The Essence of Tamarind, Without All the Work.
TAMARIND is the lemon of Southeast Asia,
India and much of Latin America;
its tart fruitiness sharpens and rounds
out fruitiness sharpens and rounds out
flavors wherever it is used. But unlike
lemon, which requires nothing more than
a squeeze, tamarind does not give up its
intense liquid easily. Its bulbous pods are
peeled and pressed into a block of pulp
that needs to be soaked, mashed and strained.
Most tamarind concentrates (or extracts), like bottled lemon juice,
are acrid and unpleasant.
So how can a time-pressed cook quickly and easily
incorporate tamarind's unique, caramel complexity to dishes?
The answer is TALAD THAI Natural Tamarind Concentrate.
More like a paste than an extract, it has the texture and color of thick apple butter and all the pure sweet-and-sour taste of tamarind pulp. In short, it's a lazy cook's dream, going straight from the jar to the dish.
It doesn't take much to turn this paste into a sauce or marinade -- just a touch of something aromatic like ginger or garlic, perhaps with something hot or salty, like chili paste or fish sauce. The paste's dense texture makes it ideal for coating fish, chicken or tofu, since it clings more readily than the liquid squeezed from pulp. On its own it can be stirred into soups and stews to add a piquant vibrancy, or into yogurt with herbs and shallots to make a tangy dip.
If a recipe calls for tamarind extract or concentrate, using this brand will give you a slightly sweeter, fresher flavor (substitute it in equal measure for other brands of concentrate). But if a recipe calls for concocting homemade tamarind liquid from a block of pulp, you will need to thin down the Laxmi concentrate. Simply mix a ratio of two parts paste to one part water, then add it to the recipe as directed. You will get all the lively flavor of tamarind without any of the work.
Even a lemon can't beat that.
Published: March 06, 2002
THE NEW YORK TIMES
"TAMARIND is the lemon of Southeast Asia. You will get all the lively flavor of tamarind without any of the work. Even a lemon can't beat that."