Special Tamarind Sauce

Servings : Makes approximately 10 cups

This fiery flavourful sauce is easily one of my favourites, and is very common around the coast of Kenya. A version of it is usually served with many of the locally found evening savoury snacks and street foods like pack potatoes or bhajias. It is also especially delicious served with bbq meats like mishkaki or alongside kebabs.


  • 250 gm raw tamarind
  • 2 raw mangoes (preferably the green ones that are just beginning to turn yellow on the inside)
  • 10-20 whole red chillies (adjust as per heat preference)
  • 8-10 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • salt to taste
  • water, as needed
  • 1/4 tsp orange food colouring (optional)


Rinse and then tear open the tamarind strands and put them in a heatproof bowl. Boil 1 litre of water and then pour it over the tamarind, cover and set aside to soak for a few hours or until no longer hot.

Using clean hands, rub the soaked tamarind to losen up the pulp from the seeds and stringy bits. Strain and check if the seeds still have a lot of pulp on them, in which case you can resoak them and strain again. Once done, discard all the seeds and strings.

Peel and cut up the mangoes and put them in a blender jug. Add the garlic cloves, salt, sugar, food colouring and red chillies. Add a little of the strained tamarind sauce and blend until all the solid bits of mango/chilli/garlic are crushed to a paste.

Pour the blended mixture back into the rest of the tamarind sauce and stir to combine. Give it a taste and adjust salt/heat/sugar if needed. If it is too thick you may add in some water to dilute it slightly. Pour into a bottle and refrigerate. Serve alongside pack potatoes, mishkaki, bhajias, muhogo etc.


Leave a Reply