Tamarind sauce is definitely different from the traditional vegan sauces. Try this tamarind chutney at home, and it will be loved by vegans and non-vegans alike.

tamarind pods on a wooden background

What is tamarind sauce?

Tamarind Sauce, also known as Tamarind Chutney, is a delicious condiment that does perfectly well with several types of snacks. It is a perfect side, and you can use it as a dip or sauce with your favorite dish. Tamarind sauce has its origins in several cuisines. Read More About Tamarind Here.

You can get a good recipe from Trinidad that is a bit sweet and tangy. In contrast, the Indian version has a bit of heat to it. You can get a honey and tamarind sauce from Korea as well. No matter what cuisines you follow, you will always find a variation of tamarind sauce. Today, we are going to talk about the Trinidad Tamarind Sauce.

Being vegan has some of its shortcomings as well. For instance, you can’t enjoy different types of foods, sauces, or dips because some have non-vegan ingredients. However, you can make vegan versions as well, but not every dip comes vegan authentically.

Thanks to Trinidad cuisine, the tamarind sauce is made from natural vegan ingredients. It is a very delicious sauce. It has the sourness from the tamarind and sweetness from the sugar to balance out the tanginess. You also get freshness from Chadon Beni that gives the flavors a unique dimension. Find Sour Tamarind and Sweet Tamarind Here.

tamarind tree

How is tamarind sauce used?

There are several ways to use tamarind chutney. You can use it as a dip with your snacks or as a sauce with your main course. Here are a few ways to use it:

The thing about this sauce is that you can use it with pretty much everything. If you love its flavors, you can try it out with different things and experiment. I love it with my tofu steak. It gives it the burst of freshness and flavors that are very interesting. And sometimes, when I crave something tangy, I drizzle it on my salad. It has a very interesting taste, and it lifts everything.

how to break tamarind

How can you break the tamarind?

Tamarind is a fruit pod that is enclosed in a hard shell. As you break the shell, you will find seeds. Getting rid of the seeds to get the pulp is a bit of work. However, it is not impossible. And with the right technique, you can get rid of the seeds easily.

The best way to get rid of the seeds is o place the pods in a bowl. Add a bit of baking soda and pour hot water on it. With the help of a wooden spoon, break the flesh from the seeds. You have to let the pods stay in hot water for about 30 minutes. As the flesh gets soft, it will start to loosen up the seeds. This way, you can easily get rid of the seeds.

Adding baking soda to tamarind water to loosen it from the seed

As the 30 minutes pass, place a sieve on a large bowl and pass it over the sieve. As the water passes through the sieve and is collected in the bowl, you are left with the pulp and seeds. Now you can easily sort the seeds out from the pulp. Mix the remaining pulp with water.

If you don’t find the whole tamarind breaking process interesting, you can find de-seeded tamarind pulp in the grocery stores as well. You will probably find it easily at an Asian grocery store.

Another easy way to break the tamarind is by adding it by removing the shell and adding it into the saucepan. Add water and place the saucepan on high heat. Bring the mixture to a quick boil. As you boil it, the pulp will loosen, and it will be easy to get rid of the seeds.

Cooking tamarind sauce in a pot

How to make tamarind sauce?

Making tamarind sauce is very easy. You just have to follow the following simple steps:

Step 1: Place tamarind pods on a large bowl. Add baking soda and pour hot water over it. Let it stay for 30 minutes. With the help of a wooden spoon, break the pod, flesh, and seeds apart and get rid of the seeds.

Step 2: pour the pulp into a saucepan and place it on medium heat. Add minced garlic, salt, cumin powder, and sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil and let it simmer for some time.

Step 3: you can keep on boiling the sauce until you get the desired consistency. Just before turning the heat off, add Chiffonade cilantro or chadon beni.

Step 4: mix well and set the sauce aside until it cools down. Now the sauce is ready to be served.

Customizing tamarind sauce

Although this Trinidad tamarind sauce tastes delicious and additive just as it is, you can try different ingredients to spice it up a little. Here are a few ideas to customize your tamarind sauce:

  • If you want to get some heat going on in the sauce, spice it up by adding scotch bonnet pepper. This Caribbean spice is quite spicy and will give your sauce the heat it needs. You can adjust the quantity of the pepper according to your taste.
  • You can add freshness to the sauce by adding lemon juice. The lemony flavor will complement the sweet and sour flavor of the tamarind perfectly well.
  • If you want the sauce to be on a bit on the sweeter side, add a few de-seeded dates. It will not just add natural sweetness to the sauce but will also adjust the texture. Dates help in thickening up the sauce.

Storing tamarind sauce

Tamarind sauce is pretty easy to store. You can place it in an airtight container, and it stores it in the refrigerator. It is good to go for about a week. However, make sure you don’t scop the sauce out using a wet spoon. This way, it won’t get worse and will probably last more than a week.

If you plan on freeze the sauce, you can do so as well. And as you plan on using it, you can thaw it and reheat it to get rid of water. However, I have noticed that once you reheat the frozen sauce, it loses some of its flavors. But other than that, you can freeze it for up to 2-3 months.

Tips and tricks for perfect tamarind sauce

Here are a few tips and tricks that will give you perfect results:

  • If you worry that you can’t get rid of all seeds, simply pass the mixture through a sieve. This way, you can easily pick up the seeds and don’t discard the pulp. Pour it back into the saucepan. Remember that all the goodness lies in the pulp.
  • The sauce thickens up after it is cooled down. So, adjust the consistency according to your choice. If you like runny sauce, you can add more water. And if you want a thicker sauce, you can continue to cook it for a more extended period.
  • Once you place the sauce in an airtight container, make sure you don’t use a wet spoon to scoop it out. Instead, use a dry spoon every time. It will increase its shelf life.

tamarind sauce with tamarind pods surrounding white bowl with a black and white napkin and a silver spoon on a white background

Other Vegan Homemade Sauces To Prepare

  1. Jamaican Jerk Sauce
  2.  Cheese Sauce
  3.  Tzatziki Sauce
  4. Vegan Barbecue Sauce
  5. Vegan Cranberry Sauce
  6. Healthy Pizza Sauce
  7. Avocado Chimichurri

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Categories

Nutrition

(Per serving)
  • Energy: 42 kcal / 176 kJ
  • Fat: 0.1 g
  • Protein: 0.5 g
  • Carbs: 6.6 g

Cooking Time

  • Preparation: 30 min
  • Cooking: 15 min
  • Ready in: 1 h 15 min
  • For:
  • 8 Servings

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a large glass bowl, add tamarind pods, baking soda and pour hot water on them.
  2. Stir with a wooden spoon so that baking soda is mixed well. Let it sit for about 30 minutes. 
  3. Whisk with the help of a wooden spoon to break the tamarind flesh apart from the seeds.
  4. Remove the seeds.
  5. Pour the tamarind pulp into a saucepan and place it on medium heat.
  6. Bring to a simmer. Add minced garlic, grated onion, ground cumin, sugar, and pink Himalayan salt. 
  7. Let it simmer on low heat for 5 minutes. Add chandon beni and stir. 
  8. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  9. Once cool, serve.
Recipe author's Gravatar image

Chef Marsha

I am Marsha Lee, Chef, Owner and Operator of Eat With Your Eyes LLC, located in Mount Vernon, New York.

My passion for food began at an early age, while still a child in St. Andrew, Jamaica. I began playing with simple breakfast and fried food recipes I would see, until I mastered them, based on my critics.