Ancho Chile and Tamarind Sauce
Recipe courtesy of Pati Jinich. For more recipes and information, see www. patismexicantable.com
2 to 3 ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed (small sharp scissors work well for this)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup finely chopped white onion
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1-1/2 cups Latin style tamarind syrup (see recipe below)
1/2 cup chicken broth (see note below)
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, more or less to taste
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Place the ancho chiles in the hot skillet and let them lightly toast for about 20 – 30 seconds per side. Place them in a bowl and cover them with boiling water and let them rehydrate for 10 to 15 minutes until plumped up and meaty. Drain and chop.
Reheat the skillet on high and heat the oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring constantly for 5 to 7 minutes until wilted and the edges begin to brown. Add the garlic, stir and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds or so. Add the chopped ancho chiles and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until they incorporate with the onions and start to dry a little. Pour in the tamarind syrup and chicken broth and cook at a medium simmer for about 10 minutes until the mixture is thickened like syrup. Taste and season with more salt if needed. Let it cool slightly and puree in a blender or food processor.
Note: The chicken broth adds a savory component to the sauce, so if you want to use vegetable broth put in a teaspoon of soy sauce along with it.
Latin-Style Tamarind Syrup
Recipe courtesy of Pati Jinich, from her book Pati’s Mexican Table: The Secrets of Real Mexican Home Cooking.
Latin-style tamarind syrup is different from Asian tamarind concentrates or syrups — it’s thinner and has sugar in it. This recipe can be used to make the Latin-style syrup from unsweetened Asian tamarind concentrate. You can use the syrup in drinks and in many different sauces where you want sweet and tangy components.
To make a cup of Latin-style tamarind syrup, combine 3 tablespoons Asian or Middle Eastern tamarind concentrate or paste, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup boiling water. Mix until the tamarind and sugar are dissolved. It will keep, refrigerated, for up to 6 months.