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South Indian Vegetable Curry

Asked by tavolla. Answered on 23rd September 2012

Full question

Hello! I would love to make Nigella's South Indian Vegetable Curry from Kitchen (p155) but I can't find tamarind paste. How can I replace it in this recipe? Thank you.

Our answer

Tamarind paste is made from the pulp of the fruits from the tamarind tree (sometimes called Indian dates). The tree is most commonly found in India and tropical Africa, though it is now cultivated in many parts of the world. The young fruits are sour and acidic, but mellow and become sweeter as they ripen.

Tamarind paste is usually slightly sweet and slightly sour and is usually used to add a "tang" to recipes. The paste can be bought ready to use, or dried in the form of a "cake" (which needs to be mixed with water before using). Many large supermarkets sell the paste now and it can also be bought on-line.

Lime juice mixed in equal quantities with fresh orange juice can make a good substitute. However, Nigella's curry recipe uses only 1 tablespoon of the paste so we would suggest just using lime juice in this particular dish. Lime juice can loose some of its acidity during cooking so add 1 tablespoon lime juice instead of the tamarind paste at the end of step 2, but taste the curry at the end of the cooking time and taste the dish at the end of the cooking time, adding extra lime juice to taste if you feel that slightly more acidity is needed.

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