(Note: the water to tamarind block ratio is 1:1, so for example if the block you find is 10 ounce, use 10 ounces of water) Tamarind blocks are most often found at Asian Grocery stores.
How to Make Tamarind Paste/Pulp
- Put tamarind and water in a bowl and let it soak for 15-20 minutes, breaking into smaller pieces as it soaks. (Having been shelled, deseeded, and kept in a condition where they stay moist, block tamarinds don’t need to be boiled or soaked in boiling water.)
- After soaking, grab a handful of the tamarind pods and keep squashing and squeezing the now-softened pulp to separate it from the veins, the seeds, and the tough membranes that cover the seeds. After the squashing and squeezing you will end up with a thick purée of tamarind pulp along with the veins, seeds, and membranes. (Discard the veins, seeds and membranes). You can run the tamarind pulp purée through a sieve to separate out the pulp. (NOTE: now that I have made this with 14 oz package, I recommend using a food mill, though it was fun using my hands, it took a little long.) When you deal with large amounts of tamarind purée, this makes sense. For smaller amounts it's just as easy to grab a handful of the tamarind purée and squeeze hard. The tamarind pulp purée will seep through your fingers as you tighten your fist while the veins, seeds, and membranes stay inside. Then you keep the purée and throw away the junk in your fist.* You keep doing this until you end up with nothing but thick and smooth tamarind pulp in the bowl. (it's really interesting to watch the pulp and water start to mix and thicken!)
- Store pulp in a glass jar in the refrigerator. For longer storage consider freezing it as prepared tamarind pulp can get moldy after a couple of weeks in the refrigerator. If you have ice trays, fill them with the tamarind pulp, freeze, pop out the frozen cubes and store them in a freezer bag in the freezer.