Sometimes you come across an ingredient that inspires you to get into the kitchen and make something delicious. A new (to you) ingredient means that the end result may be unlike anything you ever cooked before. For me, that’s the kind of motivation I need lately and it comes in the form of tamarind paste.
Gosh knows the inspiration came just in time. I’ve been traveling. It was a big trip and the details (and the doing) have taken a lot of my attention this summer. Add that to the caregiving responsibilities that seem to grow in scope every single day.
All this means that the cooking aspect of my poor little blog has been neglected. I’ve even considered putting it out
Then tamarind paste came along, and I couldn’t wait to get in the kitchen and create an original recipe. Just like I used to do when I first started this blog (more than 10 years ago).
It’s not that I’m unfamiliar with tamarind. I come across its particular sour notes quite often in many of the Asian and Latin restaurants I frequent. A sweet and sour tamarindo soft drink sits next to almost every taco my partner Ken orders.
I’ve even bought fresh tamarind in the market. It comes in sticky pods (like a giant vanilla bean) and the flesh is scraped out and the large seeds are discarded before you can use it. It’s a fun chore once in a while, but mostly it’s far too tedious for day-to-day cooking adventures.
One the other hand, tamarind paste comes in a jar. It contains nothing but tamarind. No preservatives, no additives, no added sugar. How have I not known this all these years?
Tamarind paste can be found in a lot big supermarkets these days and keeps forever in the fridge. It’s a great investment in flavor, bringing its own fruity sweet-sour tang to anything from chutneys to curries to the glaze in this roast pork tenderloin.
Oh yeah, it’s also magical when mixed in with the sauteed red onions that accompany this dish. They’re so easy to make that it may change your allegiance to traditional fruit chutney for good. GREG