|Tracey D from Perth, Western Australia asks:
“Do you have a recipe for a sauce to serve with samosas, like a tamarind type of sauce?”
My reply: “Yes I do. This one is perfect with samosas”.
Sweet and Sour Tamarind Chutney
Tamarind is the fruit contained in the hanging pods of the tamarind tree, Tamarindus indica. The pods themselves are between 10-15cm (4-6 inches) long, cinnamon-brown coloured with a fuzzy coating. The pulp from inside the pods is piquant with a sour, date/apricot flavour.
There are some interesting etymological origins of the word ‘tamarind’. The Arabic tamr hindi simply means “date of India” (‘date’ being a general name for the fruits of various palm trees); needless to say, tamarind neither stems from India nor is it related to palm trees. It is a native of Africa.
Dried tamarind is available at all Indian and Asian grocers in three main forms – hard, pressed blocks, packets of softer pulp and jars of puree, or concentrate. The dried pulp, which needs to be reconstituted by soaking it in water, varies immensely from source to source. The stuff in jars also varies from liquid to jam-like.
Some pulp appears full of fibre, and others are relatively fibre-free. But this is not an indication of quality; some of the best tasting tamarind puree I have tasted comes from soaking very unappealing looking rock-hard dried tamarind. Shop around, and choose your favourite brand.
There are innumerable variations on this classic chutney. This one is sauce-like and sweetened predominantly with dates. It is very versatile and popular, and especially suited as an accompaniment for fried dishes, such as samosas, kofta, pakoras and vadai. Makes about 2 cups
1/3 cup dried tamarind
3/4 cup dried dates
1½ teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1-2 fresh green chilies chopped
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons garam masala
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Soak the tamarind in 1 1/3 cups hot water for 1 hour. Soak the dates in ½ cup hot water for 1 hour. Place the soaked dates and their soaking liquid along with the ginger, the green chilies, and another cup water in a 2- or 3-litre saucepan. Bring to the boil, then cook, covered, over low heat for 15-20 minutes, or until the dates are very tender. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
Meanwhile, squeeze out all the soft pulp from the soaked tamarind, push and squeeze it through a sieve, reserve the puree and discard the stones and roughage. Combine the strained tamarind puree with the tender cooked dates and their cooking liquid in a food processor. Blend to a smooth puree.
Pour the puree into the rinsed out saucepan that held the dates. Add the sugar, salt, garam masala and cayenne pepper. Bring to the boil over a gentle heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer the chutney for 5-10 minutes more, then allow it to cool to room temperature before serving. The flavours of this chutney improve as it sits.
Posted by Kurma on 1/10/08; 8:43:07 AM