Tamarind paste substitute can be used in case you can’t find it in stores near you. Tamarind paste, also known as tamarind concentrate is a common recipe used in Asian and Middle Eastern cooking. The paste is made from tamarind fruits and can be obtained from Asian and Indian grocery stores. However, if you need to use the paste in your recipe and you are not near any such stores where you can find it, there are a couple of substitutes you can use in its place. Though none of the substitutes will give you the exact flavor as tamarind paste, you will get something very similar and that will suffice your recipe requirements. Here are some of the common tamarind paste substitutes-:
Tamarind Pulp Substitute
Tamarind pulp is always the best substitute for tamarind paste though it will require some additional work before you can finally use it as a paste. You will find the pulp being sold in dry, hardened blocks and you will have first to soften it by soaking in hot water for at least twenty minutes after which you will mash the pulp against a mesh strainer to get the paste. This will also separate the pulp from the fiber, giving you a smooth textured puree-like tamarind paste.
Lemon or lime juice is also a common substitute for tamarind paste owing to the brisk and the sour taste possessed by the citrus fruits. Though you won’t get similar results, you will still get the sour and the sweet taste that your food needs. Simply mix lemon juice with light brown sugar of equal proportion and use it to replace tamarind concentrate in your recipe.
Amchoor Powder is an Indian ingredient obtained from cutting and sun drying green mangoes then grounding them into very fine powder. Since green mangoes are unripe, they have a sour flavor close to that of tamarind paste. But when using amchoor powder in replacing tamarind paste, you need to mix it with equal parts of water since it has no additional moistures as the usual tamarind paste.
Apart from amchoor powder, there are other assortments of dried fruits that can be used to replace tamarind paste. A mixture of fruits such as dates, apricots, and lemon when dried and crushed into fine powder can be used to offer viable substitutes for the sour and sweet flavor from tamarind paste. All you will have to do is to blend the dried fruits together with lemon juice in a food processor until you have a thick paste. Though you won’t have a strong sour taste like the actual tamarind concentrate, what you have will introduce a lot of depth on the recipe, and it can also be used in a variety of dishes.
If you are completely out of options, then you can resort to a mixture of vinegar and sugar as a substitute for tamarind paste. At least, these are easily available virtually in any food store you walk into. Simply mix equal parts of sugar and mild flavored vinegar such as apple cider, rice vinegar, and distilled white or white wine to replace. Avoid strongly flavored vinegar when preparing the mixture to replace tamarind paste in your recipe.