Homemade tamarind paste is so easy to make and better than store bought!
Tamarind paste is made from rehydrating tamarind pulp with hot water and then straining it through a sieve. It tastes tangy and is great for marinades, curries, and PAD THAI!
Although it's easy to pick up a jar of premade tamarind paste or tamarind concentrate, homemade is the way to go. It's more flavorful and comes with no preservatives.
This recipe requires a little bit of effort but it's not difficult at all. Most of the time is spent on allowing the pulp to rehydrate.
Make a batch and have it ready for any recipe!
Tips to Make the Best Tamarind Paste
- Break the tamarind pulp into smaller pieces for easier handling, and so each piece can rehydrate evenly.
- Use a coarse sieve so the paste can go through easily.
- Push the pulp against the sieve to extract as much of the tamarind as possible.
- Use nonreactive cooking tools like stainless steel. The acidity in the tamarind can affect cast iron and aluminum.
What is tamarind?
Tamarind is a tropical fruit that has a date like texture. It's actually part of the legume family sitting next to peas and beans. While most legumes are bland in flavor, tamarind has a strong flavor that is sour and slightly sweet.
Fresh tamarind fruit is sweeter and can be eaten as is while tamarind pulp used for cooking is more tart.
Where to buy tamarind pulp?
Tamarind comes fresh in pod form, concentrate, pulp, or already made paste. You can usually find tamarind pulp in Chinese, Korean, Indian and Mexican grocery stores.
How to store tamarind paste?
Store tamarind paste in a glass or ceramic jar in the fridge for up to a month or freeze in ice cube trays then transfer to a freezer bag. This method is great for portioning out the paste and you can just take out what you need for a recipe! Make sure you store in a nonreactive container since the tamarind paste is acidic.
What to use tamarind paste for?
Use tamarind paste with any recipe for a hint of tartness. You can use it in marinades, curries, stir fried dishes like pad Thai, or even make a refreshing tamarind agua fresca.
- 2 cups hot water
- 8 oz tamarind pulp
- Break the tamarind pulp into smaller pieces with your hands or cut into cubes. Add to a bowl of hot water and let the tamarind pulp rehydrate for 30 minutes.
- Mix the tamarind into the water until well combined. Lay a sieve over a large bowl and strain the tamarind through in batches. Press the pulp against the sieve and discard any leftover pulp. Repeat with remaining tamarind.
- Press the pulp against the sieve with your hands or use a spoon to extract as much paste as possible.
- Store tamarind paste in a glass jar the fridge for up to a month. You can also freeze in ice cube trays then transfer to a freezer bag to easily defrost what you need for a recipe.