How To Cook With Tamarind Paste

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fresh sweet ripe tamarind on dark backgroud

How to cook with tamarind paste? All about cooking with tamarind paste and recipes to go with it!

For many people, tamarind is as foreign in a dish as medlars and wasabi, yet when combined, it forms a sweet and sour explosion in your mouth. It can be considered a friend to some or an enemy to others.

What is tamarind?

fresh sweet ripe tamarind on dark backgroudTamarind is a member of the legume family and translated into Arabic it means “Date of India”. It has the texture of a date.

Although it is native to East Africa, tamarind is grown extensively in India, Asia and the West Indies where its sour flavor is particularly appreciated for cooking.

Tamarind comes from the tamarind tree. It is native to Madagascar, Africa, but is cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions. The branches of the tamarind tree fall like that of the weeping willow.

The tamarind comes in large pods, like peas, which are harvested when ripe. The pods are opened to remove the tamarind inside. The pulp is sour, sticky and contains seeds.

What dishes can be made with tamarind?

Indian dal. Traditional Indian soup lentils. Indian Dhal spicy curry in bowl, spices, herbs, rustic black wooden background. Authentic Indian dish. OverheadTamarind can be used for cooking, in some desserts, or even for sweets. It is used by Indians, Mexicans, Thais and Caribbeans.

It is a popular ingredient in curries, chutneys, lentil dishes and soups.

In the Middle East and the West Indies, tamarind juice is used in a refreshing drink.

Where can I buy tamarind?

Tamarind can be purchased as whole pulp or processed into a paste or sauce.

You can easily find it in organic stores in dried slices, paste or concentrate, the latter has a black color.

You can also find it in Asian food stores or in supermarkets in the “world products” section with oriental products.

How to prepare homemade tamarind paste?

After harvesting, the tamarind undergoes a process to obtain the final product.

Here are the steps to follow to obtain a tamarind paste:

  1. Soak the pulp in hot water for about 20-25 minutes.
  2. When the pulp has become soft, let it cool.
  3. Roll the pulp with your fingers until the pulp and seeds separate.
  4. Drain excess water and remove seeds.
  5. Strain the juice by passing the softened pulp through a sieve (do not use a metal sieve as tamarind is acidic and does not do well with metal).
  6. You get a thick paste on one side to keep and the juice ready to use in the recipes below.

You can store the paste in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

Medicinal properties and other uses of tamarind

Medicinal properties and other uses of tamarind

Tamarind paste is mainly used in food dishes but is not limited to them. It has health benefits and can even be used in the home.

  • Tamarind is an antiseptic, it helps to fight against inflammations.
  • It can be used as a remedy for stomach problems.
  • It can be used as a balm for wounds, fevers or to relieve nausea.
  • In cooking, the acidity of tamarind can also be used as a meat tenderizer. If you use it in a marinade, it will make your meat more tender and tasty.
  • You can even use the ripe fruit to clean copper pots.

Tamarind juice effective against hangover

Here’s a drink that will effectively get you back on your feet.

  1. Place 1 tablespoon of tamarind paste with 100ml of water in a saucepan to boil.
  2. Then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes.
  3. Let it cool down.
  4. Then stir in 1 tablespoon of raw honey with a slice of lime and serve at room temperature.

Recipes using tamarind paste

The uses of tamarind paste are endless. You can create new recipes to make tasty and appetizing dishes. This sticky, sweet and sour ingredient can change the way you serve your dishes, and you’ll enjoy adding it to your kitchen.

Here are some easy recipes you can make with this fantastic ingredient!

The recipe of Puli Sadam or tamarind rice

Puli Sadam or tamarind rice– An Indian dish whose main ingredient is tamarind

for 4 people

preparation time: 30 minutes


Ingredients You Need :


  • 500 gr of steamed rice (basmati will work fine)
  • 1 handful of cashew nuts (optional)
  • 1 tsp of turmeric powder
  • 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 dried red chilies
  • 1 tsp of mustard seeds
  • 2 curry leaves
  • 2 tablespoons of tamarind paste or tamarind juice (tuto above)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp of sugar

Steps to Follow :

  • Your rice has been cooked beforehand, here is the steamed rice link for the preparation.
  • Start by dissolving the tamarind in 150 ml of water to obtain the juice once filtered in a strainer.
  • Heat a frying pan with the oil and add the mustard seeds, finely chopped onion, chilli, curry leaves and fry for about 5-6 minutes over medium heat.
  • Add the tamarind juice, salt and sugar. The mixture should reduce to a more or less thick paste. You can let it fry for another 5-6 minutes easily. The sauce is ready
  • Roast the cashew nuts.
  • Mix the sauce with the rice and sprinkle with cashew nuts.

