A hardwood fruit tree native to Africa, the tamarind tree now grows throughout Asia and Mexico. The tree yields large brown pods that contain the tamarind fruit.
Its pure form with the shell, tamarind, comes in three different forms – paste, pulp, and a thick, dark concentrate. People often confuse the concentrate and paste, but knowing the different types will help you decide which to use when.
Tamarind pastes vs concentrate
The main difference between tamarind pastes and concentrate is that the paste usually tastes much stronger, and comes directly from the fruit. The tamarind fruit sports a date-like texture and yields a tamarind paste, or a very diluted concentrate when crushed.
The concentrate usually comes from India and is quite dark in color, accompanied by a thick gel-like consistency.
Tamarind paste is the fruit pulp with the fibers and seeds removed. It comes in glass jars, or put in plastic squeeze tubes. The fact that it doesn’t contain seeds makes it much smoother, and it doesn’t call for soaking.
Do they come in different flavors?
Depending on the brand and quality, the concentrate or paste may contain artificial sweeteners or preservatives. The taste of tamarind ranges from a relishing sweet and sour to a blend of tangy and tart.
The flavor often varies with the other ingredients the paste or concentrate is mixed with. For instance, adding some sugar can take the edge off of tamarind’s sour element. The other factor that alters the taste is how ripe the tamarind fruit was, especially when you make the paste at home. The less ripe the fruit, the sourer the flavor – it gets sweeter as the fruit matures and ripens.
Generally, tamarind concentrate and paste feature a somewhat sweet flavor that comes with acidity like lemon juice. Some say that going for some homemade paste prepared from soaking and straining a block of tamarind pulp yields the best taste. Not only is it less processed, but also tastes so much fresher than a packed purchase.
Can you substitute tamarind paste for concentrate?
Yes, you can substitute tamarind paste for concentrate, or the other way around. Tamarind concentrates and paste are readily available in most markets, especially Asian stores. You can always use them as a substitute for each other if one isn’t available. Sometimes, regular tamarind paste is also labeled as a concentrate.
The fact that they taste quite the same makes them the same product in terms of the application. Both are thick and smooth but can easily be spooned. However, the form that’s more convenient to freeze is the paste.
Tamarind concentrate is a bit easier to use as compared to the paste. If you want to substitute paste with concentrate, simply reconstitute the thick concentrate with some water. Go for double the amount of water as the concentrate, further stirring it well.
Measure and you can use the mix in any recipe that requires you to add some tamarind paste. If a dish mentions 3 tablespoons of paste, simply mix one tablespoon of concentrate and 2 tablespoons of water to get it done.
If you can’t find both, you can go for equal quantities of dark brown sugar and lime juice combined together to work up as a substitute for the concentrate or the paste. Although this may not always give you the exact complexity in terms of the taste, this mix will surely bring out a sweet and sour touch to the dish.
Is tamarind paste the same as tamarind pulp?
The fruit of tamarind contains a lot of seeds and pith. A specific type of tamarind product sold in the form of blocks is generally called tamarind pulp. The pulp is prepared from the whole fruits after they are skinned.
Tamarind paste is a processed form of the pulp. When all the fibers and seeds are removed by soaking tamarind pulp in boiling water, further rubbing it through a strainer or sieve – the process yields a fine paste. Both of them are quite interchangeable.
You can also turn the pulp into tamarind paste by using equal quantities of boiling water and the fruit pulp from the block. Soak the pulp i water for about 15 minutes, followed by stirring the mixture using a fork until you get a uniform consistency.
The idea is to extract the juice and paste by pouring the mixture into a fine strainer and pressing on the solids. The end results are a smooth paste that you can use in all the recipes that call for tamarind. Throw away the seeds and fiber.
You can prepare the large batches of paste with the pulp using this method as it can easily be frozen in small forms that are more convenient to use. Ice cube trays may come handy to get this done.
Using tamarind paste and concentrate
Whether concentrate or paste, tamarind is quite easy to use straight from the jar or tube. Because of the unique sour taste, you will need some sugar or another sweetener in most recipes you make with tamarind. The fact that tamarind brings out an amazing sweet and sour yet subtle flavor to a dish makes it quite popular as an ingredient.
Tamarind is used in various dishes in Southeast Asia, India, and the Middle East, including soups, sauces, curries, stir fries, noodle dishes and desserts. Apart from that, it’s also the element that makes Worcestershire sauce pleasantly sour.
How much of the paste or concentrate you add to a dish depends on the brand you use as it determines the strength and thickness of the mix. If the paste seems a bit runny, add a little more to get the desired flavor.
Tamarind can be mixed into chutneys and uncooked dips, added to marinades for its acidic touch, making the meat so much more tender.
Tamarind paste is also found in recipes for desserts and candies. Indian chutneys usually go for tamarind concentrate, while the paste goes for sweets and several desserts.
In Indian cooking, tamarind paste is utilised as a sour agent. It’s produced from the tamarind tree’s seeds.
