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!


ostwestwind said...

Thanks for your entry, that sounds great!

David said...

My best cross-cultural experience with Tamarind was stopping in a bodega in Corona, Queens with Mike and finding Tamarind paste-certified kosher by the Va'ad HaKashrut of Mexico City!

Kalyn said...

I'm simply mad about tamarind, but I've cooked with it very little. My first experience with it was a soup called Sour Tamarind Shrimp Broth on a Vietnamese menu. From the first taste, I knew I had to have more of this unusual, complex flavor. I love the idea of using it in a sauce for meatballs; great recipe.

mr.sound and mrs.sound said...

I see that you’re interested and fascinated in food stuffs. You see, we have this food site that is a food and cooking encyclopaedia that everyone and anyone can edit. Maybe you are interested in sharing some of recipes to us or share your knowledge about food stuffs and techniques. Not only that you help us and other people in tasting new recipes but your submitted recipes will be raffled. You will have a chance to win $100 gift card to Sur La Table by just sharing your recipes to all. One entry per recipe, the more you submit recipes the better your chances. Click HERE for more info about the drawing. Or maybe you can try our link back system at Foodista an easy way to get link backs between two food related sites, if you’re not into sharing your recipes or knowledge. Enjoy and see you there!

Frederick Milton said...

In my case I don't like candies that have sour and sweet flavor on it. I associate candies with a sweet flavor and if it is sweet, It has to be sweet and if it is sour, it has to be sour. You can try this flavor Generic Viagra .