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Tamarind Paste Substitute in Pad Thai

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Tamarind paste is a prominent ingredient in Indian and Mexican cuisines. It is widely used in Thai cookery, imparting great taste to the famed pad Thai noodles and a range of other fish and poultry dishes.

The tamarind fruit is housed in massive brown pods. To prepare a ready-to-use cooking paste, the dark reddish-brown fruit is removed from the pods and separated from the seeds. You may make it yourself or purchase it ready-made, but it is inexpensive and durable.

Continue reading to discover more about Tamarind paste and its use in Pad Thai. In Pad Thai recipes, I have included fantastic Tamarind paste replacements.

What is Tamarind Paste 

Tamarind Paste Substitute in Pad Thai

Tamarind paste is prepared from the pulp of the tamarind fruit, which surrounds the seeds inside the pod of the tamarind tree. The tamarind tree is a prominent hardwood fruit tree that originated in Africa and has since spread to Asia and Mexico.

Tamarirind paste has a distinct sour taste with a citrus undertone. Aromas of smoke and caramel are also present, resulting in a complex taste profile. It has a molasses-like consistency and is thick and sticky.

Any recipe will call for sugar or another sweetener; when combined with sugar, tamarind adds a wonderful yet subtle sweet-sour taste to meals. Taste your recipe to determine the right sweet-sour balance, then add more paste or sweetener until you get the desired taste.

The component that gives pad thai its distinct taste is tamarind paste. This sweet, acidic, and somewhat fruity taste perfectly balances the nuttiness of the peanut. The flavors in this recipe are centred on a sweet-savory mix. It’s a delight for the senses, with salty, nutty, and somewhat sweet sauce.

Tamarind Paste Uses in Recipes

Tamarind Paste Substitute in Pad Thai

Tamarind paste is used in a variety of Asian dishes, including noodle dishes, curries, sauces, and soups. It is also often used to create raw chutneys and dips. It works well in marinades because the acidity helps tenderize the meat.

Tamarind paste is often used in Mexican pastries, chocolates, drinks, and other beverages, notably the renowned and well-loved tamarindo agua fresca.

Here are several cuisines and recipes that utilize tamarind paste:

  • Vegetable Pad Thai in Tamarind Sauce
  • Pad Thai Sauce
  • Seafood Pad Thai with Spicy Tamarind Sauce
  • Authentic Pad Thai
  • Shrimp Pad Thai with Tamarind and Peanuts
  • Pad Thai with Tamarind-Almond Chile Sauce
  • Chicken Pad Thai
  • Spicy Pork Pad Thai
  • Vegetarian Pad Thai
  • Gluten-Free Pad Thai
  • Stir-Fried Rice Noodles in Tamarind
  • Tamarind Pad Thai with Broccoli & Crispy Onions
  • Paleo Pad Thai (with low carb option)
  • Pad Thai Chicken with Noodles
  • Tofu Pad Thai
  • Prawn pad thai

Tamarind Paste Substitutes in Pad Thai

You’ve discovered how much one simple ingredient can boost your favorite dishes such as curry, Pad Thai, tamarind chicken, and so on.

While I’ve previously discussed the advantages of tamarind fruit pulp, I’ll also discuss the finest substitutions if you run out of Tamarind paste for your Pad Thai recipes.

Pomegranate Molasses

Because of its acidity and sour taste, pomegranate molasses is the best alternative for tamarind paste.

The juice is rich and syrupy, but not in an overpowering way. Pomegranate, like tamarind paste, adds moisture to meals as well as taste.

The thickening and sticking of pomegranate juice results in pomegranate molasses. When finished, it tastes sweet and sour, similar to tamarind paste, with a bitter undertone, and makes an excellent accompaniment to Indian and Asian meals.

Pomegranate molasses may be obtained in your local supermarket’s Middle Eastern department or at a Middle Eastern store. If you have pomegranate juice on hand, you can make it yourself. Reduce the amount of lemon juice and sugar.

Mango Chutney

Mango chutney is a wonderful tamarind substitute since it is thick and, if made correctly, tastes quite similar to tamarind paste. If your mango chutney is too sweet, add some lime or lemon juice to balance it out.

Furthermore, mango chutney contains considerable levels of B vitamins as well as antioxidant vitamins A and C. Alkaline minerals found in mangoes include potassium, magnesium, copper, and iron. Because it is rich in iron, mango is beneficial to patients who have iron deficiencies, such as anemia.

