Tamarind paste recipe, Learn how to make tamarind paste with step by step photos. It was about 9 years ago, when I first moved to Singapore, I bought tamarind paste since we had not set up our kitchen yet and cooking was new to me. That was the time I developed a dislike towards tamarind and would always try to substitute lemon juice or amchur for tamarind in most recipes.
The ready made tamarind paste had stones, sand or mud with a rusty, oily smell. Few years ago I started to make my own, by just soaking little tamarind in boiling water, cool it and then bottle it along with water and pulp, refrigerate it. The pulp absorbs water and becomes soft. Whenever needed I just dilute it with more clean water, squeeze and then filter to the dish directly while cooking. This method works well if we are going to use up within a week else it goes bad, even though refrigerated.
Ever since I learnt making Pulihora from my friend Siri, I began to like tamarind in my foods and so began to make this paste in larger quantity that is handy to use for chutney, sambar or pulihora.
Notes and Tips to make a good tamarind paste
1. Do not overcook tamarind, the flavor and taste is lost. Soak it well to extract as much as possible.
2. Do not filter the tamarind till the last bits, you end up getting dirt and stones. Rather discard the last portion to keep the paste clean. You do not want to waste even little bit of the tamarind, you can extract further, by adding 1 cup of water and squeeze and then filter the thin tamarind water. Refrigerate and use up with in the next 2 days for sambar or pulusu.
3. Do not use utensils made of reactive materials like aluminum or copper to cook tamarind.It is harmful to health.
Never store tamarind paste in plastic containers always use glass jars, and if using glass jars with plastic lids, make sure the paste doesn’t touch the lid. Even plastic ware that is made from virgin plastic or BPA free are not 100% safe to use since chemical plasticisers are used during the manufacturing. Also tamarind reacts with plastic.
Tamarind paste recipe below
- 250 grams or ¼ kg tamarind / chintapandu
- 2.5 to 3 cups water (adjust , refer notes)
- Clean up tamarind, check for any seeds, skin or unwanted particles and discard them.
- Heat 3 cups of water.Soak tamarind in 1.5 to 2 cups of hot water for about 45 to 60 minutes in a large bowl.
- Mash the tamarind as much as possible and pass through a filter to a heavy bottom tall pot(no wide pan). Discard more stones or debris that you might find.
- Add the pulp back to the bowl along with left over water that was heated. Use only as required, we want to make a thick paste. Squeeze the pulp and pass through the filter once more.
- The filtered pulp will be thick. Boil this for about 5 minutes on a medium flame. Cover the pot partially towards you to prevent splashes. you may stir it twice while boiling without opening the lid fully from a side.
- Cool tamarind paste completely and store it in an airtight glass jar. Prevent using plastic jars and spoons.
Always handle the paste with dry hands and spoons for better shelf life. Do not use plastic spoons while using.
Some folks add salt, turmeric and oil for a better shelf life. All those are optional.
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How to make tamarind paste with step by step pictures
1. Firstly clean tamarind to remove any unwanted particles. Heat 2 to 3 cups of water in a pot. Water should be hot not warm.Set aside half of this hot water in a bowl. In the water pot, layer the tamarind. It must be fully immersed in water. If not pour more hot water as needed. Do not use excess water. The more water we use the more hot splashes we will have to encounter later. So use your judgement.
2. Leave it for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Tamarind turns soft.
3. Squeeze off the tamarind well.
4. Pass this through a strainer to another heavy bottom tall utensil, that is non reactive. you might find stones or covering of the tamarind or seeds, discard them. Do not use a wide pan.
5. Add the pulp back to the tamarind pot, add more water that was set aside and squeeze it again and repeat passing the left over pulp through the filter. You can do this once more if you wish. Do not overdo, you might get the mud or stones, just discard the pulp. or you can even make thin tamarind water and refrigerate to use the next 2 days.
6. Now you see a thick paste.
7. Boil it on a medium flame. Be careful as it splashes on to the person cooking it. I generally cover it partially with a lid (lid open towards the wall), protecting myself from the splashes and then a cling wrap on to the tiles, so that I can discard it later. Boil just for about 4 to 5 minutes. Make sure it doesn’t get burnt. I stir it twice while boiling without taking off the lid fully. Off the stove. You can even warm up and switch off, but that may go bad depending on the weather conditions even if refrigerated.
8. Cool the tamarind paste completely and store it in a clean dry glass jar. Refrigerate and use within a month. Do not use plastic jars and spoons.