Foodiva's Kitchen: Tamarind Pasta with Muscovado Chilli Sauce

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tamarind Pasta with Muscovado Chilli Sauce

Hoping that I'd learnt something from my last Foodie Fight (Battle Cucumber and Pepper), I've signed up again for a new battle - Tamarind and Sugar. The possiblities of creating a myriad of dishes with these two adaptable ingredients seem endless, but I decided to go for a savory main course. 

Tamarind has a very distinctive sharp, sour and hmm...salty-ish taste. It therefore goes well with sweet and/or spicy dishes so those are the flavors I would play with. A pasta dish seemed to make the most sense to me, however instead of incorporating the tamarind in just the sauce, I decided to make a tamarind-flavored pasta and then make a sweet-spicy sauce to accompany it. I figured the pasta would only contain a mild taste of tamarind, so I made sure the tarmarind-ness permeated throughout this dish, being in the sauce as well as the poached pears. Subtle but viral.

The sweetness of the sauce, of course, comes from the brown sugar and in this case, I used Muscovado which is dark brown, moist sugar because it would give the sauce a slightly darker appearance and distinct taste (it still contains molasses in it). Two chillies were used to provide the heat, I just wasn't brave enough to throw in more than that!

Now, the pears. They were actually a mistake gone right. You see, originally, I was going to make a dessert and the poached pears were supposed to compliment the sweet pasta sauce. However, my sweet brown sugar sauce had a mind of its own and couldn't, wouldn't turn out exactly the way I'd wanted it, so it was on to Plan B. The pears were already poached though! No sweat, they could still be used to lighten up the heavy, rich texture of the rest of the dish. No wastage here after all, phew.

Using the pasta maker reminded me not to take our dexterity for granted. I really wished I had 4 hands to do all the work! The flecks in the pasta and the sharp, tamarind aroma while boiling was well worth the effort.

Tamarind Pasta with Muscovado Chilli Sauce
Serves 2 persons

Tamarind Pasta
2/3 cup plain flour
1 tablespoon plain flour, to adjust dough consistency
1 egg
1 tablespoon tamarind paste

Poached Pears
250ml water
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoon tamarind paste
2 small pears, peeled, cored and quartered

Muscovado Chilli Sauce
1 red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 red chillies, sliced thinly
2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
1 cup tomato puree
¼ cup rice vinegar
½ cup Muscovado sugar
½ cup tamarind liquid from poaching pears

Tamarind Pasta
1. Rub the tamarind paste into the flour to remove seeds, then place in a food processor. Add egg and process for 10 seconds until the flour is moist and crumbly. Adjust by adding some more flour to the dough if it is extra sticky and process further. Each time you stop the machine, pinch the dough between your fingers, it should feel firmer each time. After about 30 seconds of processing, the dough should come together and form a loose ball on top of the blade, and feel moist but not sticky when pinched.
2. Sprinkle some flour on a hard wood surface and start to knead the dough. With the heel of one hand, push the ball of dough away from you. Fold it back toward you and rotate the dough a quarter turn. Repeat this process until the dough feels damp without being sticky, then stop kneading (about 1-2 minutes). Shape dough into a ball and cover with a large overturned bowl, let it rest for 30 minutes.
3. Run dough through pasta machine as per the instructions and leave to dry for about 30 minutes before cooking.
Poached Pears
1. Mix the water, brown sugar and tamarind paste in a pan and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and add sliced pears to the hot liquid. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes until the pears become soft. Cover top of liquid with greaseproof paper with a hole on top to prevent the pears from sticking out of the water (which, btw, will oxidize them and turn them a darker color).

Pears poached under the cover of greaseproof paper

2. Drain the water but do not throw it away, as you will need it to make the pasta sauce below. Discard the tamarind seeds and leave the pears to cool before slicing thinly. Set aside for assembly.

Muscovado Chilli Sauce
1. Fry the red onion garlic and chillies in the olive oil until fragrant.
2. Add the tomato puree, rice vinegar and poaching liquid, stir in the Muscovado sugar. Lower the heat and continue to stir mixture until it becomes thick and more sauce-like.

Plate the cooked tamarind pasta in a shallow bowl and pour the sweet-spicy Muscovado sauce around the pasta. Place the sliced pears on and around the pasta, then serve. If you wish, garnish the dish with chopped cilantro and cherry tomatoes.

Ahhhh yes, don't forget to stop and smell the flowers...

Finally, I just wanted to share with you how beautiful the weather was on the day I made this dish. The sky was a brilliant blue and my garden looked so gor-jusss, here's a shot just for you!

If you want to check out my competition and vote for me (and I know you want to ;-)), please click this link to Foodie Fights on Tuesday. Thanks for your love and support!


Indonesia Eats said...

Hey, that is also the flower that I used to have at my parent's garden.

Btw, you are so creative! Never thought to make tamarind pasta.

Subterfuge Diva said...

Hiya Pepy, I hope all my posts are not making you kinda homesick! *smiles*

Thanks for your your kind comments, this and many others. I never realised blogging is such hard work, and thank goodness, because now I really have to THINK hard to come up with something interesting!

Peggy said...

Great job! The pictures and the dish sound amazing!

Subterfuge Diva said...

Thanks Peggy. Looks like the rest of the competition came up with great stuff too!

Angela said...

Your photos are wonderful, I have photo envy. Nice work on the pasta. Good luck!

Tiffiny Felix said...

First I have to say your pictures are gorgeous! They are *so* bright! And I love your homemade pasta...*very* nice :) Good luck! :)

Subterfuge Diva said...

Angela, thanks! I have dish-envy when it comes to your spatchcock chicken too. The whole meal looks delicious! Well done.

Subterfuge Diva said...

Tiffiny, thanks for your lovely comments. I took these pictures outside on a very hot and bright day, hence the clarity and vividness of all the colors. Your tamarind-apricot ice-cream combination is something I'd LOVE to have on that hot day! I must try to make it. Good luck to you too!

Matthew Kadey MSc., RD said...

Boy, you've given us some stiff competition with this one.

Subterfuge Diva said...

Hey, Matthew! I liked what you've done with your dish too... Very chic!

DailyKitchen said...

Amazingly creative! There can be no doubt that yours is indeed an haute kitchen! :)

Subterfuge Diva said...

Daily Kitchen, thanks! I've got haute viewers and followers to match!

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