Spicy Tomato And Tamarind Sauce


Sometimes when I experiment in the kitchen it happens that the result becomes far tastier than I could ever imagine. The other day was one of these occasions. I had my mind set on a rich, tangy, yet sweet sauce full of spice and oh boy was I surprised when all my expectations were fulfilled and more thereto.

This sauce is probably good with almost everything but I imagine it is especially great with BBQ. It has all the important components of a true BBQ sauce. It is sweet, tangy, spicy and smokey, just the way we like it! Although it is great as a BBQ sauce I don’t want to limit the use of it to only this purpose. It would also be great on sandwiches and burgers, as a flavor enhancer in for example stir fries or why not as a chutney to be eaten together with your favorite Indian dish.

A few words need to be said about the spices. The blend of spices is inspired by the Indian kitchen. Mustard seeds and coriander seeds are frequently used in many households and therefore easily found. Ajwain and nigella might be a bit more tricky. Where I live you can buy it in shops specialized in food from India/Pakistan or the Middle East. If you don’t live close to a shop like that you may swap the ajwain for thyme and the nigella for more mustard seeds.


Spicy Tomato And Tamarind Sauce


  • 1 kg tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp ajwain/carom seeds
  • 1 tsp nigella/kalonji seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp chili flakes
  • 0.5 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
  • 3.5 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1 dl / 0.4 raw cane sugar
  • 5 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 dl / 1.3 cup water


  1. Start by roast the seeds in a dry skillet or pan. Roast them one kind after another and watch out with the nigella seeds. They burn easily and become very bitter. Grind the roasted spices in a mortar until the seeds are roughly ground.
  2. Remove the skin from the tomatoes. Score an “x” in the bottom of each tomato and place all of them in a bowl. Cover with boiling water and leave for 1 minute. Remove and chill in cold water. The skins will come of easily. Chop the tomatoes finely and set aside.
  3. Chop the onion and garlic finely. Heat the oil in a sauce pan and start sauteing the onion on medium heat. When transparent and golden add the garlic.
  4. When the garlic looses its raw aroma you add the tomatoes, water and spices. Let it simmer until the tomatoes are completely soft and squashy. Depending on desired texture you may now use a masher to make the texture less lumpy.
  5. Add the sugar, tamarind paste, chili flakes, smoked paprika and salt. Let it cook for about 15 minutes on low heat and adjust with more water if desired.
  6. Fill sterilized jars and store inside the refrigerator. They will keep for at least 1 month. If you want to be able to store them outside the refrigerator for a longer time I suggest you process the jars in a hot water bath. Use a large saucepan and place a kitchen towel in the bottom of the pan. Fill with water and add the jars when the water is boiling. Make sure the jars are covered with water by a few centimetres. Process for 10 minutes if you use small to medium jars or 15 minutes if you use larger jars. Remove the pan from the heat but leave the jars in the water to settle for 5 minutes before you lift them out. When processed the sauce will stay fine for up to a year.

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