Grind up the dates, using a blender or food processor. If you have neither then a pestle and mortar will do.
Place the dates in a non-stick saucepan and add the tamarind paste and sugar. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved.
In a separate pan dry roast the cumin and chilli powder over a medium heat to release their flavour and then add to the tamarind and date mixture, along with the salt and enough water to loosen the mixture.
Continue to cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes allowing the chutney to thicken, taking care not to let the mixture stick.
Take off the heat and pass the chutney through a fine sieve to obtain a smooth chutney. Then pour into a serving bowl and once cool refrigerate.
When needed take some of the chutney and add a little water to get to the consistency of your choosing.
Once made this chutney can be stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 months in a sterilised jar and used when required.
More authentic recipes ask that you use whole tamarind and jaggery, however I have adapted this recipe to what I can buy locally. I have used tamarind paste in place of cooking and preparing a whole tamarind. Jaggery has a sweet, molasses type taste and dark muscavado sugar is a good substitute.
Different chilli powders will produce differing amounts of heat in the chutney so use one you are familiar with.