If you still have some sauce left over, you can store it in a cool place and use it for another preparation. You will just have to reheat it.

The recipe for Meen Kulambu or Indian fish curry with tamarind

► for 4 people

► preparation time 45 minutes

Ingredients You Need :
  • 500gr of steamed rice
  • 6 to 8 squares of firm fish like cod
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1 tsp of cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp of mustard seeds
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp of chili powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind paste
  • 6 tomatoes
  • 2 curry leaves
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 eggplants
  • fresh coriander

Steps to Follow :

  • Your rice has been cooked beforehand, here is the link to the steamed rice for preparation.
  • Start by dissolving the tamarind in 150 ml of water to obtain the juice once filtered in a strainer.
  • In a frying pan, heat the oil and fry the chopped onion and garlic. The onions should be translucent.
  • Then add the spices gradually, frying the mixture for 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Pour in the tamarind paste, then the diced tomatoes and eggplant, and salt.
  • Let simmer for 15 minutes, then add the fish pieces and continue cooking until the fish is cooked without stirring it to avoid the fish to be diluted.
  • The preparation is ready, now you have to arrange the plates of rice and sauce, the fish and sprinkle with fresh coriander.

Pad Thai recipe with Tamarind paste

Pad Thai in a white plate with lemon, eggs and seasoning on a wooden table.– Thai noodles

► for 4 people

► preparation time: 30 minutes



Ingredients You Need :
  • Pad Thai noodles
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • nuoc man fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 chicken cutlets
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ½ shallot
  • 4 eggs
  • a handful of bean sprouts
  • 1 handful of peanuts

Steps to Follow :

  • Soak the Pad Thai noodles to loosen them up, drain them with a strainer and set them aside.
  • Start by dissolving the tamarind in 150 ml of water to obtain the juice once strained through a sieve.
  • In a bowl, mix brown sugar, nuoc man, soy sauce and tamarind juice. Add oil to a pot and cook the chicken in thin strips and set aside.
  • In the same pan, fry the finely chopped garlic and shallot. Add 4 eggs and mix them directly in the pan until they are cooked.
  • Add the cooked chicken strips and the cooked noodles and stir the mixture.
  • Pour the spice and tamarind mixture over the entire mixture and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, roast the peanuts over low heat. Pour the peanuts into the mixture with the bean sprouts and add 1 cup of chopped peanuts and bean sprouts.

Now all that’s left to do is serve!

The recipe for Tom yum Kung

The recipe for Tom yum Kung– The Thai soup

This soup is very popular in the world, it is a soup that is eaten quite spicy.

► for 4 people

► preparation time 20 minutes

Ingredients You Need :
  • 4 lime leaves, chopped
  • 3 stalks of lemongrass
  • 1 piece of ginger
  • 250g of small fresh or frozen shrimp
  • 2 tablespoons of tamarind paste
  • 3 chopped chilies
  • 2 tablespoons of Thai chili paste
  • 4 tablespoons of fish sauce (nuoc man)
  • 8 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 200 g of sliced mushrooms
  • 1 handful of fresh coriander

Steps to Follow : 

  • Pour 2 liters of water in a pot, bring to a boil, add the lemongrass, lemon, thinly sliced ginger.
  • Lower the heat and add the shrimp, tamarind paste, chili paste and simmer until the shrimp are cooked.
  • Then add the nuoc man, lemon juice, sugar, mushrooms and mix it all together.
  • Your soup is ready, just serve and add the fresh coriander.

The recipe for Agua de tamarindo – the tamarind drink

Agua de tamarindo – A refreshing Mexican drink

  1. Add 75 grams of tamarind paste to 1.5 grams of water in a carafe.
  2. Add the equivalent of 75 grams of sugar and stir until the mixture is dissolved.
  3. Add crushed ice and garnish with orange and lime slices.

It’s the perfect refreshment for a sunny day.


Tamarind paste is a multi-purpose ingredient that adds a lot of flavor to any dish in the kitchen.

It increases the taste sensation in all palates. You can consume it in a dish with a rather sour taste when the paste is added alone or in a sweet dish when it is accompanied with sugar.

Either way, the tamarind paste experience will surprise you. With the health benefits of tamarind paste and the many ways to cook it, there is no doubt that it is one of the ingredients to put on your shopping list.

With these few delicious recipes that we have shared with you, you will enjoy cooking this amazing ingredient!

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