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

What Is Tamarind?

Tamarind is the pod of the tamarind tree and it contains seeds that are covered by a fleshy pulp. It adds a unique fruity sourness to many dishes and can be found 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 and 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 fancy dinner for friends.

PIN Tamarind for later… 

Tamarind Concentrate vs Tamarind Paste, how to use and substitute these ingredients in everyday cooking.

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Tamarind Concentrate vs Tamarind Paste on YouTube

In this video I show you how I prepare, use and substitute both forms of tamarind for my everyday cooking.

Tamarind, The Secret Ingredient in Worcestershire Sauce

In my post for homemade 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 can experiment and perfect this recipe to your taste. I’m not a super taster, I’m just an everyday cook who loves food from around the world. All of it!

It’s possible that I could detect the subtle difference in a side-by-side tasting but I’m not overly confident about that. More importantly, I’d rather be doing a side-by-side tasting of gluten free baked goods or maybe two different versions of peanut sauce. (I love peanut sauce, this is my all time favourite recipe – peanut sauce with kecap manis.)

If you want to do a side-by-side tasting of this recipe as written, against your ‘improved’ version using tamarind then go for it. I’d start by adding 1 teaspoon of tamarind paste or tamarind concentrate (diluted as directed above and go from there.

A bottle of homemade gluten free Worcestershire Sauce and pictures of all the ingredients.

Whether you buy tamarind concentrate or tamarind paste make it part of your Asian pantry. To see what else I keep in my pantry check out this post, Gluten Free Asian Pantry.

I’d love to hear in the comments below what you make with tamarind and if you made this recipe or tweaked it to your satisfaction.


Recipes Using Tamarind

Click on the (hard to see) text on the bottom of each image to go to the recipe/blog post.

10 Comments

  • Thanks, Jen, I’m glad the video was helpful

  • Jon says:

    Thank you so much! Perfect. I was unsure how to differentiate between the two. What I want to cook is this. There is a local coffee shop/cafe here in Bangkok that makes breaded shrimp with tamarind chilly sauce that is sooo delicious. They never give enough sauce though, just an artistic dribble leaving me wanting more. so, I though I can make it at home! Both variations, paste and concentrate can be purchased locally and cheaply. Looking forward to experimenting with it. Love that tamarind taste!

    • Cinde Little says:

      Hi Jon! Thanks for letting me know. Those breaded shrimp sound amazing, I too love the taste of tamarind. Have fun with your recipe testing!

  • Jen says:

    Hi Cinde,

    Thanks for sharing the video. So easy to grasp the variation in tamarind thanks to your explanation.👍😉 Now I’m off to making my pad Thai. 🍜🍤🥚

  • Shonya says:

    Can’t wait to try, but please improve the formatting for print so one can just print the recipe and also, so it needn’t take so many pages.

    • Cinde Little says:

      Hi Shonya! If you click on the recipe you want to make you’ll be taken to that page. Once there it is formatted better for printing, most recipes print on 1 page. The blog posts are very long and not ideal for printing. I hope that helps and good luck with whatever you’re making.

  • Mick says:

    Great video! The descriptions of “how to” online were confusing me and then I found this video. It’s so simple and her explanation of how to use the 2 products to get to the same place was simple, Recipe for cooking with it are here also.

    • Cinde Little says:

      Thanks Mick. I try to be as clear as possible since I found lots of instructions confusing when I was learning to cook. Happy cooking!

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