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Tamarind Concentrate vs Tamarind Paste
The pod of the tamarind tree contains seeds that are covered by a fleshy pulp. It adds a unique fruity sourness to many dishes and is available in Asian and Indian specialty shops. Tamarind concentrate is a thick dark paste sold in small plastic tubs. Tamarind paste, sometimes called pulp, is sold as a pliable block wrapped in plastic. Both will keep at room temperature for more than a year.
How to Use Tamarind Concentrate
Tamarind concentrate is definitely easier to use. Simply reconstitute the thick paste with water. Add 2 parts water to 1 part concentrate and stir until combined. Measure and use in any recipe calling for tamarind paste. If your recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of tamarind paste, mix 1 tablespoon of tamarind concentrate and 2 tablespoons of water.
How to Use Tamarind Paste
Make tamarind paste using equal amounts of boiling water and tamarind pulp from the pliable block. Soak in water for 10-15 minutes then stir with a fork until it is a uniform consistency. Pour the mixture into a strainer pressing on the solids to extract the juice and pulp. Discard the seeds and fibre. This is the paste you will measure to use in any recipe calling for tamarind.
This process can be done with each use or you can prepare the entire package using this method then freeze it in small, usable amounts. Some people use ice cube trays to do this.
If this sounds too tedious then go for the tamarind concentrate. I’m completely happy with the results I get using tamarind concentrate for everyday cooking, and even when I’m preparing a Gourmet Dinner.
Tamarind – The Recipes
No matter what kind of tamarind you purchase it should be part of your Asian pantry (click here to read more on pantry staples). These are some of the recipes I make with tamarind.
Worcestershire Sauce Without Tamarind
My gluten free Worcestershire sauce recipe is good enough for me and I can make it faster than making a trip to the store. In the Worcestershire post I explain that I’ve known for a very long time tamarind is one of the ingredients in brand name Worcestershire Sauce. However, when I first needed a gluten free version I did some research and came up with this recipe that doesn’t use tamarind. Some day I might add a teaspoon of tamarind and see what I think, if I remember. But it’s an ingredient used in small amounts so it’s likely that I won’t be able to notice the difference. My husband is the super taster in our house and he may pick up on a subtle difference like that…if I remember to do it.
What do you like to make with tamarind? Let me know in the comments below.