Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Chincheche Saar - Tamarind Saar/ Soup

I use tamarind as a souring agent in quite a few traditional Maharashtrian and Konkani dishes. However, there are few dishes I know where tamarind is used as the main ingredient. The one I make frequently is the kajur imli chutney (dates & tamarind chutney) which I use in chaats and also as an accompaniment with various snack items like samosas, cutlets, bhajjias etc. Occasionally, I also make this Tamarind Saar/ Soup called 'Chincheche Saar' in marathi which I learnt from my mom. Basically fresh tamarind (preferably use the brown colored whole tamarind and not the canned pulp) is diluted in some water, sweetened with jaggery and seasoned with a flavorful tadka. This sweet, sour and spicy saar served with some moong dal khichdi and crunchy papads or bhajias makes an awesome meal.

Ingredients -
1/2 cup brown tamarind
1 tsp red chilli powder
5-6 tbsp jaggery (May need more if the tamarind used is very sour)
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
3-4 dried red chillies
8- 10 curry leaves
1/4 tsp asafoetida/ hing
2-3 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
salt to taste

Method -
1. Soak the tamarind in some hot water for half hour. Add 4 cups of water to this and mix it well to make tamarind juice.
2. In a vessel, heat some oil and add mustard seeds.
3. When the mustard seeds splutter, add the cumin seeds and asafoetida/ hing.
4. Add curry leaves and dried red chillies and fry for sometime.
5. Now add the tamarind juice, jaggery, salt and red chilli powder and mix well.
6. Let the saar simmer and boil for 8- 10 mins.
7. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

This goes to Think Spice- Tamarind event hosted by PJ for the month of May and started by Sunita.