Are you making a recipe that calls for tamarind powder? If you are, and you can’t find it, chances are you’re looking for a great tamarind powder substitute. Here, I’ve listed the top 4 ways to replace tamarind powder spice in a recipe.
Tamarind powder is a type of spice made from tamarind pulp that is dehydrated and then ground into a powder.
Tamarind powder has a more concentrated flavor than fresh tamarind and so it is acutely sweet and sour. This spice is used to add that sweet and sour flavor that adds zest and brightness to a lot of Indian and Southeast Asian dishes such as sauces, lentil dishes, curries, pickles, chutneys, pizza sauce, BBQ sauce, ketchup, dry rubs and more.
But, if you’re making a recipe that calls for ground tamarind, you may be wondering if you’re able to replace it at all. Luckily you can and you will see how below:
Tamarind powder substitute options
If you can find it, fresh tamarind in pods is a really good substitute for tamarind powder. In fact, fresh tamarind is what is used to make tamarind powder.
It should be noted that fresh tamarind has a less concentrated flavor than tamarind powder. You also need to ensure that you’re using the whole dried tamarind in the pods rather than the green ones that have yet to mature fully.
You can find fresh tamarind that has that same sweet and sour flavor as the tamarind powder. You can also find fresh tamarind that is sweet with little to no sourness. This kind is not the best replacement for tamarind powder.
Note: Fresh tamarind is a little more messy to deal with than tamarind powder and you will require more of it to match the concentrated flavor of the powder, but it works at a 3:1 conversion ratio.
Substitution: 1 tablespoon of fresh tamarind = 1 teaspoon of tamarind powder
Tamarind paste can also be used as a replacement for tamarind powder. Tamarind paste is usually made from the pulp of the fresh tamarind found inside the brown tamarind pods as well as water.
This paste is sweet and sour and can be used in a lot of recipes including salad dressing, BBQ sauce, stir fries, sweet desserts, soups, gravies, chicken dishes, fish dishes, samosas, pakoras, glazes, in meat rub mixes and so much more.
In fact, tamarind paste is even more widely used than tamarind powder. A 4:1 conversion ratio is ideal here.
Substitution: 1 teaspoon of tamarind paste = ¼ teaspoon tamarind powder
Lime juice and sugar
Another great tamarind powder sub is a combination of lime juice and brown sugar. This combination works well to add that sour, sweet zesty flavor to a dish that otherwise calls for tamarind powder.
To make it, add equal parts lime juice and equal parts brown sugar to a bowl and mix well until properly combined. The lime helps to mimic the tart and sour flavor of the tamarind and the brown sugar helps to add that nice balance of sweetness as well as helps with the brownish hue that tamarind powder has.
Also, make sure the sugar is dissolved completely before you add this mixture to any dish.
Use in place of tamarind powder at a 4:1 conversion ratio. Meaning 1 teaspoon of lime juice and brown sugar mix is equal to ¼ teaspoon of tamarind powder.
Mango powder (or Amchur powder)
Lastly, another powder that can be used in place of tamarind powder is mango powder also called amchur powder. This powder is made from grinding unripe green mangoes. Mango powder has that sour, citrusy flavor with a slight naturally occurring sweetness that which makes it ideal for replacing tamarind powder in a pinch.
Use mango powder to make dishes like curries, chutney, pickles, for poultry and fish, samosa and pakora fillings, soups, stews, lentils, curries and more.
Substitution: 1 teaspoon of mango powder = 1 teaspoon of tamarind powder
There you have it! 4 effective alternatives for tamarind powder that will work well in its place in most recipes! Keep this list on hand so you never have to worry if you can’t get your hands on some.