Today's Spice is: Tamarind!
I brought home this beautiful organic tamarind from India, and it's so wonderful. I am in love with it and I am going to marry it. Before buying this bag, I had only ever used tamarind paste from a jar - but the flavor I got from using fresh tamarind has made me an eternal convert. It's really easy: the recipe might call for a "lemon-sized" ball of tamarind. First you soak it in some warm water, and then pour off the water and press the pulp through a sieve - to keep out the fibrous material and seeds. Mmm, tamarind is amazing! Sweet and sour and earthy and tangy all at once.
islands in the stream, that is what we are
With my magical tamarind goo, I made Sweet-and-Sour Tempeh with Peanuts, from World Vegetarian. Oh My Freaking Freakster! This was so good. I skipped deep frying the tempeh bits and instead just dry-fried them. Then they are cooked in a puree of shallots, ginger, garlic, curry leaves, hot peppers, and of course tamarind. The end result is extremely rich, dense with exciting flavors, and crazy delicious. Alongside a batch of Cabbage with Garlic & Shallots (also from World Vegetarian), and a big batch of rice, this was truly an exceptional dinner. One for the history books!
Grapes for dessert, which was perfect.