Tamarind chicken

When I was younger I used to eat ukwaju (tamarind) like candy. There was a time when I asked for it more than I asked for chocolate, don’t know what changed. I came to forget about it completely! Until one day earlier this year, I found some at the Ngara food market while doing my usual weekly shopping.

I couldn’t resist. The rush of nostalgia in my taste buds was so intense — I must have been addicted to this stuff. So I got some, had a couple of pieces when I got home and stored the rest in the fridge for later. Then I got busy and forgot about it.

the tamarind fruit

One day while scouring the Internet as I usually do, I found a recipe for Worcestershire Sause! It’s here if you’d like to see. The main ingredient in tamarind, how awesome is that? I remembered that I had some in the fridge and made a note to make use of it soon but it slipped my mind again. Last night I put my foot down, I was determined to use it! Wasn’t ready to make the Worcestershire sauce but I figured I could use it in a stew.

I looked over some of the ingredients listed on the site and made up a recipe for the chicken.   

pan fry the chicken in a bit of oil till cooked, set aside

1/2 cup tamarind juice
1 onion chopped
5 grated garlic cloves
grated ginger (about 2/3 of garlic)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon paprika

First, take a few pods of the tamarind and remove them whole from the pods. Place in a pot with some water and bring to a boil.

the tamarind boiling in water, I let it boil for about 30 minutes, don’t let the water reduce too much. Then I put it through a sieve and set aside.

I wasn’t sure how they make tamarind paste and I didn’t have time to look it up. This was a quick fix, I would let the water reduce and use it to flavour the chicken.

in the same pot, start with a bit of oil and the grated ginger and garlic
after a minute add the chicken and onions
after two minutes add the tamarind juice
then add the sugar, honey and paprika, stir
bring to a boil and allow to simmer till it reduces to a thick-ish sauce. Taste for salt and add as needed.

Next is the rice. It was the first thing I put on the stove when I started dinner so it was already cooked. But I thought it needed something so… I chopped four potatoes into small pieces, and then…

started with one chopped onion in the pan with some oil
when the onions soften add the potatoes, and sprinkle with salt. Let them fry for about two minutes, stirring often, then add 1/2 a cup of water, reduce heat and cover. The point of this was to give the potatoes time to cook. By the time the water evaporated the potatoes were cooked all the way through.
add some of the cooked rice, mix and serve!


Husband Rating: ★★★★★★★★★☆
the flavours are intense! 


‘Intense’ is the right word! Wow!

If I had known this is what tamarind would do to my food I would have done this a long time ago. It’s a perfect sweet and sour balance. Next time I might use 1/3 cup of tamarind juice instead of a 1/2 cup just to scale back the intensity.

Oh! And add pineapple chunks! (^_^)

Have you ever cooked anything with tamarind?

About aika

Making, eating and sharing good food are a splendid way to start, brake and end a day! I post good eats on www.pendolamama.co.ke. Life is a feast, eat up!

3 thoughts on “Tamarind chicken

  1. Nope, I’ve never cooked with tamarind, I just thought it was only good as fruit or for juice. I’ll definitely try this. Once I get the tamarinds of course.


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