The best part about living in the South (US) is that I can grill/barbeque almost all year round. Grilled food is very easy to prepare & always healthy to eat. It’s delicious & clean up is usually a snap! What could be better? Well maybe sitting poolside in December sipping a mango margarita – which is very doable here as well ☺.
I just love the tangy sweet & sour taste of tamarind. The tamarind tree is native to India & it produces a large brown fruit or pod that contains the tamarind pulp. The use of tamarind (pulp) is very common in Indian food, especially in South Indian cuisine. It imparts a unique sweet, sour and tangy flavor that is absolutely delicious. Tamarind pulp has many health benefits and aids in digestion. It is high in both vitamins B and C and also calcium. Tamarind pulp is easily available in any Indian grocery store in many forms such as tamarind powder, tamarind concentrate and even dried tamarind pulp. If you are unable to find tamarind pulp, you can use fresh lemon juice as a substitute.
So I thought, what better than to combine my love for grilled healthy food with the unique taste of tamarind? Thus, my delicious & versatile Tamarind BBQ Sauce was born! Best of all, it goes well with just about anything from grilled chicken to grilled pineapple – try it on kebabs & satays! Just be creative & start grilling ☺
TAMARIND BBQ SAUCE
2-3 shallots, diced
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
1” piece of ginger, peeled & chopped
pinch of smoked Spanish paprika
1 tsp ground coriander powder
½ tsp ground cumin powder
½ red chili powder, to taste
pinch of ground allspice
salt & pepper, to taste
½ tbsp brown sugar, to taste
3-4 dried red chilies, soaked in a little hot water for 30 minutes
½ cup tamarind concentrate or tamarind paste
¼ cup honey (I used orange blossom honey)
2 tbsp sambal olek or chili paste, to taste
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp oil (vegetable or canola)
In a sauce pan on medium high heat, add the oil. When hot, sauté the shallots along with the garlic & ginger. Let cook until the shallots have become translucent & softened. Then add in the spices (paprika, ground coriander powder, ground cumin powder, red chili powder, ground allspice, salt & pepper). Let the spices fry for a minute or so and then start adding in the other ingredients: brown sugar, dried red chilies along with their soaking liquid, tamarind, honey, sambal olek & soy sauce. Mix well and add about 1 cup or so of water (you could also add your favorite juice such as mango, orange or a mixed fruit juice). Bring to a gentle boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer & cook until thickened and reduced. Let cool slightly, adjust any seasonings & blend into a smooth thick paste. Store in an airtight container or jar for up to 1 week or so in your refrigerator.
You can use this sauce for any grilled/baked food, just liberally baste the food in the last 10-15 minutes of cooking. You can also use the sauce as a dipping sauce or as a spread on wraps/sandwiches.
You can adjust this basic recipe to suit your own personal taste, if you like it spicy vs. if you prefer a sweeter or more sour taste. Feel free to add some fresh fruit during the cooking process such as pineapple, peach, mango or raspberries.
Try adding a pinch of your favorite masala such as kala/goda masala or chaat masala.