Chigli – This tangy spicy tamarind pop from India is the old times recipe that we enjoyed eating as kids. These were the simple fun recipes that kids enjoyed during summer days both making & eating and stood in contrast to sugary pops in the market.
Chigli combines sourness of Tamarind, sweetness of Jaggery, hotness of chili powder and cumin seeds pack some punch. This is one of those recipes where you can mix and match ingredients to suit your taste and spice levels. For starters, here are the ingredients:
Seeded Tamarind – 1 cup or about 100 gms
Jaggery – 1/2 cup
Cumin seeds – 1 table spoon
Red Chili Powder – 1 tea spoon
Oil – 2 table spoons (Olive or Coconut)
Salt to taste
Skewers or pop sticks
Chigli is typically made from new Tamarind fresh from that year’s season which is around March and can be identified by it’s light brown color. New Tamarind tends to have more moisture making it easier to grind it into chewy mixture and more flavorful. When Tamarind gets a little older, the color gets darker, the texture tougher and flavor more sour, but, it still can be used to make Chigli by using the other ingredients a bit more to mask sourness.
First, lightly grind cumin seeds in the mortar & pestal to bring out the flavor but, make sure you still have parts of the seeds left unground. Now, add chili powder, Jaggery, Tamarind, sprinkle oil and start running the pestle on the mixture.
Ideally, Chigli can be given its texture just by using the mortar and pestle but, it requires Tamarind to be moist and fresh. Since, I couldn’t not find fresh Tamarind & had to use slightly older one, it was pretty tough to mix it together into Chigli. So, I took a small detour & made it easy for myself by using a blender to mix Chigli.
Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor and pulse a few times till the tamarind and spices combine to slightly finer mixture, if it’s too powdery in texture, add some more oil.
Once the Tamarind and spice mixture combines well, transfer the mixture back to mortar again. Using the pestle slowly start pounding the mixture so that it starts forming more chewy paste. Once, the mixture becomes softer and sticks together, stop pounding and separate the mixture into smaller balls. Now, using about 3 inch pieces of wooden skewers or pop sticks stick the Tamarind paste on one side and work it into balloon shape pops. You can make the pops of any size and shape, however, keep in mind this is a savory pop and easy & fun on the tongue in smaller quantity!
Once all the pops are ready, sprinkle some salt in a plate and roll the pops lightly for an added dash of salt. Chigli is ready to be savored and stays for weeks or months if refrigerated.