4 Tamarind Recipes: Fresh Exotic Flavours From Africa 2023

The fruit of the medicinal tamarind tree, which resembles a pod and is tart, is widely utilized in the cooking of a wide variety of cuisines all over the world. Tamarind is a plant that is native to tropical Africa, specifically the Sudan, but it is now cultivated throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, South Asia, South America, and the Caribbean islands.

The tamarind fruit is loaded with numerous essential volatile chemical compounds, minerals, vitamins, and dietary fiber that are beneficial to one’s health. In numerous traditional medicines, the pulp of this plant has been utilized as a laxative, a digestive aid, and a treatment for bile disorders.

Late spring and early summer are the seasons during which fresh tamarind pods can be obtained. On the other hand, consumers can choose from a wide variety of processed forms of tamarind, including compressed tamarind blocks, ready-to-use slice, paste, concentrates, balls, and many more. These forms of tamarind are all sold in stores.

You can keep the pulp or pods in the refrigerator, where they will maintain their quality for several months. To prepare tamarind, first soften it by placing two cubes of tamarind paste measuring one inch on each side in a cup of boiling water, and then strain the paste and water through a sieve. A tangy flavor can be achieved by including the tamarind concentrate that was produced in dishes such as stir fries, soups, or stews.

The websites www.wikipedia.org and www.nutrition-and-you.com were used as sources.

Image by Panoramafotos.net, which can be used with permission and is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 1.0 Generic.

Tamarind-Spiced Chickpeas and Spinach

olive oil flavored cooking spray
1 medium yellow onion , finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 pinch cayenne
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon agave syrup
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
red pepper flakes , to taste
2 (15 ounce) cans chickpeas , drained
1 (6 ounce) package pre-washed baby spinach (about 6 cups)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
pepper , to taste

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 17 mins
Total Time: 27 mins

1. Heat oil spray in large non-stick skillet over medium heat.
2. Add onion and sauté until softened and golden brown, about 7 minutes. Add small amounts of water as needed to keep onions from burning.
3. Add cumin, coriander and cayenne to skillet and stir to coat onion with spices.
4. Cook for one minute then add diced tomatoes, with their juice, water, agave syrup, red pepper flakes and tamarind concentrate. Stir to mix well.
5. Add chickpeas and bring mixture to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and simmer over medium-low heat, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
6. Stir in spinach until wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Servings: 4

Grilled Halibut With Tamarind Stir-Fried Vegetables

1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 halibut fillets

50 ml soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves , crushed

1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves , crushed
2 red chilies , chopped finely
1 red pepper , sliced thinly
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon instant chicken bouillon granules
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons agave syrup
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
500 g baby bok choy , chopped coarsely
200 g bean sprouts
4 green onions , sliced thinly
1/2 cup loosely packed coriander leaves

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 30 mins

Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl, place fillets in marinade, ensuring they are completely covered,refrigerate 2 hours.

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a wok or pan, add garlic, ginger and chili stir-fry until fragrant, Add capsicum, stir-fry until capsicum is tender.
2. Add water, stock, sauces, agave syrup and tamarind, bring to the boil, boil 1 minute, add bok choy, bean sprouts and onion, stir-fry until greens just wilt, remove from heat and stir in coriander.

1. Remove fish from marinade and discard marinade.
2. Cook fish on a heated oiled grill plate or grill or BBQ, about 4 Min’s a side or until cooked as desired. Cooking times will vary depending on thickness of fillets.

To serve: Spoon vegetables onto a plate, top with fish and garnish with extra coriander if desired.

Servings: 2


1 cup yellow split peas (tuvar dal)
2 cups water
1/2 cup tamarind pulp
1/2 cup water
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 tomato, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon yellow lentils (chana dal)
1 tablespoon unsweetened flaked coconut
2 dried red chile peppers

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida powder

Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 45 mins

1. Place yellow split peas in a saucepan with 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until soft, about 15 minutes. In another saucepan, mix together the tamarind pulp stir in 1/2 cup water to make a watery juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper and tomato to the tamarind juice, and continue to boil until the vegetables are soft, and the liquid has reduced to almost half.
2. Meanwhile, grind the coriander seeds, yellow lentils, coconut and chilies to a paste using a mortar and pestle or food processor. Add this paste to the tamarind sauce, then stir in the yellow lentils until everything is well blended. Bring to a boil once again, then remove from the heat and set aside.
3. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat, and add the mustard seed, cumin seed, and asafoetida powder. Once the mustard seeds start to sputter and the mixture is fragrant, remove from heat and stir into sambar. Serve hot.

Servings: 4

Pork Roast With Port, Star Anise, Ginger and Tamarind

1 1/2 kg boneless pork loin roast
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 onion , sliced
6 cloves garlic , whole,unpeeled
2 cm ginger , peeled and finely grated
1 sprig rosemary
1 whole star anise
1/3 cup port wine
1/4 cup dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
2 tablespoons agave syrup

Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 3 hrs
Total Time: 3 hrs 30 mins

1. Preheat oven to 140 C (280 F).
2. Brown pork all over in oil in casserole dish.
3. Transfer pork to plate.
4. Fry onion slowly in same pan.
5. Pour off excess oil, leaving onion behind.
6. Return pork to dish.
7. Add remaining ingredients and season with pepper.
8. Bring to boil, cover and transfer to oven.
9. Cook for around 3 hours turning occasionally until meat is very tender, and cooked through.
10. Set pork aside.
11. Skim as much fat as you can from juices, strain.
12. Slice the pork thickly and drizzle with a little of the cooking juices.

Servings: 6

Chickpea and Tamarind Dip (Hummus Bi Tamar Hindi)

2 cups canned chick-peas , rinsed (or cook your own)
3 tablespoons tahini (I do feel quality of tahini can make or break)
2 tablespoons tamarind paste (or to taste, no seeds!)
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger (or to taste)
sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
fresh lemon juice , to taste (optional, I use this)
minced garlic , to taste (optional, I recommend only a small amount to let the tamarind shine)
1 tablespoon cilantro leaves (fresh coriander) or 1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (I recommend unrefined, has a better flavour and is much healthier)
water (if needed)

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 0 mins
Total Time: 10 mins

1. Place all ingredients, except coriander or parsley and olive oil, in a food processor and process into a somewhat thick paste, adding a little water as necessary.
2. Taste and adjust flavours to taste.
3. Place on a serving platter and sprinkle with fresh coriander or chopped parsley and extra virgin olive oil just before serving.

Servings: 4

Tamarind Chili Chicken

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
8 -10 medium green chilies , de-seeded and diced
1 onion , finely diced
5 tomatoes, chopped or 1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons tamarind pulp
1 tablespoon coriander seed , dry-roasted and coarsely ground
2 skinless chicken breasts , chopped into pieces

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 30 mins

1. Heat the oil in a wide saucepan and, when hot, add the mustard seeds.
2. Once the seeds start popping, remove the pan from the heat.
3. When the popping stops, return to the heat, reduce the heat and stir in the chilis and onion.
4. Fry for 8-10 minutes until the onions are soft.
5. Add the tomatoes and 1 cup water (if using canned tomatoes, drain juice into measuring cup and add additional water to equal 1 cup) and stir.
6. Stir in the tamarind and coriander seeds and season.
7. Add the chicken, mix well and cook over a medium heat for 8 minutes until cooked through.

Servings: 2

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