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stevea

Tamarind

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The beans come stuck in sticky sour goo inside the pods... that is the paste. The block form is the paste minus the beans.

Moisten the paste and push it through a sieve to get a consistency that's easy to work with.

Tamarind makes a great replacement for citrus in mixology... Making sours with tamarind is quite enjoyable. Tamarind margaritas are also nice.

I also use the stuff in Thai recipes like pad thai, or when a dish seems to need a little brightening and I don't have citrus around. Also works nicely in marinades.

I was recently introduced to a variety of tamarind that brings its own sweetness and is a lot like a sweet and sour candy straight out of the pods... yummy stuff.


Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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I get the blocks of tamarind pulp mixed with seeds. I put a chunk - say, walnut-sized - in a small bowl, pour about a cup of boiling water over it, and let it steep with occasional stirring. The concentration can be adjusted, of course. The liquid can go into all kinds of things, and this treatment is my main use of tamarind so far.

Your post is quite timely, even though I'm not using paste, because just last night I hauled out my block of (old) tamarind after a long period of neglect. While it was steeping I washed and patted dry some chicken thighs, then sprinkled them with sweet paprika, salt, and crumbled saffron threads. Into a hot, lightly oiled pan they went. I seared the thighs on one side, added garlic, seared the thighs on the other side, then deglazed the lot with the tamarind liquid. Next I reduced the heat to a simmer and covered the pan, occasionally lifting it to turn the thighs to make sure they were coated as they cooked. Before they were quite done I took the lid off and let the liquid cook down, again turning for coating, and finished the cooking.

I was very happy with that experiment. The spices played off each other beautifully, and I ate far more chicken than I should have as a result. I'd never before tried sprinkling crushed saffron threads instead of making an infusion. I was surprised at how well that worked.

Hot tamarind drink is another fine use of the stuff. I'd think paste would lend itself well to that.


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I have a Kunz recipe that calls for a cup of tamarind paste and what I do I find at the store? Tamarind liquid.

Could someone explain the mysteries of tamarind conversions? I have seen it in beans, block form, and in liquid. Oddly, I've not seen paste.

And most important of all, how do you all like to use it?

You should be able to find tamarind paste in most Indian stores, so if there's one accessible to you, go there. I prefer to use the paste that comes in a plastic jar, which does not include seeds, only the paste. A small jar will probably last you for some time, as the paste is very concentrated, such that a teaspoon will often be plenty for flavoring your dish. If you get the paste in that form, it's a cinch to use it: Just measure it out with a spoon and insert it according to the recipe (it's good to cook it some, so as to mix the tamarind paste into the rest of the flavors, but I could imagine just slathering a bit of paste on without further cooking, if that's the taste you want). Tamarind is a wonderful flavor, best in fresh form off the tree, but still good in paste form. Many people who've had super-sweetened tamarind chutney in Indian restaurants as a condiment for their papadams or pooris don't realize that tamarind is a tart, acid flavor somewhat analogous to lemon (though different). When it is used well, the diner should be able to perceive the sourness of the tamarind flavor as part of the taste of the finished dish.


Michael aka "Pan

 

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I have a Kunz recipe that calls for a cup of tamarind paste and what I do I find at the store? Tamarind liquid.

Could someone explain the mysteries of tamarind conversions? I have seen it in beans, block form, and in liquid. Oddly, I've not seen paste.

And most important of all, how do you all like to use it?

Mottmott: I prefer getting the pulp from the whole fruit (maybe the beans you refer to, usually found in bulk or in packets at the Mexican food section), available in Mexican markets. Get 'em when they're soft rather than brittle. The taste is fresher than packaged, frozen or not. You just have to peel the tan colored skin from the fruits and under running water, push the pulp out into a collander. Then pick out the seeds. The pulp is used for all the things the others have mentioned, plus agua fresca de tamarindo. In Mexican joints, it's served from a lemonade cooler machine, but ask whether it's fresh or made with a concentrate. It's good with chipotle as a sauce and many other Mexican/ Southwestern recipes. Mark Miller is a proponent and has good recipes.

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A cup of tamarind paste? Damn, thats' a LOT of tamarind... Keep in mind that it's sour, sour, sour! Not sure what Kunz is, but I would just add it to taste, maybe adding a few tablespoons at a time.

Paste and block form are probably the same, although the paste may have filtered out the seeds and strands and thus be a bit more sour. Personally I wouldn't want to deal with the whole fruit, even Thais buy it in convenient block/paste form (I use a thick liquid form sold in jars).

In SE Asia tamarind is used to add a sour flavor to dishes, much in the same way as lime. In Thailand it's most commonly used in various sour dishes, for example tom yam or tom khrong. The Thais would throw the measuring cup away and add to taste.

Austin

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I have a Kunz recipe that calls for a cup of tamarind paste and what I do I find at the store? Tamarind liquid.

