When I think of raw tamarind, I get transported to my childhoods days, spent in eating those right off the tree! When I was about 8 years old, we lived in a smaller town. The house was surrounded by acres of empty place and there was a big compound enclosing it all. We had many trees like Tamarind, Mangoes and lots of other ones. During summer, when the tamarind tree is full with its yield, my friends used to climb the tree and shake it down. I used to be one standing below, eagerly waiting to pick the first one. And once we had our load, we all used to gather around and enjoy these tangy ones. Wow, that crispy raw Tamarind, it looks that light shade of green, when you bite it, its juice gushes out. That taste is something, that will forever linger on your taste buds! The seeds are then dried for a while and then thrown on coal and till now I have not tasted anything that good!
Tamarind is something we use in everyday dishes. And the specialty dishes like Pulihora, Fish Curry I have already posted. Of course, there is the Puli Kolambu that Amma's signature dish, that I am yet to make. Somehow, hubby dear doesn't prefer tangy dishes, so its not often I cook with only tamarind. I asked Amma and said, though I know I am yet to post the Puli Kolam, I wanted something entirely new! Immediately she said, she knows of this chutney that her father loved. My grandfather, during one of his posting in a remote village, had to stay there without the family. Now my grandfather was a serious person, and most people who come in contact with him, are always scared and very hesitant to even utter a word. So imagine he had to stay away from family and his food was to be taken care of by others. It so happened that his clerk used to make this Tamarind Chutney and for the entire period he stay away, he generally eat this and lived. On his return, he asked ammama to make this for him. So finally I got to taste what got my grandfather hooked!
One mouthful of this and you have different flavours hitting your senses. I mean it literally! We made it in the morning and had it along with steaming rice and ghee. I don't think you need a separate passport to take you to heaven. This is enough! Hubby dear, who normally never much vocal on tangy things, said I should've made this while he was at home. That should convey how tasty this was.
Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time : 10 mins
Cuisine : Andhra
Serves - makes a regular cup
Shelf life - 3-4 days in room temperature
Tamarind - medium lemon size soaked.
Sambar Onions - 50 gms
Coriander Seeds / Dhaniya - 2 tsp
Cumin seeds / Jelakara - 1 tsp
Dry Red Chillie - 5 nos
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp
Wash and soak tamarind in water for 10 mins. Meanwhile dry roast the cumin seeds, coriander seeds and chillies. Allow it to cool.
Peel and chop the onions to quarter size pieces. In a dry mixer jar, take the tamarind, the spices, chillies, about 4 onions pieces. Grind to a smooth paste using the tamarind soaked water.
Heat the oil in a pan, and temper with seasonings. Then sauté the chopped onions till they are brown! Add turmeric and simmer for 2 mins.
Then add the ground paste and cook till the oil comes out. All it took was only 2 tsp of oil.
It takes about 10 mins to get cooked.
Store in a dry container for 3-4 days. Serve it with hot piping rice with a dollop of ghee.
I sent it as a side for rice and kootu, it was a different experience all together. This is a recipe for keeper for sure!
Sending this to Sig who is hosting the JFI themed on Tamarind. JFI is an event started by Indira of Mahanandi.