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Tamarind


stevea
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  • 2 years later...

Host's note: this post and the next three posts were moved from the December Holidays Around the World: What Do You Celebrate, and What Do You Eat? topic; this post responds to a post in that topic.

 

 

Tamarind puree!  Do you like tamarind drinks?  I've usually had it cold, but I seem to recall that hot tamarind is wonderfully warming drink - almost but not quite entirely unlike tea.  :wink: I also like tamarind as part of a chicken glaze.  Haven't tried it with shrimp, but I bet it would be good.

 

...and yes, we have a serious need to clean out our pantry, but it will be a months-long project, not just a couple of weeks' worth.

Edited by Smithy (log)

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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Tamarind puree!  Do you like tamarind drinks?  I've usually had it cold, but I seem to recall that hot tamarind is wonderfully warming drink - almost but not quite entirely unlike tea.  :wink: I also like tamarind as part of a chicken glaze.  Haven't tried it with shrimp, but I bet it would be good.

 

...and yes, we have a serious need to clean out our pantry, but it will be a months-long project, not just a couple of weeks' worth.

I would like more info on using tamarind in drinks. I have been experimenting, trying it in place of lime in cold drinks but have not really hit upon anything good.

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Tamarind puree!  Do you like tamarind drinks?  I've usually had it cold, but I seem to recall that hot tamarind is wonderfully warming drink - almost but not quite entirely unlike tea.  :wink: I also like tamarind as part of a chicken glaze.  Haven't tried it with shrimp, but I bet it would be good.

 

A hot tamarind-based drink would be pretty good during cold, grey, and clammy season. Have you made/come across any?

Also, I wonder how it would work out, replacing some other liquid in something baked (the puree I have is very runny). It's pretty sour, so it might do strange, pH-related things.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
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That's an interesting point about the pH. You might be able to get some good rise in baked goods with tamarind and a discreet amount of baking soda. (I've not heard of anything like it, but it might be worth playing around a bit.)

The tamarind drinks I've had were simply tamarind sweetened to taste with sugar, and the lot diluted with hot or iced water. Both of my cookbooks that talk about tamarind drinks begin with the pulp, instead of the puree, so the proportions of sugar to tamarind might be a bit off.

From "Flavors of Egypt from City and Country Kitchens" (Susan Torgerson, 1992, ISBN 977-00-3954-3, possibly out of print):

500g (12 oz) tamarind pulp

8 cups water

450g (1 lb, 2 cups) sugar or to taste

Her instructions include a lot of information about how, and how long, to soak and strain the tamarind pulp to get it soft and extract the most flavor from it (I'll post more if anyone wishes) but the final result, according to her, is a heavy syrup that can be used in sweet-and-sour type dishes (think pomegranate molasses) or diluted for drinks.

In A Gringo's Guide to Authentic Mexican Cooking, Mad Coyote Joe goes to considerably less fuss with the pulp, but it comes down to the same thing: simmer the pulp until it's soft enough to break up; strain and sweeten it; enjoy. His proportions are:

3 cups boiling water

1/2 pound tamarind pods, shells removed

2/3/ cup sugar

Tamarind is a great cold drink, but I enjoy it as a hot beverage as well.

Edited to add Amazon link.

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

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"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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Una margarita tamarindo, por favor!  Very popular all over Mexico and very enjoyable.  

 

Tamarind is also commonly used as a base for a sauce that is served with fish, shrimp and chicken.  

 

I do not recall tamarind served in a hot beverage when we lived in Mexico (though the temperature there rarely called for a hot beverage).  

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Do you know how to make that tamarind sauce, gulfporter?  I haven't worked out a reliable recipe yet.

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

Follow us on social media! Facebook; instagram.com/egulletx; twitter.com/egullet

"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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Do you know how to make that tamarind sauce, gulfporter?  I haven't worked out a reliable recipe yet.

Yo no se (I don't know).  I googled some recipes and based on the taste profile as I recall it, Rick Bayless' recipe seems to be the closest.

 

FYI, there's a typo/omission in his recipe; the 2nd item leaves out the important words, Ancho Chilies.  

Here's the link: 

http://www.rickbayless.com/recipe/grilled-fish-with-ancho-tamarind-sauce-and-eggplant/

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I'm sure many folks here know this but it bears noting that tamarind is used as a vital and common ingredient in many, MANY cuisines.  As examples, all SE Asian and various S Asian cuisines use it extensively, as an ingredient in its own right and as the souring agent.¶¶  Other souring agents are used as well, of course, but the taste of tamarind is essential for the "correct" flavor in many dishes where a substitute such as lime or lemon would result in a dish which would be judged "inauthentic" by people who grew up with or know the dish/cuisine well, even if it is otherwise "acceptable" to less demanding folks.**

 

As for SE Asian dishes - look up Malay, Filipino, Thai, Vietnamese, Nyonya, Cambodian, Laos, Burmese, Indonesian (all regionalities), various Southern Indian recipes and in many of them tamarind will be used. 

 

There is no single "tamarind sauce" that is used.  The ingredient as pulp or puree (derived from the meaty dried seeds, of course) & etc are used as needed and in proportions and ways (in combination with other ingredients) that differ depending on the desired taste and sourness profile. 

 

Note also that there are "Sweet tamarind" varieties as well as the standard (more sour) varieties.  Yes, the taste and acidity differ between them. Yes, I've used both types.  (See here and here as just two links that talk about the issue)  And yes, commercially available preparation of tamarind pulp, puree as well as the dried pods/seeds themselves vary in taste and freshness, just like with other kinds of foodstuffs.

 

There were some comments above wondering about cooking shrimp with tamarind.  Here's a simple Northern Nyonya tamarind shrimp/prawn dish posted on eG some time back.  Here's the Google search for recipes for that dish.

 

 

 

¶¶ Let alone African & Western Asian cuisines in addition to the other parts of the New World outside of the USA and Canada.

 

** Just as using Western limes in place of calamansi limes in some dishes alters the taste profile.  &Etc.  (Of course, sometimes one has no choice)

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I have used tamarind in cooking, years ago, but I can't recall in what.  Probably something Indian.  I like the flavor.  Last time I had Thai food in a restaurant it was fried whole fish in a tamarind sauce.  When I dine at my favorite Oaxancan restaurant I always drink tamarind soda if I have a beverage.

 

Unfortunately I don't think one can buy tamarind in the market here.  I will have to remember to look for it.

Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

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