Salmon skewers with tamarind sauce

Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Yields Serves 6 to 8
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These salmon skewers with tamarind sauce, adapted from a recipe by chef Marcus Samuelsson, make a quick weeknight meal but also work well if you’re planning for company. The sauce combines fresh onion and garlic, along with curry powder, white wine vinegar, red wine and tamarind, sweetened with a little sugar and seasoned with a touch of salt. Brush the sauce over salmon skewers as they cook up on the grill, then serve the remaining sauce alongside.

You can substitute canned “fresh tamarind concentrate” in place of the tamarind liquid (use the same amount as of tamarind liquid).

From the story: This way to tamarind tanginess


Pour the peanut oil into a medium bowl. Add the salmon and turn to coat. Set fish aside for 30 minutes.


Soak 16 bamboo skewers in water for at least 30 minutes. Prepare a medium-hot grill fire.


While the salmon is marinating in the peanut oil, heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and saute until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the curry powder, vinegar, red wine, cornstarch, tamarind and sugar. Bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the sauce thickens slightly. Remove the sauce from the heat and let it cool slightly.


Transfer the sauce to a blender and puree until smooth; this makes 2 cups. Place 1 cup in a small serving bowl and set aside. Reserve the remaining sauce for basting the salmon.


Sprinkle the salmon with the salt and thread it onto skewers. Arrange the skewers on the grill and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or just until cooked through, brushing frequently with the tamarind sauce.


Serve with the bowl of reserved sauce.

Tamarind liquid


Gently simmer the tamarind pulp in 4 cups water for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and let sit for 30 minutes.


Press the softened pulp through a sieve, breaking up the pulp and, if necessary, pouring some already-strained liquid through a second or third time to loosen the pulp enough to extract all the liquid. Discard the solids. You should have about 3 cups. Refrigerate tamarind liquid for up to a week or measure it into ice-cube trays and freeze for convenient future use.

Adapted from “The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa” by Marcus Samuelsson.