Tamarind Paste vs. Concentrate
I'm making Chef Ana Sortun's Tamarind-Glazed Short Ribs tonight for dinner, and her recipe calls for "tamarind paste", and talks about straining the liquid after cooking to remove the tamarind seeds.
I just checked my fridge, and I have Laxmi Brand Natural Tamarind Concentrate from House of Spices (India). I stirred it up, and there are definitely no "seeds" in the concentrate. Everything I've Googled seems to use these two types of tamarind interchangeably - is that true?
The recipe calls for 2 Tbsp. of tamarind paste - I'm halving the recipe, so I'll use 1 Tbsp. Is the concentrate going to be more highly flavored than the paste, and should I cut the amount used in half yet again?
The paste, generally from Thailand and sold in a gooey black block,
calls for hot water to be worked into it (I always use my fingers in a shallow bowl)
then strained for both seeds and skins.
The end result should be the consistancy of a very thick fruit nectar.
It is quite densely flavored, and while I am not familiar with the Laxmi product,
I cannot imagine that any concentrate would be more highly flavored than the
reconstituted paste. Thai products seem to be more readily available
here in the S.F. area where I live.
After buying her book 'Spices' at the restaurant on a recent trip to Boston,
I have made Chef Anna's short ribs, as well as other recipes,
and I would vote against cutting the amount down.
Perhaps you should plan to add small amounts gradually.
Thanks for the info - I started with 1 Tbsp. for the 3.5 lbs. of short ribs; we'll see how it goes. I know I've seen the paste before here in the Boston area; I've just never bought it because I had the concentrate in my fridge.
BTW, what other recipes have you made from her Spice cookbook?
Well, it's too late now. I used about 1 Tbsp. of the concentrate mixed with the water, as stipulated in the recipe. It's been in the oven for 2 hours, and so far, it smells great. We'll see when I unwrap everything in an hour or so and remove the ribs and strain the liquid to reduce it. :-)