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Monday, April 21, 2014

Tamarind Sauce

Tamarind pods. The sticky flesh inside is removed and usually sold in a block.

We ate this sauce on lamb chops but I think it would be wonderful on just about anything grilled: chicken, duck, beef, or shrimp (which is what the original recipe from used it on). It is very intense with the tamarind and the fish sauce. It's not so different from many steak sauces or Worcestershire sauce which are flavored with tamarind and anchovies.

I used tamarind sauce from my local Savory Spice Shop but that's not necessary. If you have tamarind pulp - usually sold in a block  - you can make your own sauce. Look for it in Asian markets, especially Indian ones.

Tamarind Sauce
(makes about ½ cup)

1 Tablespoon tamarind pulp
⅓ cup warm water
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon finely minced cilantro
1 Tablespoon minced garlic (3-4 cloves)
1 Tablespoon Siracha sauce
1 ½ Tablespoon turbinado or dark brown sugar
1 Tablespoon fish sauce

Combine tamarind pulp and water in a small bowl. Let sit for 10 minutes to soften pulp, Using your fingers, rub the pulp in the water to dissolve. Tamarind can have lots of fiber and big seeds so don't be surprised if it doesn't all dissolve. Push through a strainer into another bowl to remove the solids. You should have about 3 Tablespoons tamarind sauce.

Heat oil in a small saucepan until hot but not smoking. Add cilantro and garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Serve with grilled meat, chicken, or shrimp. It's intense; one recipe is enough for 4 people.

Photo: pictures of the tamarind-fruit {{cc-by}} Clemens PFEIFFER, 1190 Wien, licensed under Creative Commons from WikiCommons