Somali Chutney (Shidni) Chutney Somali الشتني الصومالي

Somali Chutney (Shidni) Chutney Somali الشتني الصومالي

Somali Chutney

This is not everyday Somali food. Not even a once-in-a-month thing, unless you frequent Somali restaurants. This chutney is consumed on special occasions which explains why some Somalis know it as Basbaas Alla-bari (feast hot sauce). Alla-bari is a large prayer gathering followed by a feast. That name also gives a clue that Somalis usually make their chutney spicy hot.

In this recipe, we decided to break with tradition and did not add any chilli to the chutney. We know many who like the phenomenal taste of the chutney but cannot handle the heat from hot peppers. Chilli lovers can add as much hot sauce as they wish.

There are many variations of this chutney, each cook using different ingredients and preparing it differently. It is known as Shidni, Shigni, or Basbaas Alla-bari. In Brava, Somalia, it is known as Achaari and is usually prepared from either dates and tamarind or mangoes and tamarind. Our version has dates, mangoes, and tamarind in addition to the tomatoes, onion, garlic, green pepper, and cilantro. It has salt, sugar, and vinegar added as well as the ubiquitous Xawaash seasoning. The result is a sweet, sour, salty, and tangy tasting chutney that is simply irresistible.

The oil in the recipe seem like it is a lot but it is required to help caramelize the chutney. It also acts a preserving agent, making the chutney safe to keep in the fridge for several months.


Print Recipe

Print Recipe with Photos



(Tbsp is a tablespoon; tsp is a teaspoon)
(1 cup = 237 mL = 2.4 dl; 1 Tbsp = 15 mL; 1 tsp = 5 mL); all are level measurements

Serves 24

  • 1 Onion – Small
  • 6 Garlic cloves
  • ½ Green pepper
  • ½ (¼ + ¼) cup (118 mL) Water
  • 4 Tomatoes
  • ⅔ (100 g) Dates (pitted)
  • ½ lb (225 g) Mango flesh
  • ½ cup (55 g) Fresh cilantro – UK: coriander
  • 1 cup (237 mL) Canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) Xawaash
  • 1 cup (100 g) Tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) Salt
  • 2 Tbsp (55 mL) Tamarind (seeded)
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) Sugar
  • ¼ cup(s) (59 mL) White vinegar


Steps for preparing the chutney

  1. In a blender place the onions, garlic, green pepper and ¼ cup water. Blend until smooth.
  2. Add the tomatoes and blend until pureed.
  3. Add the dates, mango flesh and cilantro. Blend until smooth.
  4. In a 6 litre pot set on low heat, add the oil and the Xawaash seasoning mix.
  5. Add the pureed mixture immediately and mix well. Add tomato paste and salt, and mix well.
  6. Soften the tamarind paste in a ¼ cup hot water. Mix well. Add to the mixture. You could also use tamarid sauce.
  7. Cover and cook on low heat for two hours. Stir every half hour. Wear mittens when stirring.
  8. After the 2 hours have elapsed, add the sugar.
  9. Add the vinegar and stir well. Cover and cook for 5 minutes on low heat.