Tamarind Paste

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Tamarind Paste

Postby Rahsaan » Sun Feb 09, 2014 5:06 pm

Does anyone else use this stuff?

I remember years ago I experimented with the actual tamarind pods or bricks, but it was always a pain to separate the seeds and it never really worked out.

Last year I discovered this stuff: http://www.amazon.com/Neeras-Tamarind-Concentrate/dp/B000EA0DF8 at Whole Foods and was immediately taken by the concise ingredient list: tamarind fruit. (Too often these extra flavor 'sauces' have way too many ingredients/sodium/fat). But unlike the fruit pods, it is a dark syrup that is incredibly easy to use and incredibly full of flavor. Perfect combination!

The one down side is that the lovely mouthpuckering sourness is not wine-friendly, but then again we don't drink wine most nights.

Thus far I've mainly been adding it to my beans, cabbage salad, various sauces and such, but then it often becomes a background note. Anyone else use this stuff and have other ideas?
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Re: Tamarind Paste

Postby Dale Williams » Sun Feb 09, 2014 7:13 pm

Unfortunately, the only things I remember using the tamarind paste we have for is with beans (lentils in a kind of sambar) and as a marinade for pork and lamb (which you don't eat!)
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Re: Tamarind Paste

Postby Paul Winalski » Sun Feb 09, 2014 8:54 pm

Yes, I use tamarind paste wherever tamarind pulp is called for in Indian recipes now. I used to use the bricks of dried tamarind pulp, but as you did I found the reconstitution and filtering process too much of a bother. The only drawback to the tamarind paste from a jar is that a lot of recipes assume you're using fresh or reconstituted pulp and so determining the amount of paste to use sometimes requires some extra thought.

-Paul W.
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Re: Tamarind Paste

Postby Hoke » Sun Feb 09, 2014 10:35 pm

Love the stuff, Rahsaan.

I get it here locally at the Uwajimaya Asian food store, but it's available in a lot of the Mexican specialty stores as well.

Unbelievably cheap at less than $2 for a good sized block of the wet tamarind, and all the messy processing is done.

Use it frequently in cocktails: makes a superb Tamarindo Margarita (Wet Tamarind mixed with lime juice, a touch of orange juice, good triple sec if desired, good reposado tequila, and served up with a chipotle-cinnamon rim). Also, there's a local noodles shop that makes a tamarind-based Malaysian style noodle soup that is just so incredibly tasty that I've taken to adapting lots of soups to a tamarind base.

Our local but internationally known Thai/pan-Asian eatery, Pok Pok (with an outlet in New York City now,and apparently popular there as well) has a dish-that-may-not-be-removed item, Vietnamese Tamarind Chicken Wings, that are devastatingly good---either the best or second best chicken wings I've ever had, with the wings from Points East Pub in Milwaukee WI fighting it out constantly as my other fave---and they're pretty habit-forming.

So, yes, I share your joy.
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Re: Tamarind Paste

Postby Rahsaan » Sun Feb 09, 2014 11:33 pm

Cocktails/drinks! There's an idea. Unfortunately we don't really make them, but it's certainly a good idea.
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Re: Tamarind Paste

Postby Hoke » Mon Feb 10, 2014 1:56 am

Rahsaan wrote:Cocktails/drinks! There's an idea. Unfortunately we don't really make them, but it's certainly a good idea.


But you can make agua tamarindo! Prolly want to wait until summer, but some of that wet tamarind in a clay jug of fresh water, let it evaporate just a bit to cool it down...very refreshing.
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Re: Tamarind Paste

Postby Jo Ann Henderson » Mon Feb 10, 2014 3:04 am

It's used as the sour note in some Thai recipes. Also used in some Caribbean cooking It freezes well.
"...To undersalt deliberately in the name of dietary chic is to omit from the music of cookery the indispensable bass line over which all tastes and smells form their harmonies." -- Robert Farrar Capon
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