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.
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!
- 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.