How to make tamarind paste

How to make tamarind paste

The Tamarind Sauce Recipe

I grew up eating tamarind and the usual forms were tamarind balls, and tamarind sauce.

Tamarind Sauce

My friends Deirdre, Arlene, Cheryl and I went down to “the tamarind ball shop” on the road at the back of the convent to buy these delicacies and shared them giggling with the relief of not having been stopped by whomever nun was on lunch duty. Tamarind has a very acidic, distinctive flavour here in the Caribbean. I think there is another variety in the far east which is called “sweet tamarind” which doesn’t have the same punch.

Tamarind_ball

There is no delicate way to eat a tamarind ball. You simply pull off a seed and suck the sugary flesh off it while your cheeks get pinched in with the acid. Because of this acid, it makes a very good ingredient in vinaigrette as a substitute to vinegar. Its also great marbled into plain yogurt (rather than evenly mixed in) dolloped onto warm cooked pulses.

tamarind

When the pods are mature their colour is evenly brown and crumbles off quite easily.

P1080462

So go ahead and peel your pods and then place them in water just enough to cover them. Let them sit for an hour or two.

Don’t throw out the soaking water but keep it off to the side as you may need to moisten your paste with it. All you do now is get your hands stuck into the mushy tamarind seeds and work the flesh off them. Its not a difficult job, but worth doing slowly and purposefully as you don’t want to waste any of the yumminess, and there’s not a great deal on each seed.  Also, the inner seed is black and shiny, then it wears a jacket of whitish material, onto which the flesh is attached. You do not want the clothing, only the paste. I have a little blender which I used to bring my tamarind sauce to the lovely smoothness you see in the picture, but you could just use an old fashioned whisk. You want the consistency to be just thick enough to stay formed on a spoon.

I store mine in the freezer, but depending on how much you make, it keeps well in the fridge for at least 2 weeks.

Enjoy this tamarind sauce recipe? Use it to compliment our Mango Chicken Dish  or have a look through our healthy recipe cookbook for more ideas..

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16 Comments

  • Reply
    Chicken with tamarind vinaigrette | Sun Temple Food
    February 25, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    […] 1 heaping tbsp tamarind paste […]

  • Reply
    Christine de Verteuil
    February 28, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    Love tamarind. Would like to use more of it. I’ve tried tamarind ice cream in St Lucia and it was so yummy and tangy like a lemon/lime ice cream. I think a tamarind sorbet could top that! Why not give it a try Germaine? ..yes you can!

    • Reply
      Germaine
      February 28, 2014 at 3:32 pm

      Sounds like a very good idea!! Thanks

  • Reply
    Finola
    March 1, 2014 at 10:08 am

    my tree is absolutely LOADED with tamarinds this year – I will definitely make paste so I can use it in all sorts of cooking adventures 🙂

    • Reply
      Germaine
      March 1, 2014 at 12:21 pm

      That’s really good to hear. Please share with us so we get inspired too…both physically and virtually!!

  • Reply
    Pork tenderloin with tamarind, star anise and nutmeg marinade | Sun Temple Food
    March 13, 2014 at 11:33 am

    […] 1.5 tbsp tamarind paste […]

  • Reply
    Marie
    March 15, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    How did you separate the paste from the seeds? I had a hard time doing that.

    • Reply
      Germaine
      March 15, 2014 at 2:08 pm

      I made some fresh paste last week and found the blade which is meant for whipping eggs in my food processor was a brilliant tool. It looks like two paddles with holes coming off of a central shaft, so not about slicing and cutting but more about whipping. It worked a charm. If you do not have this, I just did it with my hands the times before. It takes time, but its worth it isn’t it?

      • Reply
        Marie
        March 17, 2014 at 4:58 pm

        I have a potato ricer so used that but I will try your other method since too much paste is left behind with the ricer. It is worth it though, the paste is good on its own!

        • Reply
          Germaine
          March 17, 2014 at 5:31 pm

          Have you tried simply squishing and squishing with your hands? That’s what I’ve done before. Its very successful, just time consuming.

  • Reply
    Aubergines (eggplant) with red lentils | Sun Temple Food
    April 24, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    […] 1.5 tbsp tamarind paste […]

  • Reply
    Arlene Pilgrim
    May 10, 2014 at 10:51 am

    The taste of a tamarind ball can still take me right back to those days. Love the stuff but of course the sugar is lethal so enjoy cooking with it. Will be trying it in dressings now. Thanks for that! xa

    • Reply
      Germaine
      May 11, 2014 at 7:18 am

      Thanks Arlene.I look forward to hearing how you get on with it.

  • Reply
    Easy mid-week Bok Choi | Sun Temple Food
    July 8, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    […] bowl of brown basmati rice or quinoa or noodles, and if you’re lucky enough to still have some tamarind paste lurking, marble some into plain yogurt and place on top. […]

  • Reply
    Chicken Thighs Marinated with Tamarind Vinaigrette - Olivia's Cuisine
    July 22, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    […] and want to make your own tamarind paste, like Germaine, please find her recipe for tamarind paste here. However, I found the Tamarind chutney to work perfectly! Its tanginess and sweetness added so much […]

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