Tamarind is the secret weapon of Southeast Asian cuisine. It’s sticky, sour and tangy and it brightens up all food that comes across its path. I always keep a tiny jar of tamarind paste (also known as tamarind concentrate) in my pantry for moments when my cravings for pad thai or a Vietnamese stew strike. The thing is, tamarind paste is great for roasts, too.
These tamarind-glazed vegetable tacos are adapted from my roasted tempeh with tamarind glaze recipe. I still have a tub of the tamarind glaze left, so I may as well chuck it into another weeknight dinner.
The tacos are topped with an apple and lettuce slaw, which can be easily modified by adding pear slices or shredded cabbage and carrots. Honestly, throw in whatever you have on hand!
MASTER MY MISTAKES / COOKING NOTES
- Where to buy tamarind paste: In Sacramento, I can find tamarind paste at the Natural Foods Co-Op and Nugget Markets. If you happen to be in an Asian supermarket, you will likely find the actual tamarind pods, the paste or compressed bricks. You can also find it online here, but it’s much more expensive than what you will find at the supermarket.
- Substitutions: My friend told me that tamarind chutney works well for a recipe like this.
- Pico de gallo recipe: I don’t actually follow a recipe when I make pico de gallo. I just chop a bunch of tomatoes and red onions and toss them with chopped cilantro, minced garlic, salt and diced jalapeños. Squeeze some lemon or lime juice on top, and I’m set!
- Using store-bought corn tortillas: Corn tortillas can dry up very easily after you heat them, especially when you char them over a flame. I highly recommend heating the tortillas right before you are ready to serve the tacos.
Leftovers: Tamarind-Glazed Vegetable Tacos (Vegan)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup, or sub with brown sugar
- 4 teaspoons tamarind paste
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 10 ounces sweet potato, peeled and sliced into 2 to 3-inch strips, 1/4-inch thick
- 10 ounces eggplant, sliced into 2 to 3 inch strips, 1/2-inch thick
- 1 large red bell pepper, sliced into strips
- 2 large apples, sliced into thin strips
- 1 cup sliced lettuce, small handful
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup, or sub with brown sugar
- 6 to 8 corn tortillas
- pico de gallo
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Position an oven rack to the center position. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a small bowl, mix the oil, tamarind paste, maple syrup, salt, pepper flakes and garlic powder. Set aside 1 1/2 tablespoons of the sauce. You will use it when you toss the roasted vegetables later.
- In a medium bowl, mix the tamarind sauce with the vegetable strips. Use your hands to distribute the sauce over the vegetables.
- Spread the vegetables over the baking sheet into an even layer. Bake vegetables for 30 minutes.
- Toss the apple slaw ingredients together. Set the slaw aside.
- When the vegetables are done roasting, drizzle the remaining tamarind sauce on top and mix.
- After the roasted vegetables are done, heat up the corn tortillas over a pan. If you want to char the tortillas, heat them directly over a flame.
- Assemble the tacos by filling them with a bit of the tamarind-glazed vegetables, apple slaw and pico de gallo. Serve immediately.