Using Tamarind in Preparing Sauces

A favorite ingredient of chefs throughout the world, Tamarind is an interesting fruit, widely used as a spice. Fresh tamarind tastes sweet, but once it matures the secretion of tartaric acid makes it sour.

The symbiosis of sweet and sour gives this fruit a place in a vast array of culinary dishes. The best part about tamarind is it goes well with almost everything. Mix it with a salad or a meat dish or even a dessert to bring out an authentic Asian tang to your dish.

The taste of tamarind is extremely powerful and unique. A small portion goes a long way in making your dish exciting. It goes well with other spices like cinnamon, clove, cardamom and anise. Aromatics herbs like garlic, ginger, chilies, parsley and coriander can be used along with tamarind. Be sure never to mix onion as they don’t really taste well together.

It has a huge influence on Southeast-Asian cooking, especially in India, where it is used as a base ingredient for chutneys and spicy appetizers. The soul of the notoriously famous “panipuri” or “gol-gappa”, famous in India, is tamarind. Chutney is another classic creation, which basically means sauce and is served with a plethora of other dishes. Here is a wonderful recipe filled with a dash of surprise, Tamarind sweet and spicy chutney.

Ingredients:

1. 1/2 cup Tamarind paste. (You can buy it directly at an Asian supermarket or make it yourself at home).
2. 1 teaspoon ground ginger.
3. 1 small clove of garlic, crushed to a paste.
4. 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (Vary it according to your spice quotient)
5. 1/2 teaspoon asafoetida powder. (You can skip it if it’s not available)
6. 1 tablespoon canola oil.
7. 1 cup brown sugar.
8. 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar.

Procedure:

1. Heat the vinegar, along with canola oil and brown sugar in a pan over low heat. The low heat slowly caramelizes the sugar to a nice thick consistency. The vinegar acts as a catalyst in this process while the oil forms a nice base.

2. Add ginger, garlic and asafoetida powder. Cook for about 2 minutes adding water if necessary.

3.Next add the rest of the spices along the tamarind paste.Add water if the sauce is too thick, or simply boil it down if you want it thick.

4. Let it cool down after which you can strain it down to a nice home-made sauce.

5. Serve it with baked meat, fish or any deep fried dish. Alternatively, you can also use it in a salad or use it to make a spicy drink.

Tamarind is not only a sweet surprise unique to itself but also easily available. You can find in most grocery stores or any Asian specialty store. There is also the option of buying it online, where you get to choose from a variety of different tamarinds. Try out this oriental sauce to fill your palate with exotic flavors. You can store this sauce in a refrigerator for about two weeks. It’s very versatile to use this and it can be added to a variety of dishes. Once you understand this exciting fruit you can let your imagination run wild. Enjoy!

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Chocolate Tamarind Cupcakes

We all love the sweet and tangy flavor of tamarind. Tamarind spice condiment is extensively used in kitchens in South-Asia. The spice got its name from Persian semantic, Tamar-I-hind, which means dates of India. Evergreen tropical trees of tamarind are inborn of Africa. These trees are extremely tall and bear fruit mostly in warm and dry areas of India, South-East Asia, and Mexico. Tamarind trees have elongated, drooping branches and thick foliage.

You can buy the tamarind fruit either in its fresh or processed form. But additives are added to the processed tamarind products which can depreciate its nutritional value. Therefore, it is much better to buy fresh tamarind fruit.

THE GOODNESS OF TAMARIND FOR HEALTH:

Tamarind is an ancient medicinal tree and is thoroughly used in treating various ailments related to sunstrokes, stomach, and cholesterol and so many others. The fruit of tamarind contains vital vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibers.

Some of the major medicinal uses of tamarind:

• Tamarind is rich in tartaric acid. It gives a sour taste to foods and makes them rich in anti-oxidants.
• Boiled or dried leaves of tamarind trees can be used in poultices for conjunctivitis or inflamed joints.
• Tamarind is rich in vitamins like vitamin-A, riboflavin, thiamine and vitamin-C. These vitamins boost the functioning of enzyme metabolism in the body.
• This spice is an excellent source of iron, which is necessary for the making of Red Blood Cells (RBC) in our body.

USE OF TAMARIND IN CUISINES:

This sweet and sour ingredient is used in various cookings. It is very easy to use, just cut open the pod, soak it in warm water for 10 minutes and the tamarind pulp is ready to use whenever needed. The tamarind pulp can be used in any cuisine to add more flavors, even in DESSERTS. It gives that extra zing to the sweet foods.

One of the very easy and quick dessert recipes that you can cook for yourself using tamarind in no time is your favorite CUPCAKES!

WHOLE-WHEAT CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES WITH TAMARIND:

The tangy sweet essence of tamarind complements the richness of chocolate so well that you will fall in love with this cupcake.

INGREDIENTS REQUIRED:

Whole-Wheat Flour 1 cup
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder 1/3 cup
Tamarind Pulp 3/4cup
Baking Soda 1 teaspoon
Vanilla Powder 1 teaspoon
Salt 1/2 teaspoon
Vegetable Oil 5 tablespoons
Unrefined Cane Sugar 1 cup
Water 1 cup

PREPARATION TIME: 20-25 Minutes.

PREPARATION METHOD:

Pre-heat your oven to 150 degrees Celsius.
Take a big bowl; add tamarind pulp, sugar, and water. Stir everything well so that the sugar completely dissolves.
Now add vegetable oil in water and stir. Keep it aside for a while.
Take another bowl and dry ingredients.
Add whole-wheat flour, cocoa, vanilla powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
Mix all the ingredients well.
Now add the tamarind and sugar dissolved water into the dry ingredients and mix slowly and gently.
Take your cupcake baking tray and grease it with butter or oil.
Pour the well-mixed batter in the tray and keep it in the pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes.
Check your cupcakes by inserting a toothpick. If it comes out clean, your cupcakes are ready.

Indulge yourself in the exquisite taste of CHOCOLATE TAMARIND CUPCAKES!

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More great recipes coming soon!