Sometimes it’s the little things that make you realize you are a wee bit crazy.
See that little fella up there? Leaning against the box, without a care in the world? That is a half-tackled tamarind pod. He’s kind of taunting me in that picture, daring me to actually persist in taking off every bit of his crumbly, exterior bark and his weird veins, separating the pulp from his million seeds, and turning him into something useful and delicious – tamarind paste.
Well, just to let you know, I prevailed. I spent my evening hunched over those tamarind pods and I won. What is the fate of these finicky little devils? I’m testing sauces for Rimon next week. Why didn’t I just buy tamarind paste like a normal human being? As far as I can determine, tamarind paste is not produced in any kosher form. It’s a product used in many facets of asian cuisine, and asian cuisine is notoriously unhelpful when it comes to producing kosher products. There is certainly some progress being made, most notably by Eden Foods and Roland, which both offer many kosher asian staples and are relatively easy to locate, as long as you live near a whole foods and can stomach the thought that you are spending about 5 times as much as you would be if you could just get the brands they sell at the asian supermarket. In all seriousness though, I am incredibly greatful for these companies, which allow me to rest easy knowing that I won’t have to dehydrate my own wasabi powder or ferment my own mirin.
In many ways though, I am grateful for the lack of certain kosher products because I find myself compelled to learn about new foods and techniques that I may have otherwise shunted aside. Tomorrow’s challenge: making kosher fish sauce.