This is a dip that combines several flavours. Sourness from tamarind, sweetness from dates or sugar, and spice from hot chillies. It works beautifully drizzled over 'snacky' foods like bhajias, pack potatoes, viazi, batata vada etc.
- 250 gm tamarind (seeds with pulp)
- 10-20 dates (de-seeded) (or about half a cup of sugar)
- red chilli powder or flakes (to your taste)
- 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
Soak tamarind and dates separately in bowls of warm water until they soften (3-4 hours). Squeeze out and discard any seeds/strings from the tamarind and strain the pulp into a pan. Mash up the seedless dates (or blend the softened pulp with the water it was soaked in) and put it into the same pan as the tamarind. (If you are using sugar in place of the dates, add it in at this point). Add salt and chilli powder/chilli flakes (or grind whole red chillies with a bit of water and add it in. Boil until the sauce thickens.
Taste and adjust the flavours. I normally don't need to add sugar because the sweetness of the dates is enough to sweeten this sauce, but you can omit the dates and use sugar or gur to your taste. Dates are of course a healthier option. 🙂