Sweet and Spicy Tamarind Sauce (Chippa Karamu)

By • July 29, 2016 2 Comments

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Author Notes: This Andhra speciality is traditionally made by hand-pounding all the ingredients in a dried coconut shell, or chippa in Telugu, and is how it gets its name. This sauce is made by coarsely crushing whole onions and garlic and mixing them in a tamarind-jaggery sauce flecked with freshly ground chile flakes. Before being ground, the chiles are roasted directly over an open flame, which gives the sauce its unique smoky flavor. Archana Pidathala


Makes 3/4 cup

  • 25 grams (about 1 lime-sized ball) tamarind, soaked in 60ml / 1/4 cup of hot water for 15 mins
  • 3 tablespoons powdered jaggery (raw sugar or brown sugar work if you cannot find jaggery)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 to 7 dried red chiles
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 8 to 10 garlic cloves
  1. Mash the tamarind by hand or with a fork, and pour the liquid into a bowl through a sieve. Squeeze the tamarind to extract as much of the liquid and pulp as possible. Discard the fibre and seeds left behind in the sieve. To the tamarind extract, add 60ml (1/4 cup) of water, powdered jaggery and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Mix till the jaggery dissolves completely.
  2. With a pair of tongs, hold each dried red chile about 2 to 3 inches above a stove flame and roast till the chile puffs up. The chiles will mildly blister, but don’t let them burn or char. Set aside to cool.
  3. Pound the roasted chiles with 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a mortar and pestle. Alternatively, grind them to a coarse powder in blender or food processor. Remove and set aside. Now pound the onion and garlic to a chunky paste and add it to the sweetened tamarind water along with the chile flakes. Taste and adjust the seasoning and sweetness as required. Serve with hot rice, finger millet porridge, chappatis, or dosa.

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Topics: Indian Cooking, Essential Tools, Condiments & Sauces