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Tamarind paste/concentrate

Dear Milk Street:

Do you recommend a particular brand of tamarind paste or concentrate? Alternatively, do you have suggestions as to what I should look for on the label? I've made several disastrous Pad Thais with tamarind paste or concentrate. One concentrate turned my Pad Thai immediately black; the dish looked as if I'd dumped squid ink into it, and the dish looked better than it tasted. Another fared better in terms of color but still lent the entire dish an overwhelmingly tart flavor; I was able to fix it, but it required so much adding and tinkering and balancing that (a) I lost a lot of time and (b) the final product tasted, predictably, muddled.


  • Cory, Thanks for your question. We here at Milk Street, in general, find we get better results from making own tamarind paste from tamarind pulp. This is easily found in Asian markets as well as a lot of grocery stores and of course, on line. It really isn't hard to do. Soak the pulp in boiling water, just enough to cover, for 30 minutes. Then break up the pulp as much as you can in the water. If any water remains after that, drain it off then push the pulp through a large holed sieve. You will probably find this a better product and it will keep in the refrigerator. Give it a try, it really isn't all that much extra work.

    Hope this helps.

    Deb at Milk Street

  • Thank you so much! After processing the pulp in this way, how long can the resulting concentrate live in the fridge?

  • We haven’t actually done a test but it will easily last several weeks. Think of it as any other condiment you have in the fridge like ketchup.

    Deb at Milk Street

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