Two Tamarind Dips
Sometimes I just don’t know how we aren’t all crawling around bruised and vulnerable, changed by every face we take in, every body we bump into, every passing breeze. Or maybe it’s just me–a peeled banana, a soft-shelled crab, mostly exposed belly. This has nothing to do with food. I’m just amazed that our amorphous collection of cells congeals into something like a discrete identity, and we forget how fluid and vulnerable we actually are as beings.
Maybe it does have to do with food, in that food is ultimately a social thing. The means of exchange, the way we bump into each other. Meet for drinks, a burger. Make a connection.
I flew to Seattle over the weekend, and, at the airport, spent my time fascinated by faces–completely distanced, taking them in as if they were an alien species. Then, spent time with dear friends and felt the opposite–so connected. They fed me and the sun was shining. It looked like this:
Chicago hasn’t gotten there yet. It’s still gray and cold and the wind likes to blow rain in my face and turn my umbrella inside out. Chicago keeps toying with my emotions: a sunny day, then crushing brutality. This waiting for spring has been awful.
Lest I ramble any longer and not get to the recipe, I present you with these tamarind dips: tangy, bright, springlike. Bring them to a party with crudites or bread or crackers. Socialize, get out of the rain.
5 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 c. dried chickpeas
2–3 curry leaves (ok to omit if not available)
2–3 bay leaves
1 preserved lemon, rinsed (or zest of one lemon)
1/2 c. cilantro
2 tbsp. Greek yogurt
2 tbsp. silken tofu
2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. tamarind
salt and pepper
olive oil (about 1 c.)
Rinse the chickpeas and pick out any that seem discolored. Cover with water in a large pot. Soak for 8 hours or overnight.
Rinse the chickpeas, and then return to pot. Cover amply with water, at least by several inches. Add 3 cloves of garlic, bay leaves, and curry leaves, and bring to a boil. Boil for an hour or two, until they are cooked through. Drain and let cool. Of course, you can just use canned chickpeas if you prefer.
In a food processor, combine chickpeas with all the other ingredients. Drizzle in olive oil as you pulse until it becomes smooth. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
1 clove of garlic, peeled
1 small cube of fresh ginger, peeled (about the same size as the garlic)
1/2 c. cilantro
3/4 c. peanut butter
1 1/2 tbsp. tamarind
1 red chili pepper
4 tbsp. silken tofu
2 scallions, white part only
Combine all in a food processor until smooth. Adjust salt to taste.