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Jul 11, 2006 09:29 PM

What do I do with tamarind paste?

I've been coming across recipes that call for tamarind paste for years & I ran across a jar the other day, bought it, came home, and can't remember a single use for it! Please send hints and suggestions. Thanks!

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  1. The first thing that pops into my head is Tamarindo! You can mix the paste with water and sugar and make a lovely drink! :)


    1. It's used a lot in Indian and Thai cooking. If you do a google search you should find lots of recipes. I like it in my lamb marinade, about a half-tablespoon mixed into red wine, soy, a big handful of ground peppercorns (I use black, white and green). I butterfly a leg of lamb, insert slivers of garlic into the meat and let it sit in the marinade for a few hours. Then it's grilled over high heat. Sliced thinly, it is tangy, smoky and aromatic.

      1. Nigella's sweet potato and chickpea curry uses tamarind paste and it's delicious - the tamarind adds a great sweet/sour complexity to the flavours. I think I originally picked up the recipe from this board but here is one of many links that come up on google:

        1 Reply
        1. re: peppermint pate

          I made this last night! It's my new favorite curry recipe. I've doctored it quite a bit, but generally keep the spioes the same (including the tamarind paste).
          A couple of months ago, I accidently added two Scotch bonnet peppers to the blend. It was inedible to a few, but outrageous to those with an adventurous spirit.

          The tamarind paste is also found in Eastern European cooking (Russian, Georgian, etc.)

        2. I use it in some Asian/Sub-Continental/Indonesian dishes. I have bought the liquid concentrate but have found that I prefer to buy the block and soften it in warm water and push it through a strained to seperate the pulp from the seeds. I think is has better flavor.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Candy

            Interesting - I thought I was buying the paste but realized that I bought a block of the pulp/seeds instead. Not having realized it until I was partway through cooking, I ended up adding some into the curry directly (I pulled out the seeds). It dissolved a bit as the curry cooked but I still ended up with a few flavour-packed (but maybe a bit too intense) nuggets of tamarind. Next time I'll dissolve in water and then press strain, as you suggest - how long does it typically take to dissolve - an hour? Thanks.

            1. re: peppermint pate

              It does not really dissolve so much as soften. It takes about 30-45 minutes in hot water. Then you can push the pulp throuhg a strainer.

          2. I mix it with orange juice, lemon juice, lime juice, salt, pepper, garlic and oil and make a baste for roasted turkey or chicken -- I've also brined in this (increase the salt, obviously) and it's incredibly good.