Freshly made tamarind sauce is so much better than anything you can purchase.
There are many brands of tamarind sauce that you can purchase to make life easy.
They are good but most are a lot sweeter than this version. I don’t really have a sweet tooth and prefer the very tart flavour of this tamarind sauce.
Quick and easy to make! This tamarind sauce is so better than shop bought!
You could of course add more sugar or jaggery to taste. One thing is certain, when you make your own tamarind sauce, your end dishes will taste better!
This is a sauce I always have on hand. It keeps forever in the fridge and is delicious added to chaats, wraps, and curries.
So what do I do with tamarind sauce when I’ve made it?
Let’s break this recipe down.
To make the tamarind sauce, you first need to process a brick of tamarind. Photos of this process are below.
Once you get all the seeds out of the tamarind and run it through a sieve, you have tamarind concentrate.
So if you don’t add any spices or other ingredients to this concentrate, you still have a very useful ingredient. Tamarind concentrate is called for in many recipes. It adds a delicious sour flavour to a curry so it is good to have on hand.
But what about the finished sauce?
Like the tamarind concentrate mentioned above, tamarind sauce is of course available to purchase. But this recipe for tamarind sauce which is sweet, sour and spicy is my personal favourite.
No shop bought tamarind sauce for me!
Both the concentrate and the sauce can be stored in the fridge for weeks.
Here are some delicious recipes you can use your homemade tamarind sauce in!
Get your ingredients together before starting. It makes things that much easier. I also added chilli powder to mine, not shown.
Break the tamarind into about six chunks and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes.
As the tamarind simmers, press down and break it up with a wooden spoon or potato masher.
Allow to cool for a couple of minutes.
Press the tamarind through a fine sieve with a spoon. This takes time! Probably about 10 to 15 minutes.
You’ll be left with a few seeds and stringy bits. Throw these away.
You now have tamarind concentrate. The same stuff you can purchase but much tastier. It can be used in sauces and many other things to add a delicious sour flavour. It keeps for months.
To make the sauce, pour the sieved concentrate back into the pan.
I added chilli powder to mine which is optional.
Stir in the sugar and other spices and simmer for a few minutes, stirring often. Water can be added for a thinner sauce if preferred.
I made a thick sauce but as mentioned above, this can be thinned if preferred.
The thick or thin sauce can be stored in a jar or squeeze bottle.
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This delicious sauce can be stirred into curries for a sour flavour. It is also good on its own.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
200g block of tamarind pulp
Water to cover 1 ½ cups plus more if preferred
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon chaat masala (optional)
½ teaspoon dried ginger powder
½ teaspoon red chilli powder or to taste
1 tablespoon sugar or jaggery – more or less to taste
Salt to taste
Break up the block of tamarind into about six pieces in a small saucepan and cover with 375ml ( 1 ½ cups) water. Bring to a rolling simmer over medium–high heat, stirring often for about 5 minutes. Then remove from the heat and let it cool for another 5 minutes.
Using a wooden spoon or potato masher, smash the tamarind in the water. The sauce will become thick like ketchup. Run this through a sieve into a bowl, pushing against the solids as you do. You should end up with a thick tamarind paste. If you have ever used shop bought tamarind concentrate, this is what you have though shop bought tamarind concentrate is much more concentrated. Discard any solids that remain in the sieve.
Return the tamarind paste to the saucepan and add the cumin, chaat masala (if using), ginger, chilli powder and sugar. Bring to a simmer for about 3 minutes until the sugar is completely dissolved. You can add a drop more water if you prefer a runnier sauce or reduce it more if you prefer a thicker sauce. Taste the sauce and add more sugar, salt or other spices to taste. (You will need to dissolve any additional sugar over a medium heat if added.)
I store this in a convenient squirt bottle in the fridge.
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I hope you enjoy making and using this tamarind sauce recipe in a variety of recipes. If you do, please don’t be a stranger! Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.