Tamarind is one of the ingredients that is widely used in Southeast Asian recipes. It gives dishes a tart, fruity flavor with a hint of sweetness. This ingredient is usually found in the form of pastes and syrups, but can also be found dried and in powder forms. This ingredient can sometimes be difficult to substitute as it gives an authentic depth to the recipes you’ll use it on. It can be difficult to find if you live in an area without an Asian market.
Lemon or Lime Juice with Sugar
The flavor profile of tamarind is a mixture of tartness and sweetness, leaning more into sour. One of the best ways to replicate this is by using a souring agent mixed with sugar. Flavors pair fairly well with lemon and lime, plus it’s relatively easy to find. The acidity of the tamarind fruit comes from tartaric acid, which is different from citric acid that’s found in citrus fruits, but both can provide the right amount of tartness.
Mango powder, also known as amchoor, has a similar flavor profile to that of tamarind. This ingredient is made from dried unripe mangoes which are ground. Mango powder is often used in Indian recipes so your best bet would be checking out an Indian grocery store. When using this in place of tamarind, you’ll need to add more to compensate for the level of sourness that your recipe needs. For every teaspoon of tamarind, you’ll need 1 ½ teaspoon of mango powder.