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Tamarind Dipping Sauce

This recipe originally accompanied Vidalia Onion Fritters with Tamarind Dipping Sauce. Tamarind water gives this very nicely balanced tart-yet-sweet dipping sauce its lovely deep orange color and unusual flavor. The sauce is delicious with Vidalia Onion Fritters and other fried foods.

YIELD: Makes about 2 cups


  • 5 ounces tamarind pulp

  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons cold water

  • 1 piece (1 inch) fresh ginger, peeled and grated

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 3 tablespoons sugar, or more to taste

  • 1 tablespoon chili-garlic sauce (sambal oelek)

  • 2 teaspoons Thai fish sauce (nam pla)

  • 1 teaspoon good-quality soy sauce, such as Kikkoman

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch


1. Combine the tamarind and 2 cups of the water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove the pan from the heat and let stand until the tamarind has softened, about 15 minutes. Help it along by breaking up the pulp with a spoon.

2. Strain the tamarind through a sieve, pressing on the pulp to extract as much water as possible. Discard the pump and seeds and return the water to the pan. Add the ginger, garlic, 3 tablespoons sugar, the chili-garlic sauce, fish sauce, and soy sauce and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

3. Whisk the cornstarch with the remaining 2 tablespoons water. When smooth, whisk the mixture into the tamarind sauce, continuing to whisk until the sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool. Before serving, taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more sugar if necessary to balance the tartness of the tamarind. Store tamarind sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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