Indulge your taste buds in the exotic Thai flavors with this easy Thai sweet tamarind dipping sauce recipe. Bursting with tamarind's sweet and tangy taste, this versatile sauce perfectly accompanies your favorite appetizers and snacks. The sauce can be made and ready to serve in 20 minutes!
In this helpful blog post, learn what tamarind is and how to use it in Thai cooking. Also, make your own tamarind paste using pulp with step-by-step photo instructions. You'll love the fresh taste of the homemade tamarind mixture.
For more tasty Thai dipping sauces, these recipes are sure to delight your taste buds. Nam Prik Ong, Nam Jim Jeow, Jeow Mak Len, Jeow Som, Best Pad Thai sauce, Nam Prik Pao, Thai sweet chili sauce, and Thai green seafood sauce.
Let's dive into the delightful world of Thai flavors and discover why this sauce is a must-have in your culinary arsenal.
- Why You'll love Thai sweet tamarind dipping sauce
- What is Sweet Tamarind Dipping Sauce?
- What is Tamarind?
- Thai Tamarind Dipping Sauce vs. Indian Tamarind Sauce
- Ingredients for Sweet Tamarind Dipping Sauce Recipe
- How to Make Sweet Tamarind Dipping Sauce
- Garnishing options
- Helpful Kitchen Notes and Tips
- What to Serve with Sweet Tamarind Dipping Sauce
- Helpful Kitchen Tools for This Recipe
- Variations on the Thai Tamarind dipping sauce recipe
- How to Store Tararind Dipping Sauce
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Easy Thai Sweet Tamarind Dipping Sauce Recipe
- Related Recipes
Why You'll love Thai sweet tamarind dipping sauce
- Burst of Flavor. The combination of tamarind's sour taste with the sweetness of brown sugar or palm sugar creates a delightful flavor profile that will tantalize your taste buds.
- Versatile Dipping Sauce. This versatile sauce pairs well with various dishes, from fish cakes to spring rolls and Thai chicken wings.
- Quick and Easy recipe. With just a handful of ingredients and simple steps, you can quickly whip up this delectable sauce, adding an authentic Thai touch to your party appetizers.
What is Sweet Tamarind Dipping Sauce?
Sweet Tamarind Dipping Sauce is a savory and spicy brown sauce used as a sweet and sour condiment for grilled or deep-fried finger food like Thai meatballs, fish cakes, and hot dogs. It is made from tamarind paste and is seasoned with fish sauce, sugar, and fresh aromatics to create a delicious balance of flavors.
This sweet sauce adds a savory, salty, and sour note to dishes, making it the perfect companion to finger foods or appetizers.
What is Tamarind?
Tamarind is a tropical fruit that grows in pods on the tamarind tree. The fruit is brown and sticky inside the tamarind pods, with a tangy and sweet taste. It is commonly used in cooking and making sauces, drinks, and candies.
Learn more about this important ingredient used in Asian cooking here.
Thai Tamarind Dipping Sauce vs. Indian Tamarind Sauce
The difference between Thai tamarind dipping sauce and Indian tamarind sauce lies in their ingredients and preparation methods.
The preparation methods for these sauces also differ. Thai tamarind dipping sauce is made by boiling it with other ingredients over medium-high heat until it thickens to a desired consistency.
Indian tamarind sauce, on the other hand, involves boiling the tamarind pulp with jaggery powder and spices until it reaches a rolling boil. It is then cooled and blended to achieve a smooth texture.
Thai Tamarind Dipping Sauce
In Thai cuisine, the tamarind dipping sauce is often called "Nam Jim Nam Makham." It is known for its balance of sweet, sour, and spicy notes. Thai tamarind dipping sauce, commonly used in Thai cooking, is a sweet sauce made from tamarind fruit. It typically includes garlic, fish sauce, sugar, and tamarind paste. This sauce is often served with spring rolls, fish cakes, or grilled meats.
Indian Tamarind Dipping Sauce
In Indian cuisine, tamarind sauce goes by names such as "Imli Chutney" or "Sweet Tamarind Chutney." It is a staple in Indian restaurants and is commonly used in chaats and Indian appetizers.
Indian tamarind sauce typically features a blend of tamarind mixture, jaggery powder (an unrefined cane sugar), and basic Indian spices such as chaat masala. The sauce is simmered over medium-high heat until it reaches a rolling boil, allowing the flavors to meld together and create a harmonious sweet and sour taste.
It is often enjoyed with popular Indian chaats like pani puri, complementing the diverse flavors found in these dishes. Another delightful accompaniment is cilantro mint chutney, which provides a refreshing contrast to the tamarind sauce.
Ingredients for Sweet Tamarind Dipping Sauce Recipe
- Tamarind concentrate or paste. This is the main ingredient for this dipping sauce; don't skip it. Find these at Asian grocery stores.
- Garlic. Garlic and shallot are pan-fried lightly until brown for added flavors to the dipping sauce.
- Shallot. Purple or red onions can be substituted.
