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.