A little help...

Could anyone give me some advice on how to measure tamarind into the right size... Recipes always call for "small, medium, large lime or lemon sized ball"... I understand golf ball size whenever I see that... but I can't really tell how to decipher the size using lime or lemon. Also, If i use store-bought paste, how much would I need to replace the homemade paste? I have been adding it teaspoon by teaspoon to recipes that I'm not sure about until I get a flavor I like, but I'd really like to know exactly how much I should be using according to the recipe. Thanks to anybody that can help me :)

19 comments:

Happy cook said...

I always take tamarind with the feel when the recipe ask for small balls, big balls etc...
Meeso i know my coment doesn't help, some of the others might be more helpful than me.

Malar Gandhi said...

Hi, Methi muttar malai looks superb.

When it comes to ready made tamarind paste - 1/4 spoon small, 1/2 spoon medium and 1 spoon for large. Its a best way than the whole pulp.

If it is pulp...goose berry size small, lemon size medium and cricket ball size large!!!

Noor said...

I have never had any recipe that calls for it that way. I always mix mine with a little water to break it up so its not all clumpy, sorry for not being much help. You should ask on yahoo answers:)..

Laavanya said...

I always have a tough time giving measurements for tamarind too. I usually soak an approximate amount and adjust what i add to the gravy because it's so easy to go over and then i have to compensate with more masalas and salt. With the paste, I've noticed that a little bit goes a long way. Am sorry i'm unable to give you anything more accurate.

Cham said...

I guess u re pretty familiar in Indian cooking.
So when the gravy is tamarind base. The taste should be tangy and balanced with pretty much with chilli powder. (they usually mention lemon size (in India Lemon is pretty tiny like the key lime (here))
If for sambar for example: again depend how u tasted, either dilute 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of concentrate with 2 tbsp of water... and add one tbsp and check it before adding the rest. Same level for rasam too.
Only south (Tamilian and Andraite)recipe use lots of tamarind.
Try always to add little and increase slowly until u feel confortable with the taste.
Hope it helps!

meeso said...

~ All of your tips are very helpful, actually... Thank you for your input :)

Suma Rajesh said...

i agree with cham...try using 1 tbsp first rather than adding too much because quantity of ur gravy defers..and remanig u can keep it in fridge for further use...no one can tell the exact measurment of tamarind..its just equal to salt..:)

A_and_N said...

I usually end with 1.5-2 tbsp wiht paste, and the key-lime example Cham gives is perfect.

Uma said...

I think you already got some best answers! These are useful for me too :)

Varsha Vipins said...

oh..I guess I cant be of much help..cos I keep on adding n tasting until the desired tangy feeling is reached..i guess thats the best thing,cos the love for tanginess varies from preson to person..So that would really help u to attain your level..:)

Varsha Vipins said...

n guess what..I made a Methi mutter paneer yday..:)

meeso said...

~ All of your tips have been really helpful, thanks for everyone's input :)

mona said...

Meeso, wat I do is, keep tasting adding the tamarind until the sourness is to my satisfaction :-)

Cynthia said...

I am no help, I just eye-ball it and in other cases, add to suit my taste.

Linda said...

Hi Meeso -- I was confused by this at first too. When a recipe calls for 'lemon sized' I take about a golf-ball sized piece more or less, of block tamarind, soaked in a cup (8 oz) of hot water. This is also what I use for sambhar with one cup of dal. And I should probably amend that as I usually end up wanting a bit more.

I find the dry tamarind takes more to achieve the same quantity of pulp you get from the 'wet' blocks. I used to avoid tamcon, but lately I tried Swad brand (in a jar) and that's the next best thing to soaking the dried, imo. I use about a TB in place of the tamarind above. Sure comes in handy when you're in a hurry, or if you need a bit more than you bargained for. Of course, as others have said, you can always start small and add to taste!

Sorry to be long-winded -- hope it helps! :)

meeso said...

~ Thanks Mona & Cynthia!

~ Thanks, Linda... It's a lot of help and not long winded at all! Thanks so much :)

Mahimaa's kitchen said...

ohh this is a tough question.. i myself don't know.. it is just an approximate measure.. only by trial and error, u will know. :)

Dibs said...

Yup - I have often thought about this while writing our recipes - but didn't have a better way to describe thank lime size / tennis ball size etc. Actually Cham's advice sounds the nearest and at the end of the day its your taste buds!! Tamarind Quality is very different everywhere. In India or I shd say South India - darker the colour of tamarind and older it is the better it is considered. In Kolkata for example the colour is lighter and not as sour. Now in Syndey I get only Thai tamarind from the Asian store - and its not quite like the one at home. The worst one is probably the tamarind paste - I got a jar, and threw it away after one try!! So bottom-line lots of yakking and probably nothing helpful to you :-). Mom says the sourness, the salt, and the chillie should be balanced. If you have them in right quantities even in excess - the flavour may seem very strong, but none of the three will over power the others - and it will still make a tasty dish!! Imbalance is the problem!

meeso said...

~ Thanks, Mahimaa :)

~ Thanks, Dibs, for all the information :) It is really helpful!!!