A delish chutni that has the sweetness of date and raisins (and yes, quite a lot of sugar) cut by the sharpness of Sri Lankan pickled limes ( you can substitute Moroccan preserved lemons) and rich with ginger and garlic.

Date and Lime Pickle Chutni

A sweet and sharp chutni that is great as a condiment with rice and curry, or as a relish with roast meats, or just spread on bread and butter.
Course Condiment, Relish
Cuisine Sri Lankan
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes


  • 500 g dates
  • 1 tbsp black mustard seed
  • 2 tbsp chilli powder This makes quite a 'hot' pickle so you may want to start with a small amount of chilli powder, say 1 tsp, and add more during the cooking if you think it is not 'hot' enough
  • 9 Sri Lankan pickled limes (lunu dehi) You can buy these in a jar or canned from an Asian grocery store, or you can substitute half the quantity of Moroccan preserved limes. You can also make your own Sri Lankan lime pickle.
  • 2 cups white vinegar Don't use balsamic.
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp ginger slices
  • 1/2 cup raisins You can use sultanas if you like, but don't use currants.
  • 3 cups sugar Caster sugar dissolves easily but you can just use regular white or raw sugar. Don't use brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water


  • Add the water, vinegar and sugar to a saucepan and bring the liquid to the boil.
  • Stir the liquid from time to time to help the sugar dissolve.
  • When all the sugar has dissolved take the liquid off the stove.
  • Mince/blend together the mustard seed, garlic and ginger. You may need a spoonful or two of the liquid you have already made or water to help the process along.
  • Add the minced mixed spices and the chilli to the liquid in the saucepan. Bring the liquid back to the boil and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the seeds form the dates if they are still intact. Chop the date flesh into small pieces. Add the chopped dates to the saucepan.
  • Chop the pickled limes about the same size as the dates. Add the chopped pickled limes to the saucepan.
  • Chop the raisins to the same size as the dates and limes. Add the chopped raisins to the saucepan.
  • Put the saucepan on the stove and bring the chutni mix to the boil. Turn down the heat so the mixture is bubbling gently.
  • Meanwhile, it's time to sterilise your jars. Turn you oven on to 120C, Put your empty jars on a, oven tray or an ovenproof plates and put the tray or plate on rack in the oven. Leave them for 20 minutes.
  • Back at the stove, stir the chutni from time to time to stop it sticking and burning.
  • After 20 minutes it's time to test that the chutni is setting. You do this by putting say half a teaspoon of the chutni on a small plate or dish and putting the plate or dish in the refrigerator. Leave it a minute or so. Take it out and tip the plate or dish on its side. If the chutni mixture doesn't dribble down the plate the mixture is ready to set. If the chutni does dribble down, let the mixture cook on the stove a few more minutes and test again. It should set pretty well within 30 minutes of bringing it to the boil.
  • Take the tray or plate of sterilised jars carefully out of the oven and put them, on a heat proof bench top or a wooden cutting board.
  • Take the saucepan of chutni off the stove and also put it on something that is heat proof.
  • Spoon the chutney into the jars and when full check to see there are no air pockets in the mixture. You can see them from the side of the glass as places that look like bubbles. I poke a wooden satay stick into the jar and into the bubble which bursts it and lets more chutni mix settle. I usually poke the stick several times into the mixture where I can't see bubbles just in case. You can do the same with a thin metal skewer or the handle of a teaspoon. You do this because you don't want any microbes trapped in the air bubble to spoil the chutni.
  • Put the lids on the jars immediately after filling them and checking for air bubbles.
  • Chutnis and jams can be eaten as soon as they are made. You don't have to set them aside for a time s you do with pickles.