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Author Notes: This is a favorite condiment from my childhood. Served as an accompaniment, it can make a meal go from bland to peppy with just a tiny dollop. I consider it almost medicinal given the vital role ginger, renowned for its healing qualities, plays in the recipe. Its aromatic pungency marries beautifully with the tart and mildly sweet tamarind base. Green chillies bring balance and pack quite a healthy bite. This sauce makes a wonderful addition to Asian-inspired meals and barbecues. Whisk in some vegan mayonnaise to cut down the heat a bit and fold into roasted potatoes.
*Note: Dried tamarind and asafetida can be sourced from your local Indian store. —Kala Ganapathy
Makes 3/4 cup (approx)
grams dried tamarind*
inch piece, fresh ginger root, grated fine
Thai green chilies, chopped fine (deseed and adjust quantity based on heat tolerance)
teaspoon asafetida (optional)*
teaspoon molasses or brown sugar to taste
teaspoons coconut, rice bran or sunflower oil
teaspoon black mustard seeds
teaspoon ground turmeric
salt to taste
- Place the tamarind in a bowl. Cover with hot water and set aside to soften. Once the water is cool enough to handle, extract the pulpy juice by squeezing the fruit. Discard the fibre and set the juice aside.
- Add 1 tsp. oil to a pan and place over medium heat. Drop in the mustard seeds and cover. The seeds should start popping shortly. As soon as the popping begins to slow down, take the pan off the heat and throw in the remaining ingredients.
- Cook on medium heat until the sauce starts to thicken and the chilies have softened. Taste to adjust seasonings. Bottle the sauce and top with the remaining oil. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.