I’ve decided that I don’t pay enough attention to sauces, often considering them nothing more than an afterthought. Bad call on my part.
Because without sauces, cheese nachos would pretty much just be a plate of tortilla chips, hot fudge sundaes would barely have a leg up on a bowl of plain ice cream, and Eggs Benedict would be nothing more than an open faced breakfast sandwich. Clearly it’s the sauces that are elevating those dishes to something extra special.
And so I’m planning on addressing the major dearth of condiment recipes around here, starting with this tart, garlicky tamarind sauce. Tamarind pulp is combined with hot water, garlic and Jalapeno and simmered until dark and thick.
Use it instead of ketchup to give your burger some Burmese flair, or use it as a dip on fries or any other fried snacks. I’m especially happy to have this recipe on file because it always seems like I’ve got a thick slab of tamarind remaining after my Southeast Asian cooking phases. This will surely be my new go-to for using up any tamarind leftovers.
Tart and Garlicky Tamarind Sauce
Yield: About 1 cup
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
* 1/2 cup packed tamarind pulp, finely chopped
* 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons hot water
* 5 cloves garlic
* 2 Jalapeno chile peppers, seeded and roughly chopped
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon sugar
Combine the tamarind pulp and the hot water in a small bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes and use a fork to mash the tamarind to help dissolve it into the water. Press the mixture through a sieve into a small saucepan, pressing the mixture against the sieve to extract as much as liquid as possible from the pulp. Discard any remaining solids.
Combine the garlic and Jalapeno in a food processor and process until the mixture has formed a paste. Add this to the tamarind liquid and then add the salt and sugar.
Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, just long enough to take some of the edge off of the garlic. If the mixture gets too thick, add a Tablespoon or two of water. Taste and adjust the salt or sugar, if necessary.
Refrigerate any leftovers.
Adapted from Burma: Rivers of Flavor by Naomi Duguid