The thought of the word tamarind and the sourness brings water to the mouth. Tamarind carries back memories of childhood days. There was a girl in our class who used to bring the tamarind pods to the class. She used to hide and keep them in her bag and how our group waited for the bell to ring for the short break. We – the small kids -- would run out with the tamarind pods and then break open the pods with the help of a stone – hit hit hit and the pod breaks, the sour fruit comes out and then in they go into the mouth. Why was it that the sourness was not felt then but now -- simply can’t do this act again? Age has done its job and the tamarind has got its place in the kitchen to be used for so many dishes.
I also remember how we collected the tamarind seeds and played 'counting-counting' with it. The seeds were discarded and the fleshy part made into achaar/pickle that was kept in a safe place from the children so that it would last at least a year. But now who takes pain in making such tasty achaar at home? Not even me. The thought of it brings nightmares.
Making tamarind chutney at home is a simple affair. The seedless ones and those with seeds are available in the market, use any of them.
To make the chutney:
Tamarind: 100 gms
Sugar or Gur (Jaggery): adjust as per your taste -- more if you like it a bit sweet & less sour
Salt: to taste
Cooking oil: ½ tsp.
2-3 dried red chillies broken into half
½ tsp. red chilli powder
Haldi powder: a pinch
Soak about half a cup of tamarind (with or without seeds) in 1 ½ cups of water for about 20-25 minutes.
Next squash the tamarind in the soaked water and take out the juice. Squeeze the solid portion and separate it from the tamarind juice.
Keep this liquid and start cooking.
Place a kadhai/wok on the gas stove.
To this add ½ a tsp. of cooking oil.
Once the oil is hot throw in the red chillies.
As the chillies start giving out the strong smell add the tamarind juice. Let the liquid start boiling. To this add salt, haldi powder and the gur or sugar and cook till you find the chutney thickening. Lastly add the chilli powder, this gives the chutney Hot, Sweet and Sour taste.
The chutney should not be too thick nor too thin (not running). Before switching off the gas taste it to find if the sweetness is properly balanced.
Can store it in the fridge for many days and relish when you want.
© gouriguha 2013