Anyone who has lived in India will know about Dabur’s Hajmola, the digestive tablet packed with various spices that are known to aid digestion. Hajmola became so popular that they released candy with same spices in two different flavours, Imli (tamarind) and Aum (Green Mango). Now I’ve made no secret of my love for tamarind here and here and my almost equal love for green mango here.
So it is a logical conclusion that I went through a phase when I was positively addicted to Hajmola candy. I may or may not have, on one trip to India, purchased all of the candies at one tiny street-side shop to bring back with me. I left the shop keeper completely bewildered, as he handed over the large bag of candies to a fully grown adult with not a kid in sight.
When December’s Sweet Adventures Blog hop theme of Truffles was announced by JJ of 84th & 3rd, I had the borderline insane idea of creating a Hajmola candy inspired spiced tamarind truffle. It was one of those things that could have failed miserably and yet in a strange way, it worked and the results were really quite enjoyable. I have avoided adding sugar but if you like things a little sweeter, throw in about a tablespoon of honey.
I have said before that I like things to be textural around here, so I added cashews but you could choose any nut. The toasted sesame seeds that coat the whole business add a lovely crunch and totally redeem themselves for getting annoyingly stuck in your teeth, but you could use shredded coconut or more crushed nuts if you feel like it.
Spiced Tamarind and Date Truffles
1 ping pong ball sized piece of tamarind
3/4 cup boiling water
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp black pepper
3/4 tsp kala namak (Indian black salt)
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/3 cup cashews
1/2 cup sesame seeds
Shred the tamarind roughly with your fingers and place in a small bowl. Pour the boiling water over it. Allow it to soak until the water cools enough to handle, mashing with a fork a couple of times while it is still hot.
In a non-stick fry pan, roast the cumin, black pepper and cloves until fragrant. Grind to a powder with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder and set aside.
In the same pan, toast the sesame seeds until they are golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside in a food-grade plastic or paper bag.
In the same pan, heat the coconut oil and fry the cashews till golden brown. With a spoon, remove the cashews from the pan and set aside, leaving as much of the oil behind as possible.
When the tamarind/water mixture has cooled enough to handle, use a (clean) hand to squish the tamarind between your fingers to make a thick tamarind flavoured water. Strain the water into the frypan with the oil, on medium heat. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes or until the water has visibly reduced.
Add the dates and cook, stirring, until the dates are softened (about 7-10min). While stirring, add the spice mix and black salt.
Allow to cool and blitz in the food processor with the cashews until a smooth dough forms. Roll into balls (mine were about a tablespoon of mixture each). Drop the balls into the bag of sesame seeds, 3 or 4 at a time. Hold the top of the bag closed and shake the bag to coat the truffles. Place the sesame coated truffles on a plate or tray and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours to firm up before eating or serving.