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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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?