May 23, 2012

Southeast Asian Tamarind Dipping Sauce

Tamarind spiced dipping sauce for fried spring rolls

No matter how simple the meal in Southeast Asia, there will always be a little something on the side for that extra flavor.  A sweet chili sauce or a spicy sambal for dipping fish or chicken; a tiny dish of black vinegar with strips of fresh ginger for dipping fried wontons; or a Tamarind Dipping Sauce for fried spring rolls.
vietnamese tamarind dipping sauce for fried spring rolls
The sweet & sour, fruity tartness of tamarind works exceptionally well to counterbalance the greasy flavor of any deep fried snacks, like spring rolls.  The piquant spice adding a refreshing bite as you guiltlessly munch away.

Just extract the juice from the tamarind pulps, and mix with a few basic seasonings like garlic, lime, palm sugar, and Thai bird’s eye chili peppers.  You’ll have a dipping sauce for any type of spring roll, whether it’s a veggie one stuffed with turnip and carrot, or a meaty one filled with shrimp or chicken along with mushrooms.

If you have the BBQ out, try this Tamarind Dipping Sauce with grilled seafood or chicken kebabs.
thai tamarind dipping sauce recipe
Southeast Asian Tamarind Dipping Sauce
3 tbsp tamarind pulps
1 tbsp light brown sugar or shaved palm sugar
1 red chili pepper, or 2-3 Thai bird’s eyes chili peppers - sliced thinly
1 tbsp fish sauce or pinch of salt
1 clove garlic – minced (optional)
1/2 tbsp lime juice (or calamansi lime juice for a sweeter taste)

1. Soak tamarind pulps with 1/3 cup of hot water for 15 minutes. Once water is cool enough to touch, loosen the pulps and mash it to a juice. Then pour everything through a strainer to separate out the seeds and fibers.
2. In the bowl with the tamarind juice, stir in the sugar until dissolved. Add the remaining ingredients. Taste and make adjustments to the fish sauce (or salt) and lime juice, if needed. Allow to cool to room temperature before serving with spring rolls.

- This tamarind dipping sauce also pairs well with grilled seafood or chicken, fried wontons, or deep-fried tofu.

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