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Lara Lee’s tamarind caramel brownies recipe

Serve straight from the oven with a scoop of ice cream for a decadent dessert.


“My husband considers himself something of a brownie connoisseur (I’d probably describe it as a chocolate addiction), and he told me these tamarind caramel brownies were the best he’d ever eaten,” says Lara Lee.

“I’ll let you be the judge of that (since he is blinded by the extreme bias of love), but what is clear is that tamarind’s sharpness takes flight in sweet desserts, its sweetly sour profile offsetting the richness of the caramel in this deeply chocolatey brownie.”

Tamarind caramel brownies


(Makes 24 squares)

  • 100g macadamia nuts, roughly chopped

  • 250g unsalted butter, cubed, plus extra for greasing

  • 275g dark chocolate, preferably 70% cocoa, chopped into small pieces

  • 250g caster sugar

  • ¼tsp flaky sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling

  • 4 eggs, at room temperature, beaten

  • 165g plain flour, sifted

  • 1tsp espresso powder, or instant coffee granules dissolved in 1tsp hot water

For the tamarind caramel:

  • 50g golden syrup (or maple syrup)

  • 70g caster sugar

  • 50ml double cream

  • 20g unsalted butter

  • Large pinch of flaky sea salt

  • 25ml tamarind paste

Tamarind caramel brownies from A Splash Of Soy (Louise Hagger/PA)


1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan and set up the middle shelf for baking. Roast the macadamia nuts for six to eight minutes, or until golden brown, then remove and set aside.

2. To make the caramel, melt the golden syrup and sugar together in a small heavy-based saucepan on a medium-low heat. Swirl the ingredients in the pan together, rather than stirring them. Once the sugar has dissolved and the caramel starts bubbling, continue cooking on a gentle simmer until it begins to bubble and foam, about three to five minutes in total.

3. Remove from the heat, then stir in the cream and butter until melted and combined. Finally, add the salt and tamarind and stir well. Transfer to a wide bowl (this will help it cool faster), cover and leave to cool in the freezer for 20 minutes, or in the fridge for around 30 minutes, until thick and gooey.

4. Grease and line a 20 x 30cm tin with baking parchment, ensuring there is some overhang of paper over the edges, so you can easily lift the brownies out of the tin later.

5. Begin making the brownie batter. Gently melt the butter in a small saucepan. Once melted, remove from the heat, add the chocolate and leave to sit for two minutes, without stirring it.

6. Stir the chocolate and butter together after two minutes; they should have melted together. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and combine with the sugar and salt.

7. After the chocolate has cooled down for two to three minutes, add the room-temperature beaten eggs gradually, a little at a time, mixing well in between additions by hand. Fold in the sifted flour, macadamia nuts and espresso powder (or instant coffee and water mixture) until well combined.

8. Pour half the brownie mixture into the prepared tin. Remove the tamarind caramel from the freezer or fridge, and drizzle half of the caramel over the brownie mixture in the tin. Cover with the remaining brownie mixture and smooth the surface with a spatula. Drizzle with the remaining caramel, covering the surface as evenly as possible.

9. Using the end of a dessert spoon, gently ripple the caramel through the brownie mixture. To do so, dip the end of the spoon about 1cm deep into the mixture and draw squiggly lines and figure-of-eight shapes all over the surface until the caramel is evenly distributed.

10. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cooked but gooey in the middle. Test with a skewer; there should still be a few moist crumbs on the skewer when inserted into the centre of the brownie, or a very slight smear of brown goo, but you don’t want wet batter. Sprinkle over a large pinch of sea salt while the brownie is still hot from the oven.

11. Leave in the tin until completely cool. Lift the brownie out of the tin using the baking parchment and transfer to a chopping board, then cut into squares and serve.

(Bloomsbury Publishing/PA)

A Splash Of Soy: Everyday Food From Asia by Lara Lee is published by Bloomsbury Publishing on April 27, priced £22. Photography by Louise Hagger.


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