I would like to talk about the holy trinity. No, I don’t mean leeks, carrots and celery. The holy trinity I’m talking about is tamarind, chile, and ginger. In fact, I think there is no more blessed union, or, if you prefer, no hotter ménage á trois. The marinade (really, a wet rub) I made using these ingredients as a base literally cannot be improved upon. It is rich, complicated, savory, tangy, and spicy. In short, it is freaking AWESOME. Use it for any kind of meat. I put this on steaks last night that I then seared rare, but I suspect it would be fantastic on pork. Or lamb. Or chicken. Or duck. You get the idea. You could probably even elevate tofu to a whole new plain. Here’s the recipe.
A one and a half inch (three cm) knob of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
A thai chile, stemmed, seeds removed, and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
½ teaspoon brown Indian mustard seeds
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate
Toast the coriander seeds and brown mustard seeds until the mustard starts to pop and the coriander begins to brown and release an aroma, then remove from heat. In a mortar and pestle, pound the ginger and chile pepper into a paste. Add the toasted coriander and brown mustard seeds and the salt and continue to pound/mash until fully incorporated. Stir in the tamarind concentrate.
Rub all over your meat of choice, and allow to marinate for at least two and up to six hours. Grill, pan sear, or broil. Achieve nirvana.
Makes enough for about 4 servings of meat; you can multiply proportions as needed.
Sounds crazy nice – I adore a good and powerful marinade.
It was awesome. Thanks for the comment!
Where do I find tamarind concentrate? Is it all over and I just never noticed or do you have to go somewhere special? Fairway, maybe!
Gosh, I don’t know! Here there’s such a huge Asian and Afro-Caribbean population that I found it at the supermarket. But I bet Fairway would have it.
You could also find Tamarind Paste in a brick at an Eastern Food Store.
YUMMY! My mouth is watering just thinking about the lovely combination of tamarind and coriander seed…. mmmmmmmm 🙂
The whole is definitely more than the sum of its parts.
These are just the kind of flavours I love cooking with – can imagine this marinade is absolutely delicious.
Yup! I will have to make this!
Let me know what you think of it if you do!
Susan – this looks like a really fun flavor combination; I can’t wait to try it!
Here’s my question: is there an equivalence on the back of your tamarind concentrate bottle? I’ve got access to tamarind paste here in the States – and I actually still have some tamarind pods in my pantry. I don’t think there’s bottles of concentrate for sale around here, however – unless you count the Mexican tamarindo-soft-drink concentrate, which is way too sweet for this.
If the back of the bottle holds no clues as to how strong the concentrate is, I’ll just footle around with the recipe until I can come up with a tamarind-paste equivalent.
Your blog is fabulous! I especially liked your rhapsody on eggplants in the aubergine-garbanzo-tomato entry – it made me smile.
Hey David — Thanks so much. I love your blog too — you’re a great writer. I’m stateside now and this question is niggling at me … so I’m going to try the marinade again with tamarind paste to get the proportions right. Look for an update to the recipe soon. Definitely don’t use tamarindo! (Although, come to think of it, I’m sure pork marinated in tamarindo, ginger, and chile would be delicious.)