Tamarind Paste is made from the concentrated fruit of the tamarind tree. These beanlike pods contain a dark brown fibrous, sticky pulp that becomes sweeter as it ripens. This tamarind paste is made with less ripe pods, making it perfect for adding a sour and tart flavor to chutneys, curries, sambhars, marinades, stir-fries, and noodle dishes like pad thai.
The sour taste in tamarind comes from tartaric acid. The acidity means that tamarind can be used much like citrus in cooking. In India, it’s used to add sourness to curries. In Thai or Chinese cuisine, it’s added to hot-and-sour soups. In the Middle East, it’s used to make many refreshing summer drinks. The ripe fruit is also eaten raw.
- 1-1/2 TBSP cumin seeds
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt or coconut cream
- 3 TBSP fresh lemon juice
- 3 TBSP honey
- 3 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/8 cup tamarind concentrate
- 1-1/2 TBSP fresh ginger, minced
In a dry skillet, roast cumin seeds until aromatic. Whisk together cumin seeds and all other ingredients in a bowl. Toss with veggies, such as cabbage, bean sprouts, carrots, cucumbers, and green onions.
- Add a spoonful to any chili, curry, or dal for a rich and sour sweetness.
- Tamarind pairs perfectly with chocolate and warm spices like cinnamon and ginger. Try it in your next chocolate or gingerbread cake.
- Thin with milk, sweeten with sugar, then use as a glaze on banana bread.
- Mix a couple teaspoons with lemon juice, ginger-infused simple syrup, and water to make lemonade.
- Add it to a whiskey sour with ginger simple syrup. Garnish with mint or orange.
- Toss roasted vegetables from the oven with tamarind concentrate thinned with water or stock, then return to oven for 5-8 more minutes for a final crisp.