Slightly adapted from The Cook's Cottage.
- 75 g (2 3/4 oz) tamarind
(Tamarind seems to be most commonly available dried and pressed into blocks about the size of two packs of cards. We bought one block that was loosely and thinly wrapped, and was hard as a rock. We were unable to ever do anything useful with it. Since then we have had much more success with a tamarind from Thailand which came wrapped in a double layer of fairly heavy plastic and is if not soft then at least a bit pliable. Tamarind concentrate in plastic containers is another widely available form, but unlikely to work here.)
- 200 g (7 oz) finely chopped dates
- 450 ml (scant 2 c) water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1 tsp jaggery (more or less to taste)
Combine water and tamarind in a saucepan and boil uncovered for 10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and strain the mixture through a fine sieve, pressing as much of the pulp through as possible. Discard seeds and skins. Finely chop the dates. and combine with all the other ingredients in the same pot. Simmer, stirring constantly, until a thick paste forms.