We came up with this sauce for chicken wings but found ourselves slathering it on ribs, burgers, and hot dogs too. It even works as a dip for potato chips and shrimp. The magic ingredient is tamarind, a tangy fruit popular in Latino and Asian cuisines.
3/4 pound tamarind pods*
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 to 4 tsp. chopped canned chipotle chiles
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Pinch ground cloves or allspice
How to Make It
Crack brittle shells from tamarind pods; peel off shells and fibers. Put fruit and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain mixture into a bowl, pushing pulp through; discard contents of strainer.
Meanwhile, in another medium saucepan, sauté onion in oil until golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Add tamarind pulp and remaining sauce ingredients. Bring to simmering over medium-high heat; then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, 15 minutes to blend flavors, stirring occasionally. Purée sauce in a blender until smooth.
* Find at Latino markets and online (sold as "fresh tamarind"), and look for smooth, soft-looking fruit beneath the brittle shells.