Thursday, 20 May 2010

Making tamarind paste at home

Life and cooking gets simpler when we have things planned out. One ingredient which we south indians use mostly on a daily basis is tamarind for making rasam, sambar, kuzhambu etc. Soaking the tamarind to extract the juice is sometimes boring. And there can be times when we suddenly decide to make rasam but we need to soak tamarind then and there. So one simple way is to have your tamarind paste ready at hand.

This paste can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 months. I googled for the procedure and combined two methods after quite experimenting and arrived at this recipe. I make this and store in a bigger air-tight container in the fridge and have a small container to take and use it.

  • Tamarind - 500gms
  • Turmeric - 1 tsp
  • Salt - 1/2 cup (standard measuring cup)
  • Oil - 150 ml ( would make upto 1/3 of a standard measuring cup)
  • Fenugreek / Methi seeds / Vendayam / Menthulu - 2 tbsp

  • Remove seeds and threads as far as possible from tamarind.
  • In a pressure pan, add the tamarind. Pour water such that tamarind gets immersed.
  • Add salt, turmeric. Cook for 2 whistles.
  • Open the lid after 1-2 hours.
  • If you find threads or seeds remaining remove them now.
  • Meanwhile, dry roast the fenugreek and powder in a mixer.
  • In a pan, add oil and once hot add the tamarind paste, fenugreek powder.
  • Stir it once in a while and cook it till its quite a thick paste like sauce.
  • Cool and store it in a air-tight container in fridge.
Things to remember
  • Since you've already added salt to this paste, take care while adding salt to your recipe.
  • To make sambar for 3-4 persons, you can use 2 tsps of paste.
  • Always use a dry spoon or have a spoon in your small container and take care not to have water into it.
  • Since this paste is already cooked, your gravies need not be cooked for a longer time. We generally cook gravies for a little longer time after adding tamarind to eliminate the raw smell and taste. Here that is not required.

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