Tamarind concentrate vs tamarind paste, is one better than the other? Here’s what I think.
What Is Tamarind?
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.
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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.
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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 that sounds 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.
In this video I show you how I prepare these two kinds of tamarind for everyday cooking.
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.
Another Use For Tamarind
In my post on gluten free Worcestershire sauce 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 of Worcestershire I did some research and came up with a recipe that doesn’t use tamarind. At the time I thought readers who don’t keep tamarind in their kitchen would be happy with that recipe so I left it as is.
If you are (or want to be) a Worcestershire Sauce snob, then you should experiment to perfect this recipe to your taste. Some day I might try it but I’m no super taster. It’s very possible that I couldn’t even detect the subtle difference in a side-by-side tasting. If you want to figure that out I encourage you to go for it. I’d start by adding 1 teaspoon and go from there.
What do you like to make with tamarind? Did you make the Worcestershire sauce? Let me know in the comments below.