host of chutneys can be used to complement iftar staples such as pakoras, samosas, bhajiyas, dahi baray and cholay. Here are some chutneys that will add some zing to your iftar table this Ramazan.

Tamarind chutney. Simmer tamarind pulp in water for half an hour, and then strain the pulp. In a heavy-bottomed pan, add tamarind pulp and jaggery, salt, black salt, red chilli powder, roasted cumin powder and dry ginger powder – and your tamarind chutney is ready!

Sweet date chutney. Simmer dates in water until they soften. Add bay leaves, black cardamoms, cloves, dried ginger powder, fennel seeds, black salt, red chilli powder, jaggery and roasted cumin powder and stir well. Cover and cook until thick. For some extra spice, add a cumin tarka.

Sesame seed chutney. Grind together green chillies, fresh coriander, garlic and salt; grind roasted sesame seeds separately. Combine the ground ingredients, and add some tamarind juice.

Of course, don’t forget two other traditional chutneys: red lassan mirch ki chutney and green chutney. The former is prepared by crushing together garlic, red chillies and salt, while the latter is prepared by grinding fresh mint, garlic, coriander and green chillies. These chutneys can be improvised by adding coconut, tomatoes, peanuts and sometimes even dried prawns to create epic productions like a fiery balchow.

Fresh fruit like mangoes and plums can be used to make a fresh relish that can be used as a dip. Raw mangoes can be used to make a delicious and tangy relish by dicing them and mixing them with grated carrots, dates, de-seeded red whole chillies, sugar, salt, ketchup, and a little water.

Remember, these chutneys can be prepared in bulk, cooled and stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator and be used throughout the month.

– Fouzia Nasir Ahmad

First published in the Adbuzzzz Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on July 14, 2013.