- Cilantro stems. Chop into small pieces when frying in the pan. Save the leafy parts for garnishing.
- Brown sugar or palm sugar. White sugar, honey, or agave also work, but it's a bit sweeter than palm or brown sugar.
- Fish sauce. Adds a salty umami flavor to this Thai tamarind sauce. Use any brand you can find at your local grocery store.
- Chili flakes (adjust according to your spice preference). Chile powder could work, but it will lack the texture of the flakes.
- Oil. For frying the aromatics.
- Water. Water adds volume to the sauce. Then, it's reduced to thick, sweet, and sticky once tapioca slurry is added.
- Tapioca starch. Use as a thickening ingredient for the tamarind sauce. Corn starch works well as a substitute.
How to Make Sweet Tamarind Dipping Sauce
Step 1. Combine tapioca and 3 tablespoons of water in a small bowl, whisk together then set aside for later.
Step 2. In a medium skillet or saucepan on medium heat, add oil. Once hot, add garlic and shallot. Fry until lightly brown.
Step 3. Add the water and sugar, whisk, and cook until dissolved, about 1-2 minutes.
Step 4. Add the chopped cilantro stems, stir well, and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant.
Step 5. Add the fish sauce chili flakes, stir, and cook for one minute.
Step 6. Add the tapioca slurry next. Do a quick whisk with a fork before adding to help stir up the flour deposit at the bottom. Turn the stove to low heat, and often whisk until the sauce thickens slightly.
Step 7. Add tamarind paste to the pan, stir well, and cook for 1-2 more minutes. Stir often. Taste and adjust with more fish sauce and sugar. Add more water if you'd like a thinner sauce. (up to 2 tablespoons). Remove from the stovetop, and transfer to a small bowl or an airtight container for serving or storage.
- Fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
- Fried shallots for an extra crunch
- Sliced red chilies for added heat
Helpful Kitchen Notes and Tips
- Buy tamarind paste at your local Asian, Latin, or Indian grocery store. You can also buy it online here.
- Tamarind water is not the same thing as tamarind paste.
- Adjust the sweetness and tanginess of the sauce by adding more or less brown sugar, fish sauce, or tamarind paste, according to your preference.
- The sauce will thicken further as it cools at room temperature, so if it becomes too thick, add a little warm water and stir until the desired consistency is reached.
- Make a large batch for a large party by doubling the recipe.
- Adding more water will give the sauce a thinner consistency, but adding too much water will dilute the flavors of the sauce, so adjust with fish sauce, sugar, and tamarind paste.
What to Serve with Sweet Tamarind Dipping Sauce
- Thai appetizers like spring rolls, satay skewers, crispy fried tofu, fish or meat meatballs, hot dogs, or chicken wings.
- Make a vegetable charcuterie board and use the sauce as the main dipping sauce. It's the perfect way to get some greens and still have a delicious sauce to indulge in.
- Use your grilled hamburgers' sweet, sour sauce for a tangy, delicious taste!
- Serve with fried food like homemade samosas, fried egg rolls, coconut shrimp, or shrimp in blanket appetizers!
Helpful Kitchen Tools for This Recipe
- Medium-sized skillet or a splurge skillet!
- Wooden large spoon or spatula for stirring
- A small bowl or airtight container for serving or storage
Variations on the Thai Tamarind dipping sauce recipe
- Substitute brown sugar with white sugar, honey, or maple syrup for a sweeter sauce version.
- Customize the spice level by adjusting the chili powder or adding a pinch of cayenne pepper for a spicier kick.
- If tamarind paste or concentrate is not readily available, use seedless tamarind pulp soaked in warm water and then strained to obtain the tamarind juice. Get the recipe for making tamarind paste from pulp here.
How to Store Tararind Dipping Sauce
- Sweet Tamarind Dipping Sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave for a minute or so until warm. Remember to stir well before each use to recombine any separated ingredients.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, absolutely! Store-bought tamarind sauces are convenient and give the same flavor depth as homemade tamarind paste or concentrate. Each brand is slightly different in texture and sourness, adjusting the other ingredients in the recipe to balance the flavors.
Thai Tamarind Dipping Sauce can be a fantastic addition to Indian cuisine, especially regarding Indian chaat recipes and fried Indian street foods. Drizzle it over aloo chaat or samosa chaat to enhance the flavors and add a delightful tangy twist. It also pairs well with Indian appetizers like samosas, aloo tikki, and paneer pakora.
The sour taste in the Thai Tamarind Dipping Sauce comes from tamarind, the fruit of the tamarind tree. Tamarind paste or concentrate is used as the base for this sauce, providing a distinctive tanginess that balances the sweetness and spices.
Absolutely! Thai Tamarind Dipping Sauce can be a great addition to chicken wings. Its sweet and sour flavor profile complements the savory notes of the wings, creating a harmonious combination. Drizzle the sauce over the cooked chicken wings or serve it as a dipping sauce.
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These are my favorite dishes to serve with this easy Thai sweet tamarind dipping sauce recipe.