Tamarind Paste (Nham Mha Kham)



1/2 cup

Tamarind Paste (Nham Mha Kham)

Photo, Michael Graydon and Nikole Herriot.


  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup seedless sour tamarind , (dried or block)


  • In a small saucepan over high, bring water to a rolling boil. Break tamarind into small pieces and drop them into boiling water. Boil for 3 to 4 min. The heat breaks down the tamarind pulp and makes it easier to separate the fibres. If using dried tamarind, it will expand. If using a tamarind block, it will absorb the water and start to soften.
  • Strain through a fine-mesh sieve placed over a large bowl, pressing out every bit of liquid and paste. I recommend using a large bowl to help minimize the mess. Make sure to scrape paste off bottom of the sieve and mix it into the liquid. Discard the pulp in the sieve. Allow to cool before using. Store in airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week or in freezer for up to 3 months.

The recipes in Chef Nuit Regular’s cookbook, Kiin, encompass her cooking life in restaurant kitchens and beyond: some of her restaurants’ biggest hits. The pad Thai noodles she used to make and sell in little plastic baggies for extra income as a student. The birthday curry her mother made every year. Her sour and spicy soup with shrimp — with this tamarind paste — the list goes on (and you’re going to want to try them all).

Excerpted from Kiin by Nuit Regular. Copyright © 2020 by Nuit Regular. Photography copyright © 2020 by Michael Graydon and Nikole Herriott. Published by Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.