But after adding the 1 teaspoon called for in the recipe, you still had approximately 1,000,000 teaspoons between you and the bottom of the jar.
(Disclaimer: Many cooks who frequently use tamarind, like Food52 user Panfusine, prefer tamarind paste—which you can make at home from blocks of shelled, pressed tamarind pulp. Soak the block in hot water, then push the pulp through a sieve and discard fibers and seeds. But if you are buying concentrate, look for brands without any added corn syrup; Panfusine recommends the brands Laxmi and Joy.)
Luckily, many Indian, Southeast Asian, and Latin American recipes (see above), rely on the ingredient for a sweet and sour, tangy and tart taste, and the jar will keep in your pantry until well after you've obscured it with other ingredients. Hold onto it forever and your favorite pad thai will never be so far out of reach.
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But tamarind—in whatever form you've acquired it—is no one-trick ingredient. You may love it in chickpea curry or the sauce for roast chicken, but don't stop there. A sibling, flavor-wise, to pomegranate molasses, tamarind just might be the ingredient your crumb cake or cocktail is missing.
Add it to a cocktail with whiskey, bourbon, or gin. At Pok Pok, chef Andy Ricker shakes a Tamarind Whiskey Sour with bourbon, lime juice, tamarind paste, and simple syrup, and garnishes it with an orange.
Plunk some into the sauce for a stir-fry, or splash it into a noodle soup.
Take your roasted vegetables out of the oven 5 minutes early, add some tamarind concentrate thinned with water or stock, stir everything around, then send the baking sheet back into the oven for a final crisp.
Favorite way to use tamarind paste? Ready, set, go (in the comments below, please).
A (former) student of English, a lover of raisins, a user of comma splices. My spirit animal is an eggplant. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream. For that, I'm sorry.