In Asian supermarkets, you can find various forms of tamarind, as delicacy, dried and fresh offered. The tamarind fruit that is sold in boxes can be peeled and eaten right away. They have a sweet and sour taste, one pod is more acidic than the other, the fibers can’t be eaten.
For cooking the tamarind paste is especially used in seafood, but also to give a fruity sour taste to spicy (noodle) soups. This paste is a sticky substance of tamarind pulp with seeds and fibers.
You can cook the tamarind paste right out of the package, but you can also make juice out of it first. This way you dispose the tamarind seeds and fibers before applying. Always use tamarind in block form paste, usually packed in 200 or 400 grams. The tamarind is boiled in water and the pulp is filtered. The juice that is collected can be kept in a jar or freeze. This serves delicious dishes. I never store tamarind juice, but make a little juice on the day of use and store the remaining tamarind paste block in the pantry.
The amount of water depends on the tamarind brand and personal taste. This determines the amount of acid and substance of the juice. Start with less water during soaking and add additional water from the kettle to taste.
- 400 g tamarind paste package, in chunks
- 1 l water (extra water from kettle)
- Boil the tamarind in water for about 15 minutes on low heat. Break the tamarind during cooking with a spoon or fork until it has become pulp. Remove the pan from the heat and let it rest for about 30 minutes.
- Put a fine colander on top of a large bowl and pour the tamarind pulp in. The juice is collected in the bowl.
- Press with the back of a spoon to loosen the tamarind pulp. Also scrape the pulp on the outside of the colander and add those to the juice. Remove the seeds and fibers that remain in the colander.
- The tamarind juice is ready to use. You can store it in a closed jar for about 5 days or you can freeze the juice and keep about half a year.