One of the food items that I always have in my kitchen is “Ukwaju” (Tamarind sauce) .I use my ukwaju in most of my dishes but it makes my Viazi Karai and Bhajias very tasty. Street vendors selling Viazi Karai and bhajias in Mombasa replace Tomato sauce with this very tasty sauce that awakens your taste buds. It makes you want to keep eating. Mmmh Yummy 😋. Tamarind sauce is widely preferred to tomato sauce in the Coastal town. We use it along with Tomato gravy (which is made by cooking real tomatoes )and Chatini (Coconut sauce). I’ll tell you how this is made in my future posts.
Tamarind is a leguminous tree indigenous to Tropical Africa. The tree produces pod-like fruit which contains an edible pulp that we will use in making the sauce.Often ,when we buy the tamarind fruits it’s removed from the pods already ,but if they aren’t then that’s fine. At least you can choose to crack the pods as you suck on some. I love the raw tamarind. It tastes sour and good . The sauce is made in different ways but the most important thing to note is that the resulting sauce is more or less the same except in the thickness ,sweetness and sourness which depend on the person’s preference.
I shared with you how to prepare coconut milk here which is one of my must have. Today let’s make our “Ukwaju.”
• 200 grams Fresh Tamarind (Found in food stalls and supermarkets.
• Green chillies
• Chilli powder
• 3 medium sized carrots
1. Bring the Tamarind pulp to boil and let it cool at room temperature for about 15minutes .pour it into a separate bowl.
2. Boil the carrots until soft.
3. Using your clean hands, squeeze the tamarind pulp and sieve unwanted particles and the seeds.
4. Repeat the process by adding a desired amount of water until all the juice is extracted from the pulp. Don’t add too much water, the thickness of the sauce depends on the amount of water added.
5. In a blender, add the juice extracted, the carrot gravy and all the other ingredients and blend until smooth. You can add a little water if the sauce is too thick but I wouldn’t because I love mine thick.
6. Transfer the sauce to a container or jar with a tight lid.It can be refrigerated for a week.
The resulting sauce can be used in meat curries, added in porridge the same way you’d add lemons, marinating food before grilling and in Viazi karai and Bhajia.