Seeking Suggestions: Substitutes for Tamarind in Pad Thai?

We have an unremitting and unapologetic love for pad thai. We’ve been having a lot of fun playing around with different recipes for making it at home.

One problem we keep running into, though: we have trouble finding tamarind paste where we live. Any suggestions for substitutes?The taste of tamarind is completely unique. It’s that bright sour taste that lingers hauntingly in the background of a good pad thai and many other Southeast Asian dishes. Without it, pad thai just isn’t the same.

That said, it would be nice to have a quick-fix solution for those times when the pad thai craving hits and there’s no tamarind to be found. We’re wondering if another sweet-sour fruit like ripe mango, dried apricots or prunes, or even a splash of grapefruit juice might fool our taste buds for a little while. A few teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce might also work, since tamarind is one of the main ingredients in that condiment.

Any other ideas for tamarind substitutes?

Related: Technique: How to Use Tamarind Pulp

(Image: Flickr member laughlin licensed under Creative Commons)