I have a question about the ingredient "tamarind concentrate" on the recipe "Shrimp Pad Thai" from mtlabor.. What is it? Also what is fish sauce and where would you get it?
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Tamarind concentrate is made from the tamarind plant, which grows in pods like dry, brown snap peas. Tamarind has a sour-sweet taste that complements fried rice. It's sold at many Asian and Middle Eastern groceries.
Fish sauce is made from fermented anchovies, and is used in Thai and Vietnamese cuisines to add a deep, fishy umami flavor. It smells VERY pungent but the smell is never present after cooking. You can find it at many Asian groceries.
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Nozlee summed it up rather precisely. Something remarkable happens to foods when fish sauce is added. On its own it smells like plant fertilizer but combined with other ingredients it adds a remarkable depth of flavor. And if you think you are scared of this concept ask yourself what goes into Worstershire Sauce. Tamarind or Tamarindo is used widedly even in soft drinks like Italy's Chinotto.
And a PS; fish sauce is actually pretty easy to find these days in the "Asian" section of supermarket chains.
Try Red Boat fish sauce if you can get it. It's very pungent, but if you're adventurous, try a drop by itself. Amazingly, even though it's only made from anchovies and sea salt, it has parmesan and beef jerky notes. We had to order it from Amazon, but if you have a good Asian supermarket near you, you may just find it there.
(And the creamiest, too.)
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