One of the greatest thing I enjoy doing is exploring new things and owing up to them because it just keeps me happy. This happens to me each time I sight either new food, new cuisine, new fruit, new vegetable, new people and obviously new "any interesting thing". Apparently since the world is a global village, we all are left with no other option than exploring new things as the world rotates each day. So on that fateful day when I visited the farmers market a couple of days ago, I was busy picking my usual fruit and vegetables only for me to luckily bump into this unique fruit. When I sighted it initially, I didn't really appreciate what it was because it looked so strange, so I decided to give this spectacular fruit another closer look.
Lo and behold, the inscription on the pack states; Sweet Tamarind. It might sound funny but I can tell you for sure that never in my whole long lifetime have I seen or heard such name; sweet tamarind. Okayyyy....... There and then, I was instantly convinced that I must share this latest discovery with my lovely readers.
Don't get me wrong please, I am not implying that you are also a newbie as par sweet tamarind... No way! Apparently, you probably must have known about it, eaten and still eating it but I am only excited because I am just getting to know about this sweet tasty tangy fruit.
So on grabbing a pack of sweet tamarind from the display zone, I headed over to meet the seller to interrogate him a little bit about all he might know about sweet tamarind. Luckily for me, the gentleman has been eating this fruit ever since he was a kid so he was quite happy to share some few preparation tips about this fruit.
So here I am today sharing the good news on sweet tamarind. The good thing about preparing sweet tamarind sauce is that you can actually tweak the recipe; either make it as it is without any additives or paired with other spices, herbs, peppers and ingredients during preparation however, whichever method you decide to follow still fits the bill perfectly well.
To prepare the sweet tamarind sauce without any additives, all you need to do is to peel the tamarind pods, remove the inner pulps and them add in a saucepan with substantial amount of water. Cover the saucepan and allow to boil for at least 5-10 minutes depending on the heat temperature but then you just need to boil the tamarinds until softened.
Then mash them gently to separate the seeds and the chaffs from the pulp after which you then add more water to wash off the seeds and chaffs from the pulp. Strain the chaffs and seeds from the pulp before heating the liquid pulp for another 5-10 minutes or until thickened to your satisfaction.
But do remember not to add too much water into the tamarinds while washing and straining them. Once the boiling sauce has thickened, your tamarind is ready for use. I can tell you for sure that the taste is so fantastic and flavourful.
The moment I tasted this sweet tamarind sauce, it reminded me of the taste of a popular tropical fruit that we locally know as Icheku or cheleku. These two fruits tasted so similarly but because I wanted a second opinion, I asked my hubby to taste-test the sauce for me. When I asked him what the taste was like, he gladly mentioned cheleku (black velvet tamarind)!!!
Ok just hang on please.
You won't believe that when I searched for the English name of cheleku that what the search result gave me was "Black Velvet Tamarind", which is botanically known as Dialium indum. The black velvet tamarind is a popular tropical fruit and the leaves and barks are believed to contain medicinal properties for treating several diseases. Interestingly, both the sweet tamarind and black velvet tamarind are leguminous trees that belong to the family of Fabaceae with origin from the tropical Africa.
I was like Wwwwooooooooooooooowwwww.....
No wonder the similarity in taste even though they both look differently in appearance. So the question that immediately came to my mind was if these two fruits bear sort of similar names, how come I've only known about one and not the other? But that goes a long way to explain why I always express my enthusiasm in exploring new things and this time around everything actually fell into place :D
Okay back to the second alternative recipe for preparing the sweet tamarind sauce; if you really want the sauce to be hotty, spicy and peppery, then all need to do is to add the quantity of red chili pepper you want, ground black pepper, cumin seeds, ginger powder, salt to taste, local herbs (chives, basil leaves, mint leaves, bay leaves, utazi) and any local spices of choice (uziza, ehu seeds) all together in a blender then blend all together until the mixture is smooth.
Add the smooth paste into the boiling thickened sweet tamarind sauce, stir and allow to simmer for at least three minutes before bringing the tamarind sauce down from heat. Your peppery, spicy sweet tamarind is now ready for use. Just as simple as that!!! However for today's post, I prepared the sauce without any additional ingredients because I was so longing to enjoy all the similarities and tangy taste the tamarind sauce bears together with the Black Velvet Tamarind (Icheku, cheleku fruit).
You might be pondering what next once the sauce is ready?
It might interest you to know that sweet tamarind sauce is just synonymous with ketchup in terms of usage. So in order words, it is a sort of local homemade ketchup. The only differences are the colour and taste variation but they all serve similar purposes. Interestingly, you can use your sweet tamarind sauce as a marinade for all your chicken, lamb, mutton and beef dishes.
So just as you rub your marinades over the meat before grilling or roasting, the same way you can rub the sweet tamarind sauce over any meat dish you want to prepare and I bet you that the taste is just classical. You can't just beat it....
Besides you can use the sweet tamarind sauce as homemade spread on your breads, pancakes, snacks and pastries. The sauce goes perfectly well on all these dishes. Just spot on!!!
For real, this sweet tamarind sauce recipe turned out to be a perfect and winning sauce recipe for me. Although I was a bit skeptical when I wanted to try out the recipe but fortunately it turned out perfectly fantastic even far beyond my expectations. Yes, it turned out very nicely, creamy, buttery and soft with a slight tang from the tamarinds; a winning sauce indeed.
Incase you want to try out this recipe but find it difficult to locate the sweet tamarinds from your local supermarket, then check at the farmers market, Chinese food stores or Asian food stores.
Again just to remind you that the pods ought to be opened and the inner pulps removed before cooking. I urge you to give this exotic sweet chutney a try for a really good treat.
If you enjoy this post and recipe, please share your opinion with us on the comment box - Every opinion counts!!!
Loads of Love From Blessing