Tamarind Paste vs Puree: 8 Differences You Need to Know Now

When it comes to enjoying Tamarind, many people swoon at its taste.

This tropical fruit combines sweetness and sourness that appeal to almost anyone.

This fruit can be eaten alone or used in various recipes.

For instance, it can be a main ingredient in marinating steakmaking delicious cocktails, or making tamarind chutney.

You can also turn it into a paste or puree.

Both products come from the same tamarind fruit but differ in texture and flavor.

If you are curious about their differences, keep reading this tamarind paste vs. puree comparison.

We’ll break down their distinctions as well as their significant characteristics.

Tamarind Paste vs. Puree
The main differences between a Tamarind Paste and a Puree are their source, texture, appearance, flavor, way of making varieties, uses, and exposure to heat. Both come from the same tamarind tree, but the paste has a thicker texture and a tangier taste, while the puree is more watery and sweeter.

What is Tamarind Paste?

This paste is produced directly from fresh tamarind fruits.

It is similar to the whole fruit in terms of taste.

The paste provides a balanced flavor between sweet and sour tastes. 

However, when you focus on the flavor, you will notice a bit of acidity that resembles diluted lime juice.

This paste is available in two types.

The first type resembles fig paste in its deep brown color and dry, firm consistency. 

The other type of this paste comes in a jarred form.

It has a softer texture that is free from tough pods.

This type of paste is more commonly known as tamarind concentrate.

It is easier to use in cooking different recipes.

The first form of this paste product is complex because it is made of dried fruits and shaped into tough bricks.

This is why it needs to be soaked in water for at least one hour.

Some people soak in the paste hot water for about 20-30 minutes.

What is Tamarind Puree?

You can easily recognize this puree product from its saucy and liquid consistency. 

After taking the fruit from the tamarind tree, get it dried.

Then you can then get it turned into a puree or a paste.

Just like tamarind paste, puree is used in cooking.

However, it is used in different dishes, particularly as a base or a component of other dipping sauces. 

Puree is also known for its sweeter flavor with a slight sourness. 

This product is easy to find on the shelf, but it is possible to prepare it at home.

DIY purees require overnight soaking of the dried tamarind fruit.

This leads to easy separation of tamarind pods and seeds from the block of tamarind fruit pulp.

What are the Differences between Tamarind Paste and Tamarind Puree? 

Despite the common origins of tamarind paste and puree, they are different products.

The differences between tamarind paste and puree include their texture, shade, and uses.

When it comes to cooking, both are widely used in different Asian cuisines.

1. Source

These products are made from tamarind fruit but do not come entirely from the same parts.

For instance, the puree is made only from tamarind pulp.

On the other hand, the paste is made from the pulp but contains portions of the seed pods.

2. Texture 

This is one of the most subtle differences between these similar tamarind products.

The paste has a more consistent texture, with chunks of seeds and ripe tamarind pods.

Puree is more like a slightly thick liquid.

3. Appearance

Tamarind puree and paste vary in their appearance.

The latter has a very dark color that resembles molasses. 

The former, on the other hand, has a light reddish brown color.

4. Flavor 

All varieties and products of Tamarind vary in flavor despite having the same sweet and sour combo.

Puree and paste are no exceptions to this rule.

The paste has a less obvious balance of sweet and sour flavor.

The more dominant flavor in this product is tanginess and bitterness, but with a slightly sweet taste.

So, in general, the paste has a more complex flavor profile.

On the other hand, the puree is sweeter and has mild tangy flavors similar to unconcentrated lemon juice.

5. Way of making 

Both puree and paste are made very differently.

Creating either a puree or a smooth paste of Tamarind requires soaking dried pods for some time.

However, the puree takes more soaking time.

To make a paste, you can soak the pods for about an hour or simmer them with some water for 10-15 minutes.

The other product, however, requires soaking the tough and dry pods for a night. 

6. Varieties 

While there are two varieties of tamarind paste, the puree has only one variety.

The only difference between the two forms of the paste is their thickness and the presence of ripe tamarind pods.

The thicker variety is kept in bricks, while the other type of fresh tamarind paste is kept in jars or other airtight containers.

Moreover, the jarred version is easier to use, as it is pre-made and won’t require any soaking.

7. Uses

Both products are used in various types of food.

They both are essential in cooking African, Asian, and even central American savory dishes and desserts.

However, they are not used interchangeably.

In Thai, Indian, and Mexican cuisines, the paste makes certain candies or chutney cocktails.

On the other hand, Tamarind puree is used as a sauce that goes along with various chicken, meat, and seafood dishes.

It is also a great addition to noodle dishes.

8. Exposure to heat

Due to its thicker texture, tamarind paste can be used at any cooking stage.

Medium stove heat won’t affect its taste or texture.

Tamarind puree, on the other hand, has less resistance to heat.

So, it should be added at the end of the cooking process, right before removing the dish from the heat.

Tamarind Paste vs. Puree: are they the same?

Tamarind paste and puree are very different despite their common origin.

They are extracted from the same tamarind fruit but appear and are used differently.

Tamarind puree has a thinner consistency and a lighter color.

It is mostly used as a sauce or a base for other sauces.

The paste comes in two types that vary in thickness and the presence of pods.

It is more commonly used in making desserts, cocktails, and marinades.

While both can be made at home, you can easily find them in groceries.

They are also cheap.

So depending on the recipe you are preparing and the tanginess you want, you can go for either a paste or a puree.

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( Former Private Chef )

After acquiring a professional culinary education at the Culinary Institute of America, Andrew honed his culinary expertise by working in some of the most prestigious restaurants and catering companies, where he gained valuable experience in crafting delicious and visually stunning gourmet dishes.

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