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!

5 comments:

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.

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Frederick Milton said...

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