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January 12, 2016

Tamarind Concentrate vs Tamarind Paste

Post by Cinde Little

Tamarind concentrate vs tamarind paste is one better than the other? Here’s what I think.

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Tamarind Concentrate vs Tamarind Paste
Tamarind Concentrate vs Tamarind Paste -photo credit Jim Little

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 by adding 3 parts boiling water to 1 part tamarind from the pliable block. Soak in water for 5-10 minutes mashing 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 am completely happy with the results I get using tamarind concentrate for everyday cooking or even when I’m preparing a gourmet dinner.

Recipes Using Tamarind

No matter what kind of tamarind you purchase it should be part of your Asian pantry (click here to read more on that). These are some of the recipes I make with tamarind.

Shrimp Pad Thai

Shrimp Pad Thai topped with cilantro, chopped peanuts and lime wedges.
Shrimp Pad Thai -photo credit Jim Little

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Skewers of Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce
Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce -photo credit Jim Little

Thai Pork and Vegetable Curry

A wok full of Thai Pork and Vegetable Curry
Thai Pork and Vegetable Curry -photo credit Jim Little

What do you like to make with tamarind? Let me know in the comments below.

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