Ever since my trip to Ithaca Tofu in preparation for making Emmachi, I’ve been slowly chewing, melting, and grinning my way through a box of tamarind: nature’s dried fruit candy. 

Here’s an easy, bright recipe to use the winter veg!

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Butternut Squash and Mustard Green Salad; Ginger-Tamarind Dressing

You can substitute any roots: parsnips, turnips, daikon radish, kohlrabi, sweet potato, carrots, heck even add some beets!

  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


  • 2 cups potatoes, cubed
  • 2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 bunch chopped mustard greens (substitute with kale, spinach, or chard)
  • 1/2 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice, half a lemon or lime
  • 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
  • 3 ounces water
  • 1 pod tamarind, shelled
  • 3 leeks, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds


  1. Prepare the roots first. You can choose to a) boil them or b) roast them (more delicious).
  2. To boil; submerge in a pot of water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, until tender. Remove and drain water over a bowl to recyle water for preparing the greens. Rinse in cold water and transfer to the refrigerator while you prepare the dressing.
  3. To roast; preheat oven to 400. Spread the roots on a baking sheet. Coat with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Bake for 45 minutes, or until browned and tender. Transfer to the refrigerator while you prepare the dressing.
  4. Next, blanch the greens. Chop the greens coarsely, into small pieces. Prepare a bowl of very cold water. If you boiled the roots, reheat this water in a pot, adding one or two cups more to replace lost water. Bring to a boil. When the water is boiling, add the greens for 30 seconds, in batches, until they turn bright green. With a slotted spoon, transfer the greens to the bowl of cold water. Drain and allow to dry spread out on a tea towel or with a salad spinner. Transfer to a bowl with the roots.
  5. Next, the sauce! Heat the canola oil in a small skillet. Add the garlic and saute until golden. Add the ginger and white wine and stir for a minute. Add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, lemon or lime juice and brown sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add the water and tamarind pulp. Cover and simmer on low for about ten minutes, or until the tamarind is visibly cooked and mushy. Use a fork to mash the pulp into the sauce and remove the fiber and seeds. Continue simmering on low for five more minutes. Add the leeks last, gently sauteing for a couple minutes. Remove from stove top and allow to cool for about ten minutes. Whisk in the salt and pepper, add more to taste.
  6. Last, in a small, dry skillet, toast the sesame seeds over medium heat. Don’t walk away or they’ll burn! When they start to pop, transfer to the bowl of roots and greens.
  7. Mix the roots, greens and sesame together and toss with the dressing. Gets better with age!

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