Turning tamarind in to tama-edible
I've been battling trying to get a good pad Thai sauce for weeks now and it always turns out too watery and weak-tasting. I also can't handle the smell of fish sauce most days and have to be in a very specific mood to be willing to use it.
I get tamarind in those soft bricks and was wondering if instead of straining them to get all the seeds and veins out, can I just purée it with water? Maybe even just using a brick and mortar with water? I find that taking all of the solids out ends up reducing the brick to so much less edible stuff than you would first estimate.
I figure if I can blend the tamarind (seeds and all) with water and end up with a pasta sauce type of consistency, it might work out better for me. I'd imagine that as long as I add palm sugar and lime juice,I should get a good taste out of it. What do you think? I'm just looking for any tips. I hate watery pad Thai sauces.
I used to soak it in hot water then push it through a sieve.
Now I just buy the little tubs of tamarind extract.
Soak your tamarind in warm water for an hour up to overnight. In a pinch you can microwave it in water for one minute, allow to cool to safe-to-touch, and strain. Use your fingers to get as much pulp away from the seeds and membranes as you can. Be sure to boil your tamarind pulp once to kill impurities. You can do a second soak and strain for a weaker tamarind water, boil, add sugar, and allow to cool and you have tamarind drink. For the first strain of pulp, you can add a little salt and sugar as preservatives and keep the pulp in the fridge for a couple of weeks.
I would not recommend blending in the membranes and seeds. They are just fiber, but the inside of the seed has a strong astringent tannin-y taste, and that will spoil your pad thai sauce flavor. You can actually roast the naked seeds for eating, but I have never done that before, I have only purchased roasted seeds, so I am not sure how/at what point that is done (like young seeds, dried, or what).
FWIW I got a whole seed out of the block of tamarind paste and after soaking the seed for about three weeks in water in sunlight (changing the water every day or so), it swelled, and then the formerly hard outer layer came off. I planted it and now have a rather beautiful foot high house plant. It is growing actively. And the leaves are light sensors and close up every night (if you are looking for a science project or some such thing.)