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In Search of Tamarind Paste

I'm in search of tamarind paste for a pad thai recipe. I tried 99 Ranch in Cupertino today with no luck (they only had a tamarind cake). Can anyone recommend a market that carries this between San Jose and San Francisco? I'm heading up to SF tomorrow and can make a detour anywhere along 101.

Also, the recipe calls for "salted preserved radish". I was able to find "chili radish" at 99 Ranch which looks liked picked radish - is this the same thing?


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  1. Try Dana Bazaar (510) 742-0555 in Fremont or Bharat Bazaar (510) 687-0100 in fremont.
    Dana Bazaar has really good pani puri too, give it a try if you go.

    Viks in Berkeley should definetly have it.

    1. Sounds like you are making pad thai. The chili radish isn't exactly what the recipe is calling for but is easier to find and will taste pretty good.

      I have had no problems finding tamarind bricks in Chinatown in SF. There is a market on the corner of Clay and Stockton that carries that sort of thing.

      2 Replies
      1. re: farmersdaughter

        Did you check the oriental food section? Tamarind paste is all over the place. You can also go to a Mexican market, they sell tamarind whole all you need to do is peel it and soak it in water to make the paste. I use to make tamarind juice all I do is add brown sugar and chill.

        1. re: carmyn

          Chavez Market on El Camino in Redwood City might have the paste. They have lots of different tamarind items and I've bought other pastes there, just never looked for the tamarind paste myself. The phone numbers of that store and the other locations are in this link.


      2. I made a vegetarian Thai dinner from recipes from a class in Piedmont. The secret to the pad thai was keeping the noodles from getting too soft or too hard and making small batches. The tamarind brick, of which I still have 95% is used to make the paste. Recipe to follow. Use the chili radish or turnips and unless you are having Yul Brenner is coming to dinner no one will complain. When you are eating, someone will probably say to you "aroi mai?" which means "Is it delicious?" Delicious (a-roi)

        Combine 1/4 cup warm water for every 1 tablespoons of tamarind pulp with seeds. Soak the pulp in the water until soft, from 5 to 15 minutes. With your fingers, rub the pulp until dissolved and the seeds are free of pulp. Strain and discard the seeds and fibers. Use this mixture as is or boil it gently until it takes on a thicker paste-like consistency. Tuk Tuk market or Ranch 99.
        Put the brick in your will so your grandchilden can enjoy it.

        1. You're right about 99 Ranch. They don't carry the paste, but ask for the brick and you can make the paste. I have a jar of paste that was produced in Thailand that I believe I purchased at Whole Foods.
          Has anyone been able to guide you to salted preserved radish?

          1 Reply
          1. re: Leoloveslemons

            I can't find the package right now but it was an aluminum foil envelope and was either turnip or radish but again who is going to know. They guests ate everything and wonder
            of wonders there were no reports of post dinner illness.

          2. I saw "wet tamarind" at the Richmond 99 recently (last month). It was block-like, packaged sealed in plastic, but not like the hard cakes that you have to rehydrate. I assume that it was an aseptic packaging version of tamarind pulp. I have also seen the pulp frozen in the freezer case, but I haven't looked recently.

            The salted preserved radish is typically sold in plastic bags. They look like brownish little worms about 3/4" long and 1/8" wide. Usually says something like "salted preserved radish" in English on the bags. Every 99 should have this, probably in the aisle with the spices and curry paste tins.

            1 Reply
            1. re: twocents

              This is how I am used to finding tamarind pulp/paste.

            2. You've probably already made your pad thai but for future reference...

              I was at the Ranch 99 in Richmond today and they stocked the tamarind paste in the sugar aisle- so with sugar, honey, corn syrup etc. It's in a white plastic container with a light blue top.

              2 Replies
              1. re: mochimunchie

                After countless labor-intensive attempts at grinding, boiling and crushing tamarind flavor out of the brick I resigned myself to the tamarind concentrate. It comes in a simple sealed plastic 'coffee cup' sized container (opaque/clear plastic with a red cap).

                My Pad Thai or curry prep time is cut by 30 min with no compromise in quality

                1. re: neil

                  Yes, I have dealt with the brick in the past but am looking to avoid it this time as I'm preparing many dishes for a large group. Can anyone give me a definitive location in SF proper to get the jarred paste? Central/chinatown location preferred. Can someone confirm that whole foods has it?

              2. I was browsing this board and was surprised to find that my original post still had life! Here's a follow-up:

                I was able to find what I needed at Battambang Market (339 Eddy St., SF). I found references to this market on other Chowhound posts, so I decided to check it out. It was close to my hotel...close, but a world away. I walked down a few blocks from the JW Marriott and turned right on Eddy. Whoa. I was now in the Tenderloin. I may be from the ‘burbs, but I’m not a prude and go to the City a lot. But I wasn’t quite expecting this.

                I hurriedly walked past several guys asleep on the sidewalk and a kid on the corner with a wad of cash in his hands. By the time I made it to the 200 block I was over my shock and knew I was getting close. Then I saw 8 police cars on the next corner. I felt slightly more protected, but also figured I stumbled upon a major crime scene. But then I felt better when I realized that the Tenderloin police sub-station was on that block!

                The Battambang Market was right next door, so I ducked inside. What a great place! Crowded, overstocked, narrow aisles packed so full that items were falling onto the floor. They had a small selection of fresh produce and many packaged goods. I found the salted, preserved radish with relative ease, but had to ask for the tamarind paste. They had both a concentrate and a brick of "wet" tamarind, which is what I chose.

                I still haven't made the pad thai recipe yet - I'm going to give it a try this weekend.