Tamarind Soup
60 Min

Tamarind Soup

The province of Sindh, now entirely in Pakistan and the homeland of my parents, has its roots in the Indus valley civilization. For the people of Sindh, a community uprooted and dispersed by the Partition of 1947, cooking provided a vital connection to their homeland. Their kitchens, with their distinct recipes and ingredients, helped anchor them to the places they adopted as new homes. For most Sindhis, this tamarind fragrant soup, or Sindhi kadhi, as it is called, is synonymous with a lazy Sunday afternoon lunch. Usually eaten with steamed rice and sweet laddus, this was one of my favorite memories of growing up in a traditional Sindhi household. This soup has endless possibilities. The soup is light, yet the chickpea roux adds tremendous flavor but if you want to add meat, add 1 to 2 chicken legs along with the vegetables. Once the chicken has cooked, remove the pieces, pull the meat out and add it back to the soup. 

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Cook Time

60 Minutes



Step 1
In a small stockpot over high heat, combine the dried tamarind with 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes then turn off. Using a strainer, squeeze the water out and either discard the pulp or save for another use.
Step 2
In a large stockpot over high heat, warm the ghee and add the cumin and mustard seeds and kari leaves. As soon as they have finished popping and sizzling, which usually takes a few seconds, add the chickpea flour, and start frying it in the ghee. Lower the heat to medium and if the chickpea appears dry, add a tablespoon or two more of ghee. Next add tomato puree, cinnamon, cloves, chile powder, turmeric, salt, jaggery, and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, simmer then add the 4 cups of vegetables. Cook until the vegetables are soft, about 15 minutes, then add the tamarind water and bring to a boil again. Simmer for another 10 minutes then add the green vegetables and cook just until they are cooked but remain bright green in color. Drizzle a little more ghee if desired, garnish with herbs and serve.
4 ounces dried tamarind
4 tablespoons + ghee (or olive oil)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
10 to 12 kari leaves, chopped
1/3 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup tomato puree
1 large cinnamon stick
10 to 12 cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon chile powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 tablespoon jaggery
4 cups 1-inch diced vegetables (squash, carrots, potatoes, or cauliflower)
2 cups sliced green vegetables (sugar snap peas, okra, asparagus, kale or spinach)
1/2 cup loose herbs such as cilantro or mint

Notes & Variations

  • Traditionally, this soup has moringa drumsticks, cut into 4-inch segments, added to it. To enjoy them, you would have to suck the inside pulp out of them. Sounds messy, but it’s quite delicious.
  • To replace dried tamarind with concentrate, use 2 tablespoons tamarind concentrate directly to the soup, after the vegetables have cooked through.
  • Dried tamarind is a fruit that keeps giving. Every time you add water to the pulp, you will end up with more tamarind water. It can be used as a souring agent in stews and curries or to make drinks.
60 Min

Stock Your Pantry

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