Mango chutney is an Indian condiment that comes in a variety of tastes and forms. You may purchase it at the market or supermarket, or you can create it at home to have on hand as a condiment or if tamarind is difficult to get in your region.

Rice Vinegar

The next best substitute is rice vinegar. It’s tart and not too sweet, which is precisely what the tamarind is for.

The texture and thickness, on the other hand, varies, needing the use of a thickening agent such as cornstarch.

Depending on your preferences, you may also add brown sugar to lower the acidity.

Rice vinegar has the same sourness as tamarind paste as well as an undercurrent sweetness. Use a 1:1 ratio if you don’t mind your sauce being a bit runnier than normal. To get the desired consistency of tamarind paste, thicken it using cornstarch.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is tamarind puree the same as tamarind paste?

Tamarind purée is a more fluid form of the dried fruit tamarind. Tamarind puree has the consistency of dipping sauce or apple butter. The main difference is that puree includes somewhat more liquid. To compensate for the puree being more watery, add more puree than the recipe calls for.

Is it possible to use ketchup for tamarind paste?

Ketchup is commonly used in lieu of tamarind paste. To make it taste like tamarind paste, add ingredients like fish sauce or oyster sauce, brown sugar, dark soy sauce, and rice vinegar.

What are the ingredients present in tamarind paste?

Tamarind is the major component; it is a sour and sweet tropical fruit pod. Notably, tamarind may be bought whole or as a block of tamarind pulp with the seeds removed. Other components for the paste include water, salt, and sugar.


Tamarind paste is made from the tamarind tree’s sour, black, sticky fruit, which develops in the form of a pod. While tamarind paste is used in a variety of cuisines to produce sweets and even confectionery, it is mostly employed in Thai cookery to make savory meals.

Notably, tamarind is utilized in classic pad thai sauce as well as a variety of Thai curries and seafood dishes. There may be times when you are in a hurry or want to try something new.

In pad thai recipes, you may use any of the tamarind paste replacements listed.


What can I use instead of tamarind paste?

To substitute tamarind paste in recipes, use rice vinegar or white wine with an equivalent quantity of brown sugar. The rice vinegar or wine contributes acidity as well as some sweetness, which is enhanced by the brown sugar. In recipes, use this as a 1:1 alternative for tamarind paste.

Can you use ketchup instead of tamarind paste?

Ketchup is a popular substitute for tamarind paste. To make it taste like tamarind paste, add fish sauce, oyster sauce, brown sugar, dark soy sauce, and rice vinegar.

How do I substitute tamarind concentrate for paste?

Stir together 2 parts water and 1 part concentrate until mixed. Use in any dish that calls for tamarind paste. If your recipe asks for 3 tbsp. tamarind paste, combine 1 tbsp. tamarind concentrate and 2 tbsp. water.

What is the closest thing to tamarind?

Conclusion: Tamarind Substitutes

Vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and pomegranate juice are some of the most common replacements. Each of these ingredients will give your food a distinct sweet and sour flavor reminiscent of tamarind.

Can I make my own tamarind paste?

Pour the boiling water over the tamarind, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside for 30 to 45 minutes. Stir the tamarind with a fork at first, then massage the fruit between your fingers to separate it from the seeds as the water cools. The mixture will thicken and become pulpy.

Does pad thai contain tamarind?

Pad Thai Sauce is a combination of fish sauce, oyster sauce, brown sugar, and tamarind. Tamarind is the component at the heart and soul of Pad Thai sauce, providing the sauce with its sour flavor.

What is pad thai paste made of?

What exactly is pad Thai sauce comprised of? Traditionally, it’s tamarind, fish sauce, and palm sugar, but other versions include garlic, chilies, and dried shrimp into the sauce rather than as an afterthought.

What makes pad thai sweet?

A few key components are required to make an excellent—not just good—pad Thai: Tamarind: Pad Thai is often a highly sweet, red-hued recipe incorporating a lot of ketchup in the United States. Pad Thai’s acidic sweetness is traditionally derived from sugar and tamarind paste.

Can I use lemon juice instead of tamarind?

What exactly is this? Lemon or lime juice are the simplest tamarind substitutes. Because tamarind is used to bring sourness to stews, chutneys, and curries, lime or lemon juice may readily replace it. Using lime or lemons will provide a sweeter sourness.

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