Peruvian Sweet and Sour Sauce (Tamarind Sauce)
My very first time eating sweet and sour here in America, was a let down, not because it taste bad, but I was expecting more. Up until those days, thou I knew how to bake and cook, My cooking was not to advance I was great making what I learn but never really experimented. Little by little I test different recipes, or ask around. But it was not until one day during a food presentation from a friend of my Culinary Arts teacher. He was, I think, from China; he showed us many different dishes including his Sweet and Sour Sauce, which was only 3 ingredients, rice vinegar, water and sugar. I was so happy; the flavor was incredible and the mixture was light not heavy. Later on time and doing a bit more research I learn that tamarind was use in some places instead of Vinegar, including Peru.
This is the basic Tamarind Sauce, in different regional cuisines other flavors may be added. The presence of Tamarind in south America and central America is very popular. In Peru tamarind was used most of the time in the Chinese Food. There was a time when vinegar was hard to get a hold of, tamarind is very acid and Chinese people start using it, as a replacement. Wontons are usually served with tamarind sauce, sadly tamarind is no cheap and now days people use ingredients like ketchup and/or food coloring to add the red color; but with the use of tamarind there is no need for that.
Ingredients:0.5 cup sugar
0.5 cup tamarind with some rice vinegar diluted in it.
0.5 cup water
1 tbsp Worcestershire ( optional) it change the color to a deep darker red, but it helps the flavor specially if you are using the sauce for red meats.
1 tbsp corn starch, previously dissolved in 2 tbsp water
salt, to taste
1. On a heavy pot, combine all ingredients except corn starch, take them to a boil and let boil for 2 minutes, then whisk in the corn starch.
2. The Worcestershire adds meaty flavor, in that case don't forget to use it, but only if this sauce is the finishing element of a meat dish.
3. This sauce can be make in advance and last for 1 month in the refrigerator.