Tamarind is a fruit that grows throughout India and Southeast Asia. It’s a popular ingredient in Indian cooking. Tamarind can be purchased dry or as a paste. Tamarind is used in a variety of Indian cuisines, including dal, chutney, pickles, curries, and desserts. A thick paste produced from tamarind seeds is known as tamarind concentration. It may be found in a variety of Indian cuisine. Tamarind concentration comes in a variety of forms, including powder, juice, concentrate, and syrup.
Tamarind trees may be found growing in tropical regions all over the world. They grow huge, brown pods with the fruit within. These fruits come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The pulp is the most common type, which is a soft, whitish material that includes the fruit’s seeds and liquid. The concentration and paste are the other two types. Tamarind paste is a viscous, black liquid with a molasses-like consistency. Tamarind concentration is a dark, thick powder used in baking and cuisine.
Let’s quickly have a look at both of them.
Tamarind paste and concentrate vary mainly because it generally tastes considerably stronger and comes directly from the fruit. The tamarind fruit is dated and give a tamarind paste or a concentration extremely diluted when crushed.
The concentrate is often from India and is quite black in color, with a thick gel-like consistency. Tamarind paste is the fiber and seed pulp extracted from the fruit. It is available in a glass jar or in squeeze tubes of plastic. The lack of seeds makes it more smoother and does not require watering.
1) To make tamarind concentrate: Take 1 cup water and add 2 tablespoons of tamarind concentrate. Mix well until you get a smooth mixture. You can use this for making any kind of curry.
2) For cooking purposes, take one tablespoon of tamarind concentrate and mix with 3 cups of hot water. Add salt if required. This will help your dish to taste better.
3) If you want to cook rice using tamarind concentrate, then soak some rice grains overnight in enough amount of water mixed with tamarind concentrate. Then rinse off the excess tamarind concentrate by adding fresh water. Cook the soaked rice according to your recipe.
4) When preparing desserts, you need only half teaspoon of tamarind concentrate per serving. Simply dissolve the concentrate into warm milk before pouring on top of ice cream or cake.
In addition to being added to food during preparation, tamarind paste also has uses after cooking. Here are few ways how to use tamarind paste:
1) Make a thin layer of tamarind paste on the bottom of an ovenproof pan. Place meat pieces on top of the paste. You can try covering it with foil and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the cover halfway through the cooking time. Continue to baste the meat with juices every 15 minutes. After 45 minutes remove the meat and let rest while continuing to baste the sauce. Serve immediately.
2) In order to keep cooked vegetables moist, place them in a bowl filled with tamarind paste. Let stand for about 30 minutes. Drain thoroughly and serve.
3) Combine equal parts tamarind paste and sugar. Stir together until dissolved. Pour onto applesauce and refrigerate.
Yes! There are many different varieties of tamarinds that differ based upon their flavour profile. Some examples include:
• Indian Tamarind – A very sour tasting fruit which gives a tangy flavor to dishes.
• Mexican Tamarind – Has a sweet aroma and milder flavor than its counterpart.
• Indonesian Tamarind – Is slightly sweeter than the others.
The concentrate or paste might contain artificial sweeteners or preservatives, depending on the brand and quality. Tamarind flavour varies from a pleasant sweet and sour mix to a snug and sweet mix.
The taste typically changes with the other components that are combined with paste or concentrate. Adding sugar for example helps remove the edge of the saur aspect of tamarind. The other element that changes the taste, especially when making the paste home, is how ready the tamarind fruit is. When the fruit grows and matures, the softer the aroma, the sweeter the fruit.
Tamarind concentrates and pastes generally have a somewhat sweet flavour, with acidity like lemon juice. Any people claim that a block of tamarind pulp is the greatest flavour to go for some homemade paste prepared for soaking and straining. It is not just less processed, it tastes so much fresher than a packing.
You may use tamarind paste in place of the concentrate. Tamarind concentrates and pastes are readily available in most shops, notably Asian supermarkets. You may always use them as a substitute if one isn’t available. Regular tamarind paste may be labelled as a concentration on occasion.
The fact that they taste identically qualifies the application as a single product. Both are smooth and thick, yet spooning them is simple. However, the best technique to freeze is to use paste. The concentration of tamarind is a little easier than the paste. Recreate a thick concentration with some water if you wish to replace paste with concentrate. As a concentration go for twice as much water, stirring it further.
Measure and use the combination of tamarind in any dish you want to add. If there are 3 spoonfuls of paste mentioned in a meal, simply add 1 spoon of concentrate and 2 Spoons of water to it. If you cannot locate both, combining the concentrate or the paste as a substitute for dark brown sugar and lime juice can be used for equal amounts. While this may not always give you the precise taste complexity, this combination definitely gives the meal a sweet and sour touch.
Both types of tamarind products work well together. They complement each other’s flavours perfectly. Use whichever type you prefer.
Just remember to measure your ingredients correctly before adding them into your recipe.