tamarind, mint and cilantro salsa

by Heguiberto on June 21, 2010

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Tamarind bars are sold at Asian markets in 5x3x1½ inch thick bricks. They’re called Me chua Không Hôt in Vietnamese. Tamarind has a gorgeous sweet and sour flavor. Here’s something fun about tamarind: the fruit was brought to Persia and then the Arab world with the spice trade from the Far East. At that time they thought that the fruit looked like dates because of the color and texture of the pulp are similar. Therefore the name ‘tamar hindi,’ or Indian date was born! Despite the name, it’s originally from tropical Africa, once it made its way to India, the name was fixed.

tamarind, mint and cilantro salsa for samosas

tamarind, mint and cilantro salsa

1/2 cup tamarind purée
2 large ripe roma tomatoes
½ medium newly harvested sweet onion (Vidalia)
2 cup cilantro (about 2 bunches)
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
1 serrano or jalapeño pepper, seeds and ribs partially removed, minced
kosher salt
1 tsp sugar
Juice of 2 limes

Cut a one inch piece off of the tamarind bar. Place in a microwave safe glass jar, cover with a 3/4 cup of water and nuke it for about 2 minutes. Let it cool to room temperature. Squeeze seeds with your fingers until all pulp dissolves and liquid becomes a thick purée. Add a bit more water if too thick. Strain and discard solids.

Place ½ cup tamarind purée into food processor followed by the rest of the ingredients. Pulse until smooth. Adjust flavors. Let rest for 10 minutes and serve. It can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days but it is best in the first day.

Freeze any left over tamarind purée for other use

Serve this with vegan ajawain samosas.

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