Finally my curiosity got the better of me (it almost always does), and I bought the block to take home for experimentation.
Let the mad scientist-ing begin!
One your tamarindo is good and soaked, that's when the party gets started.
Take one hand (I recommend two for extra gloopy fun) and start squishing the seeds and roots to dislodge the sticky tamarindo substance stuck to the outside.
Once you've squished off as much tamarindo as possible, its time to start getting rid of the big chunks of gunk that you don't want to eat. Just take a handful of your tamarind mixture and squeeze; the juice will come out and you'll be left with a pod/twig/root mixture to discard. Repeat this several times. Eventually you'll be left with a slightly less chunky mess. Now you want to strain what remains to get rid of the rest of the little chunks.
The strained mixture that remains is your edible tamarind pulp. It will keep in a glass jar in the fridge for up to two weeks or in the freezer for several months.
I have two options to propose to you. 1. You can go the very popular juice route and just follow the instructions found here.
Or 2., you can make the best Pad Thai in the world. No joke. Best Pad Thai IN THE WORLD.
Obviously I´m a big proponent of option 2.
- ⅓ cup oyster sauce (the original recipe calls for fish sauce, but I couldn´t find it)
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- ½ cup fresh squeezed tamarind pulp (Here´s where you get to put that tamarindo to good use!)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 ounces dried rice stick noodles
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 ½ cups thinly sliced chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, or tofu (pre-cooked and shredded rotisserie chicken works great)
- 1 egg
- 1 cup carrots, peeled into ribbons
- 1 cup green beans, steamed.
- cup green onion cut diagonal in ½ inch segments
- 1 cup mung bean sprouts
- cup cilantro
- 1 cup toasted peanuts chopped
- Lime wedge
- To make pad thai sauce, heat a small pan on medium low and add oyster sauce, palm sugar, tamarind pulp, and garlic. Cook sauce until sugar has completely dissolve. At this point, you will want to taste the sauce and tweek the sweetness or hotness (be careful, the sauce will be hot). To make it more spicy add red chili flakes. Remove from heat and allow to cool 10 minutes before storing it in a jar or plastic container.
- Boil noodles for 4-5 minutes and drain immediately rinsing with cold water for a few seconds. Noodles should be slightly firmer than Al dente. But don’t worry, they will continue to soften and cook later when stir frying. Using kitchen shears, cut the noodle clump in half. This will make it easier to fry and eat.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a wok or frying pan on high and cook raw chicken, pork, beef, tofu or shrimp for 3-4 minutes. (If you are using pre-shredded rotisserie chicken, which I recommend for eases, simply skip this step) Remove meat/tofu/seafood into a small bowl. Next, heat the remaining oil and then add garlic and red onions and red peppers to the hot pan and stir fry for 1 minute stirring the garlic mixture so it will not burn. Add noodles and stir for 1 minute. Add 3-4 tablespoons Pad Thai sauce continually stirring noodle mixture until well coated with sauce. Add cooked meat/tofu/seafood back and fry for 2-3 minutes. Move the noodle and meat mixture to one side of the pan and crack an egg on the other side. Scramble the egg with a wooden spoon and cook for 30 seconds. Add carrots, green beans, green onions, and sprouts and cook for one more minute frying everything together. Test the firmness of the noodle. If the noodle is too firm, fry for an additional minute. If your noodles need more flavor, add another tablespoon of sauce and fry another half minute. Remove from heat and serve. Garnish with remaining raw carrots, spouts, cilantro, toasted peanuts, and wedges of lime. Enjoy!
Of course, this recipe can be a little time consuming to put together, but the silver lining is that EVERYTHING can be prepared in advance and stored in the fridge. So if you´re planning on serving it for a dinner party (to secretly woo your guests into falling in love with you and singing of your brilliance until the end of days...which I highly recommend) then its a snap to whip together.
And later, if you have the awesomest of friends, like I do, they will want to play , "Quién soy yo?" (Who am I?)
I don´t know it yet, but I am Kim Kardashian. Can you see the resemblance?
Look what happens when you get curious about a little bit of tamarind--- pad thai, pirate adventures, and fun times with good friends. Stay curious mis amores, stay curious.