Tomato, tamarind & lime sorbet

by Roopa Gulati

This sweet-sour tomato ice is spiked with chillies, tart tamarind and fresh-tasting galangal


For the tamarind pulp (makes 6-8 tbsp):
200g wet, seedless tamarind block

For the sorbet:
1 onion, finely diced
30g galangal, peeled and roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 red pepper, diced
1-2 red chillies, seeds removed, chopped
2cm fresh turmeric, peeled and finely grated
½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
450g tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 stems lemongrass, outer leaves removed
4 lime leaves
1-2 tbsp jaggery, date palm sugar or light brown sugar
1 rounded tbsp tamarind pulp
2 tbsp chopped coriander


Break up the tamarind block with your hands, put it in a pan and pour over enough boiling water to generously cover. Simmer the pulp for 15-20 mins until softened, then leave on one side to cool.

Push the tamarind pulp through a metal sieve and discard any fibres left behind. Sometimes a fine-meshed sieve can become clogged with the pulp, so it’s best to use a coarse sieve, conical strainer or even a colander. Add a little water if the tamarind is too thick to easily pass. Aim for a thickish dropping consistency, similar to a cake batter.

Heat 3 tbsp vegetable oil in a deep saucepan over a low heat and cook the onion for 7-10 mins until softened but not coloured. Stir in the chopped galangal, garlic, red pepper, red chillies, turmeric and black pepper. Continue cooking for 5-7 mins until the peppers have softened.

Increase the heat to medium and stir in the chopped tomatoes. Roughly chop the lemongrass stems and lightly bruise them in a mortar and pestle before adding to the pan with the lime leaves.

Pour over 250ml water and simmer the sauce for 15-20 mins until it has reduced by a third. Stir in the sugar and add enough tamarind pulp to sharpen. Leave to cool, then process the sauce in a liquidiser or food processer. Push the pulp through a sieve into a bowl and discard any fibre. Stir in the chopped coriander.

Transfer the sauce to an ice-cream maker and churn until firm. You can also freeze this ice in the freezer—give it a good whisk every hour until it has set. Transfer the ice to a plastic container—it will keep in the freezer for about 10 days.

Recipe and image: Roopa Gulati