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Tamarind

Caribbean Flavour

Tamarind: fruit, legume or spice? Growing on trees in long brown pods containing a sticky brown paste, the tamarind is a curious hybrid. 

Sweet yet sour (it gets sweeter as it matures, but more sour when dried) its taste is akin to lemons, apricots and dates combined. Yum! 

Growing across the globe in tropical regions and packing a powerful flavour punch – a little goes a long way – it’s not surprising that tamarind is used in Asian, Indian and Caribbean cuisine, finding its way into everything from curries and chutneys to candies and soups. 

Mix it with water and sugar for a refreshing drink, add it to a marinade and the acid content will tenderise the meat, or roll it into balls for a healthy(-ish) sweet treat. 

And while your taste buds zing, the anti-oxidants will charge through your system zapping free radicals, lowering cholesterol and relieving constipation. 

Need another reason to keep tamarind in your store cupboard? It makes a good metal polish too.


TAMARIND CHUTNEY

Recipe by Chef Kerryann Burnette of Lobster Pot, Grand Cayman

INGREDIENTS

3 teaspoons thick tamarind paste
4 tablespoons brown or white sugar
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, dry roasted until fragrant and turning brown, then ground
1/4-1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
60 ml water

METHOD

Put all the ingredients in a small saucepan, bring to a quick boil, then turn off the heat.
Cool and serve judiciously.
Store in screw-top jars in the fridge. 
It keeps well for weeks.


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