User-friendly tamarind paste in a jar is fast becoming available with instructions on the label. If it’s a block you’re dealing with, then here’s how: put 50 g block tamarind in a bowl and add 150 ml kettle-boiled water to just cover. Leave until it turns pasty (about an hour), then break it up with a fork. To speed the softening process, you could simmer it for around 10 minutes. Tip the mixture into a sieve sat over another bowl, pushing through as much of the mush as possible. Discard the pod and seed gunk left in the sieve and keep the thick juice.