Could someone explain the mysteries of tamarind conversions? I have seen it in beans, block form, and in liquid. Oddly, I've not seen paste.

And most important of all, how do you all like to use it?

Mottmott: I prefer getting the pulp from the whole fruit (maybe the beans you refer to, usually found in bulk or in packets at the Mexican food section), available in Mexican markets. Get 'em when they're soft rather than brittle. The taste is fresher than packaged, frozen or not. You just have to peel the tan colored skin from the fruits and under running water, push the pulp out into a collander. Then pick out the seeds. The pulp is used for all the things the others have mentioned, plus agua fresca de tamarindo. In Mexican joints, it's served from a lemonade cooler machine, but ask whether it's fresh or made with a concentrate. It's good with chipotle as a sauce and many other Mexican/ Southwestern recipes. Mark Miller is a proponent and has good recipes.

From what you and others say, it sounds like a cup of paste would be a lot of tamarind!

I'm not sure I can find the beans here on the other coast, though I'll look. Funny thing: once when in Temecula, I saw some in a market, When I tried to "taste" one, I cracked a molar on the seed and had to cap the tooth. Well, not funny funny. :angry:

Edited to add: I checked the recipe in Kunz' Elements of Taste again. Sure enough, it calls for a cup. This is a braising liquid for 8 lbs of beef short ribs:

1 c chopped peeled ginger

3 Tbs mango picle

2 cloves garlic

1 cup tamarind paste

1/3-1/2 c dark br sugar

3 Tbs tomato paste

2 cans (28 oz) tomatoes

5 Tbs worcestershire

3 Tbs spice mix (incl: allspice, cloves, coriander, bay, cumin szechuan ppr, blk ppr, cinnamon, salt)

4 cups water

So far the 2-3 recipes I've made from this book have been terrific.


Edited by Mottmott (log)

"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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I get the blocks of tamarind pulp mixed with seeds.  I put a chunk - say, walnut-sized - in a small bowl, pour about a cup of boiling water over it, and let it steep with occasional stirring.  The concentration can be adjusted, of course.  The liquid can go into all kinds of things, and this treatment is my main use of tamarind so far.

this is also how I use tamarind. I find that the blocks last forever this way.

I've grown addicted to drizzling this over my curries and pad thai.

There's a local restaurant that makes frozen tamarind margaritas. oddly, I'm not crazy about it... too tart and looks like a pile of wet sand!


flavor floozy

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Looks like there have been a whole bunch of topics on tamarind here on eGullet--just plug the word into Search and they'll all pop up. In addition, there was a whole lot of useful info on using tamarind in the pad thai cookoff topic. Heh--the remainder of the block of tamarind I bought to participate in that thread is still cooling its figurative heels in my fridge. Tasty stuff, but a little goes a loooooong way.

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Heh--the remainder of the block of tamarind I bought to participate in that thread is still cooling its figurative heels in my fridge. Tasty stuff, but a little goes a loooooong way.

It shore do.

FWIW, it doesn't have to live in the refrigerator, if you're short on space. My block has been kept tightly wrapped in the cupboard for over a year, and aside from being harder (I had to take a very large knife to it to get that chunk) it seems fine. I can't detect a stale or rancid flavor, for instance. I don't know if the refrigerator would prevent that hardening.


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I have a Kunz recipe that calls for a cup of tamarind paste and what I do I find at the store? Tamarind liquid.

Could someone explain the mysteries of tamarind conversions? I have seen it in beans, block form, and in liquid. Oddly, I've not seen paste.

And most important of all, how do you all like to use it?

This is a little different, as it's not Tamarind paste, but I received a bottle of Stonewall Kitchen's Tamarind sauce for Christmas, and I have been using it on everything! It has the great sweet tart flavor of tamarind with some Indian spices and is wonderful on seafood, pasta, etc. It's almost time to get another bottle.

:) Pam

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I wonder if the post above refers to a version of tamarind chutney,

which is great, especially paired with green (mint+cilantro) chutney,

as topping for chaats etc and dip for the samosa/pakora genre of eats.....

you can get tamarind chutney and green chutney in indian stores.

don't confuse tamarind chutney (which is tamarind ground up with

raisins, water, sugar, salt, red chili powder etc etc)

with tamarind pulp or tamarind paste referred above.

milagai

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When you say tamarind paste, block, etc. - is it ripe or unripe? Ripe is brown, unripe is green. I'm asking because we always use unripe tamarind as souring agent for soups and stews. Ripe ones are usually candied.

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That's really interesting, PPPans. I called my mother to see if she shared my memory that the tamarind used in curries and so forth in Terengganu was always ripe. She does. And neither of us remember unripe tamarind being used there.

On the other hand, the tamarind they were using was asam gelugor. This stub of a Malay-language Wikipedia article states that the scientific name for this tree is Garcinia Atroviridis, whereas asam jawa is Tamarindus Indica, the Indian tamarind and therefore the "real" tamarind. Makan time explains that asam gelugor is not actually tamarind, but is instead related to mangosteen. Yet everyone in Malaysia calls it "tamarind."


