Saturday, November 12, 2005

Sugared tamarind from Sa Gu, Ubud

These are wonderful things which should be a feature of every trip to Ubud. You kind of gnaw the tamarind loose from the strings which hold the thing together, leaving a joined up set of strings to throw away at the end. The pod has been slit diagonally repeatedly along its length, and the seeds extracted through the slits.

It is sour and sweet, and impossible to imagine unless you are acquainted with the idea of tamarind already. You eat it and it is one of those revelations where you discover in its raw form the source of one of the flavour elements of South East Asian cooking. According to La Gazette de Bali No. 3 (August 2005), it is an essential element of Worcestershire sauce, and the author of "Le Banquet D'Obelix" made the same point as me: "on le connait sans le connaitre" (one knows it without knowing it). Now the fact that Worcestershire sauce has tamarind in it means that you'll find tamarind in an orthodox Caesar salad as well as in your bloody Maries.


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