Reprinted with permission from Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Streets, Homes, and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand by Andy Ricker with JJ Goode. Copyright 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- 4 ounces seedless tamarind pulp (also called tamarind paste)
- 3 1/2 cups water
Combine the pulp and the water in a medium pot. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, breaking up the tamarind (preferably with a sturdy whisk) as it softens, then immediately turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let the mixture sit until the tamarind is very soft, about 30 minutes. There's no need to skim off the foam that may form on the surface.
Use a whisk or wooden spoon to mash and stir to break up any large clumps, then strain the mixture into a bowl through a mesh strainer, stirring, pressing, and smashing the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. There may be pulp clinging to the outside of the strainer. Add that to the bowl too. Discard the remaining solids. Stir well before each use.