Monday, February 21, 2011

Tamarind beet salad

Tamarind beet salad with blood orange
                                                             Yield: 2 servings

Tamarind beet salad is slow food. The sweet-sour character of tamarind, together with the added spices, renders this dish a prime accompaniment for roast beef, moose, venison or bison, or for game birds.

Tamarind beets

Tamarind puree is made in the old-fashioned way, requiring slow and careful stirring of the mixture by hand. When the puree is cooked, it is stored to cool. Cooked beets are then sliced and the puree is added to the beets, along with a sliced and segmented blood orange.

Tamarind puree
                                               Yield: approximately ½ cup puree

Soft dried tamarind

¼ cup soft, dried tamarind (approximately), without seeds
7 - 12 tablespoons hot water
½ teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon whole fennel seeds
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
pinch of garam masala


1. In a heat-proof bowl or small cooking pot, place tamarind and 3 tablespoons of hot water. Squish, stir and generally do what you must to loosen and soften the tamarind, liquifying it into a puree. Add hot water, 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture becomes a liquid puree rather than a paste. It may take 20 minutes to reach the puree stage, depending upon how soft the block of tamarind was initially.

Even although there are not supposed to be seeds in the tamarind block, often there are. Remove seeds and discard them.

2. In a small cooking pot, place the tamarind puree over medium heat until steam rises, then reduce heat to simmer.

3. Add the remaining ingredients. Stir gently and continually for 5 - 20 minutes, allowing the spice flavours to be released and to mingle.

Tamarind puree

4.  Decant into a tightly-lidded container and store in refrigerator to cool.

Tamarind beet salad

Chopped beets, blood orange and fresh mint

4 small beets, cooked according to your preferred method, peeled, sliced and chilled
1 blood orange, peeled, sliced and segmented
3 tablespoons prepared tamarind puree
fresh mint

Blood oranges
Place  all ingredients in a bowl and fold them together. Spoon into serving dishes and garnish with mint.


Barry said...

An interesting recipe and outstanding photos.

June said...

Barry, this dish is a good alternative to pickled beets. The sweet/sour character of tamarind makes a pleasant change. It takes a bit of stirring to make the puree. Really is slow food in the best sense.