Tamarind and Plum Sauce

, from Issue #27. August, 2015
Photography by Nick Tresidder.
Tamarind and Plum Sauce


100 ml olive oil
2 large red onions, thinly sliced
1⁄2 cup thinly sliced garlic
6 dried long red chillis, halved and seeded
850 gram tin Black Doris plums and the syrup
1⁄2 cup tamarind concentrate
1⁄2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1 teaspoon sea salt


Heat the oil in a sauté pan and cook the onions with a good pinch of salt, for about 30 minutes or until tender and a dark golden brown. Stir occasionally to prevent catching on the bottom of the pan. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towels.

Add the garlic to the oil and cook over a low heat until soft and a pale golden colour. Do not let the garlic get too brown or it will taste bitter. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towels.
Add the chillis to the oil and cook for 1 minute until fragrant. Drain on kitchen towels. Discard the oil. Drain the plums, reserving 1 cup of syrup and remove the stones.

Put the onions, garlic, chillis, plums, reserved syrup, tamarind, sugar, pomegranate molasses and salt in a food processor and process until smooth.

Strain through a sieve into a saucepan, discarding the bits in the sieve. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the sauce catching on the bottom of the pan. The sauce will thicken slightly but should be of a pourable consistency.

Remove from the heat and pour into sterile jars or bottles. Cool, label and refrigerate. Makes about 4 cups.

Dried chilli, tamarind concentrate and pomegranate molasses are available at Asian shops, specialty food stores and good supermarkets.

Cook's Tip
Pomegranate Molasses: A thick syrup produced by cooking down pomegranate juice. It is a slightly astringent, sweet-sour condiment used widely throughout the Eastern Mediterranean.