FRESH

The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - Front Page -

Orig­i­nally from trop­i­cal Africa and grown for so long in In­dia that it is of­ten con­sid­ered in­dige­nous, ta­marind is one of the most highly prized nat­u­ral foods in Asia. Hav­ing mi­grated to FNQ with European set­tle­ment, we are lucky to find it fresh on oc­ca­sion in lo­cal mar­kets. It is ubiq­ui­tous in all Asian cui­sine, par­tic­u­larly as a flavour en­hance­ment in sauces, dress­ings and dips. Nearly ev­ery meat and fish dish has a ver­sion with a ta­marind dressing. Like many an­cient foods, ta­marind has a long his­tory of medic­i­nal use. It is worth a lit­tle re­search, as an an­ti­dote to many mod­ern ail­ments. Rich in tar­taric acid (the sour flavour), ta­marind is a pow­er­ful anti-ox­i­dant, packed with min­er­als and vi­tal vi­ta­mins in­clud­ing thi­amine, niacin, A, C and ri­boflavin. For­tu­nately, if you don’t know where to look in a lo­cal mar­ket, most su­per­mar­kets will have pro­cessed pastes, sauces and con­cen­trates. Start with an easy baked veg­etable dish, or as a sauce on lo­cal fish or prawns. The flavour grows on you and it won’t be long be­fore you are for­ag­ing for fresh. 2 tea­spoons ta­marind puree 1 ta­ble­spoon brown su­gar 1 ta­ble­spoon hot wa­ter 250g cherry toma­toes, quar­tered 1/2 Le­banese cu­cum­ber, finely chopped 1/2 red onion, finely chopped 1/2 long fresh green chilli, de­seeded, thinly sliced 1/4 cup fresh co­rian­der leaves, coarsely chopped

Com­bine the ta­marind puree, su­gar and wa­ter in a small bowl. Taste and sea­son with salt. Com­bine the tomato, cu­cum­ber, onion and chilli in a medium bowl. Add the ta­marind mix­ture and toss to com­bine. Add the co­rian­der and stir un­til just com­bined. Serve.

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