According to my Curry recipe book you should be making your own tamarind water. However, I saw yesterday that you can buy it in paste form – but with all the added extras I think it is far better to make your own.
- 30 g tamarind pulp
- 125 mls water
- break up the tamarind pulp into a bowl and cover with hot water
- leave to soak for 15 minutes
- squeeze and mash the pulp with your fingers to loosen and separate the fibres and seeds
- strain the thick brown water through a sieve into a bowl
- discard the solids
Tamarind (Tamarindus indica) is a leguminous tree from the Fabaceae family. It bears edible fruit that are indigenous to tropical Africa. These brown, pod-like fruits contain a sweet, tangy pulp. It is the pulp which is used in cuisines around the world, and to make the tamarind water. The tender young leaves are used in Indian cuisine, however, I have never come across them. Because tamarind has multiple uses, it is cultivated around the world in tropical and subtropical zones. Tamarind has become such a popular ingredient in many regions that you should be able to find it with ease in a good supermarket, or Asian store.
The young fruit is often used as a component of savory dishes or as a pickling agent. As the fruit matures it becomes sweeter and less acidic. The ripened fruit is considered more palatable and less sour. The sourness varies between cultivars and some sweet tamarind ones have almost no acidity when ripe. In Western cuisine, tamarind pulp is found in Worcestershire Sauce and HP Sauce. Tamarind paste has many culinary uses including a flavoring for chutney, curries, and the traditional sharbat syrup drinks. Tamarind sweet chutney is popular in India and Pakistan. Tamarind pulp is a key ingredient in flavoring curries and rice in south Indian cuisine and in certain varieties of Masala Chai. Across the Middle East tamarind is used in savory dishes, notably meat-based stews, and often combined with dried fruits to achieve a sweet-sour tang. In the Philippines, the whole fruit is used as an ingredient in the traditional dish called sinigang to add a unique sour taste. Indonesia also has a similarly sour, tamarind-based soup dish called sayur asem. In Mexico and the Caribbean, the pulp is diluted with water and sugared to make an agua fresca drink.
With thanks to Wikipedia for the information.