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Using Tamarind Paste

Asked by jeneloh. Answered on 16th January 2019

Full question

3 tablespoons of tamarind paste for the Lentils With Tamarind And Dates seemed like an awful lot and my lentils turned out dark brown and incredibly sour, the tamarind overwhelming all the other flavors! I don’t know whether to toss the whole thing, or try adding more plain lentils to dilute?

Lentil, Tamarind and Date Dhansak
Lentil, Tamarind and Date Dhansak
Lentils with Tamarind and Dates
By Nigella
  • 14
  • 2

Our answer

Nigella's Lentils With Tamarind And Dates has a balance of sweet and sour with tang coming from the tamarind paste and sweetness coming from the dates. If it is too sour for your taste then you could add some extra lentils, though you would need to cook them thoroughly first, or you could try adding a little honey to the dish to boost the sweetness.

We would however mention that the recipe uses ready prepared tamarind paste from a jar. This is usually fairly runny, so in our testing 3 tablespoons was not too sour. If you have a very thick tamarind concentrate from a can or jar then this needs to be mixed with equal quantities boiling water first to make a thinner paste. If you are using tamarind pulp from a block then you need to soak the pulp in hot water until soft, pass the pulp through a sieve to remove seeds and fibre and then possibly add a little extra water if the paste is too thick.

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