How to extract tamarind juice Wash the tamarind

Tamarind (or sampalok in the Filipino language) refers to the fruit of the Tamarindus indica or to the tree itself. The fruit is used as the base for soups, stews and sauces in many Southeast Asian dishes. You will find tamarind listed among the ingredients of dishes from the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and other parts of the region. Unlike citrus that need only to be cut and squeezed, the traditional way of extracting the juice from the tamarind is to boil it in water and to mash the fruits to squeeze the pulp. It does entail work so a lot of people opt for the more convenient tamarind paste in jars or the powdered soup base for cooking sinigang. I used to but not anymore. I extracted the juice from a hundred grams of fresh tamarind today to cook a pot of dinuguan. Cover with water

The first thing to do is to wash the tamarind to make sure that it is clean before it goes into the pan. Boil the tamarind in water

Place the washed tamarind in a pan and cover with water. Boil until the skins burst, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a bowl

Transfer to a large bowl with half of the cooking liquid. Mash with a fork

Mash the tamarind with a fork. If you have a vegetable masher, it will make the job easier. Strain the juice

Strain the juice into another bowl. Add more of the boiling liquid

Place the strainer with the tamarind over the bowl and pour in the rest of the cooking liquid. Mash and force the pulp through the strainer

With the tamarind submerged in liquid, mash once more, forcing as much of the pulp through the strainer. Strain once again

Strain once more. Tamarind juice

And you have your tamarind juice.


  1. Cherleen says

    Nangangasim ako!

    I remember ganyan ginagawa ng Nanay ko dati nung bata pa ako pag nagluluto siya ng sinigang. Those were the days when sinigang extracts were not in the market yet.

    And yes, why not try doing it again? Para naman mapakinabangan ang makalt na puno ng sampalok namin. Hindi yung tagawalis na lang ako ng dahon niya araw-araw! lol

  2. Rose says

    I would imagine that powdered tamarind doesn’t have quite the same taste, do you find the same for tamarind in a jar? I use blocks of mashed tamarind (like this one:, it still needs to be soaked and strained. I’m using tamarind in a jar currently since it’s a lot less work and I don’t really taste any difference. Then again, I don’t usually use tamarind as a base for most of the stuff I cook, just as last-minute flavour.

  3. says

    Cherleen, you know, the texture is different when you use fresh tamarind juice especially in sinigang. And there is something about the seemingly mindless mashing and straining that is soooo relaxing.

    Rose, the tamarind paste in jars are okay but they’re rather expensive here. My kids like their sinigang really sour and to achieve that, I use half of the contents of the jar. Haven’t tried those tamarind blocks yet. Will check if I can find them here.

  4. Nikita says

    “And there is something about the seemingly mindless mashing and straining that is soooo relaxing.” — this made me smile. it’s really a matter of mindset. I think the reason they made instant sinigang mixes is people felt all the mashing was too much work. :-)