Tamarind water is an extract of tamarind that has been soaked in warm water. It is used extensively throughout India, but most commonly in the southern parts. It is a tangy preparation used to give a sour flavour to dishes.
As presented, this recipe will make around one cup of tamarind water which is the amount specified in most of the recipes in this cookbook.
Be aware that whilst some tamarind gives a delightful tangy dimension to a dish, too much will make the dish inedible. This is an ingredient you need to be careful with.
Although store-bought alternatives are readily available, home-made tamarind water tastes so much better. Having said that, using tamarind concentrate can make a reasonable substitute. Dissolve one teaspoon of concentrate in one cup of hot water.
The post on tamarind discusses fresh tamarind, tamarind paste and tamarind concentrate.
- 50 g tamarind paste (see notes)
- 1½ cups water
Place the tamarind paste in a bowl.
Heat one cup of water to a boil and pour it over the tamarind. Stir, then soak the tamarind for 10 minutes.
After soaking, mash the tamarind well until it feels completely soft. Remove any hard fibres, seeds or pod fragments.
Strain the tamarind water into a fresh bowl and squeeze out as much extract from the pulp as possible. Set tamarind water aside.
Return the pulp to the first bowl. Heat ½ cup of water to a boil, pour over the pulp and allow to steep for another 10 minutes.
Strain this second extract into the earlier one. Again, squeeze as much liquid from the pulp as possible.
Discard the pulp. The tamarind water is now ready for use.
- Tamarind paste is the fleshy pulp of the tamarind pod. Ensure there are no seeds or heavy fibres. A golf ball sized amount of this pulp weighs around 50g. You can buy tamarind paste from a good Indian grocer. The post on tamarind discusses this in more detail.