Tamarind concentrate is a staple ingredient used in a wide range of cuisines. Most commonly found in popular Asian dishes, this ingredient has a strong flavor that adds a depth of flavor.
You’ll find that most Thai and Indian dishes call for tamarind concentrate so it’s always a good idea to keep some in your pantry. However, that could be easier said than done. Tamarind concentrate is surprisingly hard to get hold of.
Not many stores sell tamarind concentrate so you could face a battle to find it in stock. The fact you’re reading this post would imply you’ve had little success. If that’s the case, you’ve landed in the right place.
In this post, we’re going to show you 6 tamarind concentrate substitutes you can try if you’ve run out or can’t find any. If you’re looking for a quick and easy solution, stick around!
What Is Tamarind Concentrate?
Tamarind is a leguminous tree that bears edible fruit. It’s indigenous to tropical Africa and Asia. The tree on which the tamarind fruit grows can reach heights of up to 30 feet.
In terms of appearance, the tamarind fruit has a bean-like appearance. The good stuff is found inside the bean pods in the form of small hard seeds that are surrounded by a sticky and tangy pulp.
From the sour and sweet tamarind fruit, tamarind concentrate is made. Tamarind concentrate is a dark, thick syrup that has a sweet and sour flavor. It can be made by boiling the tamarind fruit.
Despite being most commonly used as a flavor enhancer and sweetener, tamarind concentrate is also used for its supposed health benefits. These include decreased blood pressure and improved digestion.
This staple ingredient has been used in Indian cooking for hundreds of years as a souring agent. It is used in a similar way to vinegar or lemon juice.
In Thai cooking, it’s used to bring more flavor to sauces, curries, and desserts. Outside of Asia, you might find it used as a food coloring or marinade.
The 6 Best Tamarind Concentrate Substitutes
Now you know more about what tamarind concentrate is, we’ll start looking at the best substitutes we can use instead. All the substitutes we’re going to look at can be used in the exact same way or in a similar way to tamarind concentrate.
If you need a quick fix for your tamarind concentrate problem, any of these alternatives can help. Let’s take a look at tamarind paste first.
1. Tamarind Paste
If you’ve run out of tamarind concentrate, you could always use tamarind paste instead. Despite what many people think, tamarind concentrate and tamarind paste aren’t the same things.
The main difference between the two is their flavor. Tamarind paste has a slightly less intense flavor. Apart from that, very little separates the two. This makes tamarind paste a quick and easy solution.
When it comes to using tamarind paste instead of tamarind concentrate, we recommend adding more. The flavor is less intense so you’ll need more to match the flavor.
Do this by adding a little bit of the paste at a time. If you have tamarind powder, you could always make a concentrate by mixing it with water.
2. Dark Brown Sugar And Lime Juice
One of the simplest substitutes you can try is a mix of dark brown sugar and lime juice. This is a great way to quickly add flavor to your dish without having to head to the store.
As you can probably tell, all you need to make this substitute is dark brown sugar and lime juice.
Together, these two ingredients create a flavor profile similar to that of tamarind concentrate. The lime juice helps add a tangy tartness to your dish, whilst the sugar adds a much-needed sweetness.
This substitute is perfect for any dessert recipe that calls for tamarind concentrate. It can also be used to bring flavor to savory dishes that call for fish or chicken.
We do recommend using caution when adding these two ingredients to your dish because they can easily overpower your food when too much is added.
To avoid this, add each ingredient in equal amounts slowly. Then, try your dish before adding any more.
3. Mango Powder (Amchur)
The next tamarind concentrate substitute we have for you is mango powder. Known more commonly as amchur, this is a fine powder made from dried mangoes.
A type of spice, you can use this powder when you run out of tamarind concentrate to replicate the strong flavors.
Amchur has a tart and acidic flavor that adds a zing to any dish it’s used in. Like tamarind concentrate, the powder is found in a lot of Indian dishes. In India, it is usually added to chutneys and curries.
Amchur powder can also be used in a meat marinade or to make pickles. Either way, its sweet and sour flavor offers a reliable tamarind concentrate alternative. The only downside to mango powder is that it can be hard to get hold of like tamarind concentrate.
4. Pomegranate Molasses
When it comes to recreating the flavor of tamarind concentrate, you’d struggle to find a better substitute than pomegranate molasses. This is a fantastic substitute that offers a very similar texture and flavor to tamarind concentrate.
You might encounter problems when trying to find pomegranate molasses but it’s usually easier to find than tamarind concentrate.
If you can’t find any in the store, you could always try and make your own pomegranate molasses at home with any leftover pomegranates you have.
Thanks to its sweet and tangy flavor, we can use pomegranate molasses exactly the same as we would tamarind concentrate. Having said that, we do find that it works better in some dishes than others.
We use this substitute when making salad dressings, dips, marinades, and even cocktails.
5. Worcestershire Sauce
If you came here looking for an easy tamarind concentrate substitute that you can find everywhere, look no further than Worcestershire sauce. Before even looking at the flavor of this sauce, we can tell you it’s a good option because of its availability.
No matter where you are, there’s a very good chance you’ll find Worcestershire sauce in your local store. This arguably makes it the best tamarind concentrate substitute there is. Worcestershire sauce is a savory condiment with a unique flavor.
Created in England, it has a strong tangy, and sweet flavor that adds more flavor to any dish. One of the best things about this substitute is that it also contains tamarind concentrate. What more could we possibly ask for?
6. HP Sauce
The final tamarind substitute on our list is HP sauce. This may seem like a strange alternative but it actually works pretty well in certain situations. Like Worcestershire sauce, HP sauce contains tamarind.
As a result, this sauce has a strong tamarind flavor. Thanks to the inclusion of tomatoes, this sauce also has a lovely sweetness. Both of these flavors help make HP sauce a good tamarind concentrate substitute.
One thing you will have to think about though is the peppery flavor HP offers. This flavor can be overpowering if too much is added so you might want to use a little less. This substitute works well in meat marinades.
Tamarind concentrate isn’t the easiest ingredient to find in your local store, so it’s important to have some useful substitutes at your disposal.
In this post, we’ve shown you 6 tamarind concentrate substitutes you can try when you can’t find or have no tamarind concentrate left.
All of the substitutes on our list have a similar flavor to tamarind concentrate. Therefore, they can be used to add depth of flavor to a wide range of dishes.
Now you’ve made your way through our list, why don’t you choose the substitute that suits your recipe and give it a try? We know you won’t be disappointed with the flavors added.
6 Tamarind Concentrate Substitutes You Can TryCourse: Substitutes
Dark Brown Sugar And Lime Juice
Mango Powder (Amchur)
- Decide on what substitute you need
- Pick a substitute from the list above
- Read what you need to substitute with
- Create the recipe and enjoy
- Delicata Squash Substitutes – The 6 Best Alternatives - May 4, 2023
- 6 Best English Mustard Substitutes - May 4, 2023
- The 6 Best Substitutes For Bulgogi Sauce - May 4, 2023