Friday, June 08, 2007
Tamarind and Allspice Meatballs
Tamarind (or Tamarindo, or Temerhendy, or Ourt, or Oooh) is one of these funny ingredients that crosses ethnicities in New York City- the bodegas, the halal shops, and the kosher markets alike carry it in some form. And for delicious reason- the fuzzy brown pods of the tamarind tree conceal a delicious paste-like fruit that when peeled, seeded, and boiled down creates an instantly sweet-and-sour complexity.
Tamarind has many fruity and earthy notes beyond just sweet and sour; it is essential to many Syrian Jewish dishes and, when combined with chili and salt, makes an unusual candy I have seen in multiple Spanish-speaking communities in New York and Los Angeles. Its combination of sweet, sour, hot, and salty is well worth seeking out.
As a riff on typical sweet and sour meatballs (which one of my former roommates used to make with cranberry sauce and grape jelly) I am making a Syrian-inspired meatball recipe with a tamarind/allspice sauce. I defrosted a pound of ground turkey and added 3 eggs, a few handfuls of oatmeal, parsley, pepper, ground cinnamon, and ground allspice.
In my large saucier, I combined a 16oz can of tomato sauce with a few healthy globs of tamarind paste and about 2 cups of water and started it boiling. The sauce needed more balance so I added the juice of a small lime and some splenda (peccavimus!) and a few allspice berries and a splash of red wine. I formed the meat into largish balls and placed them in the simmering sauce. I will probably add more tamarind paste later when I reheat them.
This post is for Weekend Herb Blogging. Check out the rest at Kuchenlatein!