Update: Our supper club was a blast! Watching and gauging people's responses as they sampled and ate our food was mixed with feelings of nervousness and excitement. For me this was a fun experience, one very different from this blog but both being equally rewarding in different ways. And, we've already begun the planning of our second supper club, which will probably be held sometime next month. Fingers crossed!
I grew up with a tamarind tree across the street, the tree was enormous and every fruit season, it survived the onslaught of the owner's kids who would try to steal the fruit by tossing stones of sticks into its branches. The kids would collect the fallen fruit, crack the light brown shell open and season the pulp with grains of salt and eat them directly. I've tried eating raw tamarind in this manner, it's not one of my favorite ways but I love, love, love using it in chutneys and sauces. Goan recipes also use tamarind pretty lavishly to flavor and acidify and it adds a mild hint of sweetness to the dish.
I've been wanting to make a breakfast/lunch/dinner appropriate meal. Mostly savory with a little hint of sweetness and a little bit of heat. These savory buckwheat pancakes topped off with a huge helping of acorn squash salsa and this date and tamarind chutney does just that!
This recipe has three components to it;
- a simple buckwheat pancake batter that is more savory than sweet and I've infused it with a little tamarind pulp.
- a tamarind and date chutney that needs no sugar and uses the natural sweetness of the date. Be generous with this chutney!
- an acorn squash salsa. I roasted the squash in the oven and then used ingredients that I normally use to make salsa at home.
I'd eat everyone of these mini pumpkin loaf cakes.
Learn how to make homemade pumpkin cheesecake chips.
Apparently, it was National Cinnamon Roll last week, these Finnish cinnamon rolls are on my to do list being it cinnamon roll week or not!
Let's add these triple cinnamon pecan sticky buns to that list too.
acorn squash salsa
yields: 4 - 6 servings
1 lb acorn squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup red onion, chopped
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
4 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
2 thai chili peppers or 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
1. Cut the squash in half and remove and discard the seeds and strings. Place the squash in the microwave and heat for 3 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Using a large knife, trim the outer skin off (it should come off easily now). Dice the squash into half inch cubes and place them on a baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over the squash and mix to coat evenly. Bake in a preheated oven at 400F for about 20-25 minutes until the cubes are tender and cooked. Allow the squash to cool to room temperature before preparing the salsa.
2. Place the rest of the ingredients in a mixing bowl along with the squash, toss to coat evenly. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Refrigerate until ready to use (serve chilled).
date and tamarind chutney
yields: about 3 1/2 -4 generous cups
1 cup tamarind fruit, outer shell and seeds removed *
2 cups packed medjool dates, pits removed
4 cups boiling water
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt
1 teaspoon sriracha (optional)
1. Place the tamarind fruit in a medium bowl and pour 1 cup of the boiling water over it. Allow to sit for about 1-2 hours until the pulp becomes soft and mushy. Strain the pulp through a sieve and keep aside. (Reserve 1 tablespoon of the pulp aside for the pancakes)
2. Pour the rest of the water over the dates and leave aside for about 1-2 hours until soft.
3. Add the rest of the tamarind pulp (except the 1 tablespoon for the pancakes from earlier). Using an immersion blender or blender, puree until smooth. (you might need to pass it through a strainer to get rid of any bits that might not have blended).
4. In a small skillet, heat the cumin and coriander seeds on medium high flame, cook for about 30 seconds until the seeds being to slightly brown and you can smell the fragrance of the spices. Remove and grind this to a fine powder. Add this powder along with the salt and sriracha (optional) to the pureed date and tamarind. Pour this sauce into a medium sized saucepan and cook on a low simmer for about 20 minutes until slightly thickened. Stir occasionally. Taste, adjust seasoning if necessary. Store chilled in an airtight container. You can also adjust the consistency of the sauce with more water.
tamarind buckwheat pancakes
yields: 4 - 6 servings (depends on how big you make them)
2 cups buckwheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1 tablespoon tamarind pulp, reserved from earlier *, **
1 large egg
2 1/2 cups whole milk, at room temperature (buttermilk can also be used)
1 tablespoon plain yogurt
unsalted butter or vegetable oil for frying the pancakes
1. Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl (except the butter/oil). Whisk until smooth and combined. Keep aside for 2 minutes.
2. Heat a greased cast iron or nonstick skillet on medium-high and pour about 1/4 cup of batter. Allow to cook on each side for about 1 - 1 1/2 minutes before flipping the pancakes. Prepare the rest of the pancakes similarly and serve warm.
1. Stack as many pancakes as your heart desires in a plate. Place a huge dollop of the acorn squash salsa and generously drizzle with the date and tamarind chutney. Serve and eat asap!
* If you can't find tamarind fruit or pre-made tamarind pulp, use the concentrate. You will need to adjust the amount of concentrate to be added, for the chutney, 1 - 1 /2 teaspoons should be enough (Use less and accordingly adjust as per your taste). For the pancakes, I recommend using 1/4 teaspoon.
** Since tamarind is highly acidic, it will react with the baking soda and powder in the pancake batter, so I recommend preparing all the pancakes within an hour or so. If left too long, the batter may end up too flat.