Chicken rolls with spicy tamarind sauce


One of the things that I brought from Panamá this summer was tamarind pulp. I know that I can buy tamarind here in Madrid but it is so expensive…Besides, it was a present from my mom, so what’s not to like!

Normally the first thing that comes into mind with tamarind are sweets. You can make chicha de tamarindo (tamarind juice), duritos (popsicles), bolitas de tamarindo (I think I already made those for the blog), etc. But I know that in Asia tamarind is used for cooking very often, so I decided to try a new creation with Panamanian tamarind. I hope you like it, my husband did and I think it was more than love that made him give a 10/10 to this one.

My first idea was to make a video tasty way (they are every where!), but at the end decided against it because my infrastructure is not so good at the moment 🙂

The quantities are for two big servings or four regular ones, but it’s a very flexible recipe.

For the chicken rolls

  • Two chicken breast, opened or four chicken steaks
  • One red onion chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • A small bunch of parsley chopped
  • A small bunch of fresh cilantro chopped
  • Half green pepper, chopped
  • A small handful of dried cranberries or raisinsIMG_7898
  • A small handful of hazelnuts
  • About 10 pitted green olives
  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil

For the sauce

  • 1 tablespoon of tamarind pulp
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • Olive oil
  • 4 drops Tabasco
  • 2 tbsp. Molasses
  • 1 garlic clove
  • A small bunch fresh cilantro with stems and all
  • fresh ginger (about half an inch), peeled
  • Salt and pepper
  • *2 or 3 dried guindillas or chilli pepper, optional


First we start by slicing the chicken breasts if needed. After spice them up with a splash of lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper, we will stuff them with the veggies, make a roll and close them with a couple of toothpicks.

Pour olive oil in a pan and sear until golden brown. Place the breasts in a baking dish and put them in the oven at 180 ºC for about 30 minutes. To be on the safe side the juices should run clear and the temperature inside the roll be about 165 ºF or 74 ºC. Cover and keep them warm.

Meanwhile, lets make the tamarind sauce. Combine tamarind pulp with water in a bowl and rub with your hands to separate the pulp from the pits and dissolve in the water, pour through a sieve into another bowl, pressing hard and get rid of any solids.

Now we are going to make a cilantro, garlic and ginger paste or puree. Put them all together into a small food processor or use a garlic press.

Heat oil in a small heavy saucepan over moderate heat until hot, then cook this paste, stirring, until fragrant. Stir in tamarind juice, hot sauce, and molases. Simmer until thickened to consistency of light syrup, about 3 minutes.

Taste to make sure it is sweet enough. It is going to be very intense and a bit overpowering by itself, but it works great with chicken (pork and shrimps too), trust me.

There’s always leftover stuffing, so I simply sautéed everything together with some olive oil and a couple of guindillas for a few minutes and used it as a side dish. It also goes very good with basmati rice.

To serve, remove the toothpicks and place one roll with a spoonful of sautéed vegetables and the tamarind sauce.

8 Replies to “Chicken rolls with spicy tamarind sauce”

  1. This looks delicious! I’ve used tamarind paste before, but only knew to add it to a chutney. Your recipe looks great and I’ll have to go shopping for another jar of the paste!!

  2. This sounds quite delicious. I’m sure I can get tamarind paste here, if not I’ll get it the next time I’m in south Florida where I’ve seen it before.

  3. Bless you, Giovanna! Just yesterday, I bought a block of tamarind for a recipe and, having only used a couple teaspoons, I was wondering what to do with the rest — and here you are! This sounds like a delicious recipe and good use for my tamarind. Thank you!!!

    1. I’m so happy to hear this! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. I’ll wait for your recipe, because I have more tamarind waiting in the freezer 😉
      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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