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Tamarind

Lawan's Heavenly Soup calls for tamarind stock, which is available in envelopes (Knorr Swiss) and other forms (such as concentrated liquid). Lawan uses the former. The problem is, so many sources (including that one) include MSG, to which Craig is allergic. So I've learned to make the stock from the tamarind beans, which are not all that hard to find. To make Lawan's soup for two, use about eight beans. But while you're at it, you might as well make more; the liquid keeps in the refrigerator.

Remove the brittle shell and place the sticky fruit in a saucepan with water to cover. Boil for half an hour or more, adding water as needed to keep the fruits covered. Stir to separate the pulp from the seeds and fibers. When you've dissolved as much pulp as you want, shut off the heat and fish out the solids. You could strain the stock, but I usually just thoroughly stir through it with a slotted spoon. Judge the strength by the consistency. It should not be absolutely runny, but it shouldn't be sludgy either. For soup, aim at a rich stock. Tamarind is the sour of a hot and sour soup, so more or less thick, strong stock makes more or less sour hot and sour soup.

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