Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tamarind-Apple Chutney

After months of dithering about whether to buy the whole tamarind pods at my neighborhood grocery stores--which seemed like a lot of work to prepare--I stumbled upon this paste at Whole Foods.  While I dislike how this episode makes me sound like a lazy white person (some of the things WF sells are ridiculous--peeled garlic cloves?!), this stuff is really fantastic.  The flavor is really strong and DELICIOUS; it tastes like the best sour candy you ever had.  And a tiny bit goes a long way, such that the $4 I spent on this will go very far.  What else should I do with it?  I would love ideas...

Paru's, one of the several amazing recipes within blocks of my house, has a mauve-colored chutney that I've always wanted to replicate.  I'm not sure what's in it, but it tastes like magical applesauce.  What I came up with here is very delicious, though more gingery than the original.  I wasn't going to add any sugar, but the tamarind is so tart that it seemed necessary.  The spices aren't overpowering, but they, too, balance out the sweetness and tartness of the chutney with the smoky-savory thing they have going on.  I made this to serve with a bunch of Indian food, but it's good with other stuff, too, like grilled tofu.

Mm.  Now I have to make applesauce [sin tamarindo], too.

Tamarind-Apple Chutney

1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
2 apples, peeled, cored, and diced
about 1/4 c water (or more as needed)
2 tsp finely minced or grated fresh ginger
1 TB turbinado sugar
pinch cayenne pepper
pinch salt
1 TB tamarind paste

1. Toast cumin and fennel seeds.  When cool, grind and set aside.
2. Place apples, water, ginger, and ground/toasted spices in a small saucepan.  Cook over low heat until apples are quite soft (about 15-25 minutes).  Add sugar and cayenne, cook a few more minutes, then remove from heat and allow to cool.
3. In a food processor or blender, blend saucepan mixture with salt and tamarind paste.  Adjust seasonings to taste, then reheat and transfer to a sterile jar.  Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

1 comment:

myer nore said...

Mahadur Jaffrey has a recipe for a cool Tamarind drink that sounds pretty good. Basically, you simmer tamarind paste, sugar, and water until it's the consistency of maple syrup - then you save it in the fridge. Then to make the drink, you then combine 1/4 cup of the paste with 1/2 cup water and some ice cubes.

Mahadur Jaffrey loves the stuff. One look in the index yeilds ten tamarind recipes!