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Tamarind Paste or Concentrate

Asked by pumkinfan. Answered on 6th January 2014

Full question

Nigella uses tamarind in several of her recipes but under different names. Sometimes tamarind paste (sometimes specifically from a jar) is called for, at other times tamarind concentrate. Are the two mutually exchangable or is normal tamarind paste a lot milder? I can only get tamarind concentrate so how would I have to alter the quantities when only tamarind paste is called for? Thank you!

Our answer

Tamarind paste is often found in Asian cooking and Nigella uses it to give a sweet/tart flavour to a dish. Normally tamarind paste and tamarind concentrate are the same product. They come in jars and are thick and smooth but spoonable.

There is a type of tamarind that comes in a block, usually called tamarind pulp, which is different and is made from the skinned whole fruits. Tamarind pulp needs to be first soaked in boiling water and then rubbed through a sieve or strainer to remove the fibres and any seeds.

If you can't find tamarind paste then you could use equal quantities of lime juice and dark brown sugar mixed together as a substitute for the paste or concentrate.

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