Michael aka "Pan

 

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On the other hand, the tamarind they were using was asam gelugor. This stub of a Malay-language Wikipedia article states that the scientific name for this tree is Garcinia Atroviridis, whereas asam jawa is Tamarindus Indica, the Indian tamarind and therefore the "real" tamarind. Makan time explains that asam gelugor is not actually tamarind, but is instead related to mangosteen. Yet everyone in Malaysia calls it "tamarind."

Indeed Pan! Asam gelugor doesn't look anything like Tamarindus indica, sampalok/sampaluc to us Filipinos - picture of ripe fruits below.

gallery_35373_1761_34572.jpg

On the left, still with some green is a semi-ripe fruit. The shiny seeds are in the middle. If eating the fruit, crack the shells open, discard then suck till the flesh comes off the seeds (poor Mottmott).

The unripe fruit would be full, flesh sticking to the shells as it hasn't contracted yet. I'll take pictures when I find some in the marketplace.


Edited by PPPans (log)

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That is interesting information! My blocks of tamarind are brown, and the tamar hindi (tamarind drink) I've had in Egypt is a golden brown. I didn't know there was a green/unripe tamarind use. I wonder which "tamarind" we're using?


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Tbe brown color comes when the tamarind (tamr-e-hind = dates of India)

is ripe. This is typically what's sold in stores and used in recipes etc,

in India

Unripe has (in India) limited uses: small boys and girls throw

stones at the trees, bring them down, crack them open, dunk in

salt and red chili powder and feast, despite dire threats from parents

and teachers....

There are several beliefs connected with unripe tamarind, no doubt

aimed at discouring the kids' depredations, but kids don't seem to care...

Milagai

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I was telling PPPans that there's no green tamarind available here as I've only ever seen the blocks, pastes, and liquids -- but recently I found frozen green tamarind (from the Philippines) at Asian Food Center in New Jersey (Rte. 22). I also found some green tamarind (in paste form) at my local Wegman's (Northeast PA), in the Indian food aisle. Was in a hurry and didn't check to see where it came from though.


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I have a recipe that calls for tamarind pulp... but all I can find are: fresh, paste, and concentrate forms. I bought all three, but it seems to me that the paste (reconstituted) makes most sense in context. The tamarind figures in a curry sauce that goes with fish.... actually, see the dish here. The chef sent me the recipe, but the ingredients list calls simply for "tamarind pulp."

Any suggestions as to tamarind paste-to liquid (what kind) ration to get the equivalent of "tamarind pulp," as called for by the recipe?


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I have a recipe that calls for tamarind pulp... but all I can find are: fresh, paste, and concentrate forms.  I bought all three, but it seems to me that the paste (reconstituted) makes most sense in context.  The tamarind figures in a curry sauce that goes with fish.... actually, see the dish here.  The chef sent me the recipe, but the ingredients list calls simply for "tamarind pulp."

Any suggestions as to tamarind paste-to liquid (what kind) ration to get the equivalent of "tamarind pulp," as called for by the recipe?

I don't think you can make the paste seem like pulp, because the paste will already be smoother and somewhat thinner than the pulp. How does the recipe call for the pulp to be used? I'm guessing that there's liquid to be added to the pulp, or else the pulp is added into some sauce components that are later strained. Is that right?

Since you're starting with tamarind paste, you can probably add it to the sauce until you have the right flavor.


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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the fruit makes a nice substitute for the green apple sour candy chews that have been so popular with kids for the past few years. Chewy, and plenty sour enough!


"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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I caught a Michael Symon recipe on "The Chew" last week for Pad Thai.

He used Tamarind. I'd NEVER be able to find this ingredient anywhere near where I live.

Is it worth special ordering? Or is there some adequate substitute?

Linda

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There is no substitute for fresh tamarind, unfortunately (based on my own searches in Canada until I finally did the sane thing and moved to the tropics). If you're serious about Thai, Indian, or South American cooking, it's worth ordering a pound or so, but I'd honestly start searching the ethnic markets. If you're in western Montana, try going to Helena and looking in the asian grocery (they had one 15 or so years ago when I visited, and it's likely still there) - they're almost certain to have at least the paste if not packaged shelled meat with seeds in it.

Of course, if you do find a pack with seeds, save them out and plant them. A tamarind tree can be kept as a houseplant in a largeish pot, and will start blooming and fruiting in about its third or fourth year.


Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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You can also get tamarind already processed into a useable paste. If you don't have any Asian groceries near you, look online.


"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" (coined while playing with my food at Lolita).

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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Virtually any asian grocery store, no matter how small should have the paste. If not, Amazon has paste for $10 or fresh tamarind for $15. You can also get it jars which are more convenient but I don't like the flavor as much.


Edited by Shalmanese (log)

PS: I am a guy.

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