A Block of Tamarind
Tamarind is one of my secret weapons in the kitchen. It's the sour flavor I think of often when I need a subtle tartness; a flavor that adds a lot of balancing sourness but that will keep people guessing about where that sour came from! It's a complex, fruity, raisiny sour – and once you get used to using it – you'll never go back.
Since it's sold compressed in dried bricks (and in other long lasting preparations) and a little tamarind goes a long way; a couple of dollars worth of tamarind fruit will last for ages.
Tamarind, as a sour fruit, is also fantastic served as a refreshing tart summer drink – boasting a refreshing thirst quenching factor akin to freshly squeezed lemonade on a hot day.
- Compressed tamarind (you can obviously use fresh tamarind as well, but using the compressed stuff is easier and you are more likely to find it sold in this way in most parts of the world. For 2 good sized fruit shakes, use about ¼ cup of the compressed tamarind paste (pulling it apart a bit) and soak it in about ½ cup of warm water for about 10 minutes.
- Simple syrup – (equal parts sugar and water, boiled together to dissolve the sugar and cooled.)
- Crushed ice – Some blenders claim to do a good job of ice crushing, but most can't actually live up to their claims. For a great fruit shake, start off by pouring already crushed ice into your blender for mixing. You can crush ice ahead of time in your blender, or by taking ice, putting it into a sturdy plastic bag, and bashing the heck out of it with a heavy cast iron frying pan, a rolling pin or other weighty implement of destruction!
- Strain the tamarind water, collecting the juice and discarding the solids.
- Mix together the tamarind water, the crushed ice and a couple of spoonfuls of simple syrup in a blender, and puree until well mixed. Taste for sweetness and add in more sugar if necessary. Serve in tall glasses with a straw (little tropical drink umbrellas are purely optional).
Enjoy on hot summer days, and see if your guest can guess what it is they're drinking!
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Tamarind soaking in water
toomuchmint on June 02, 2012:
Great hub! Tamarind's a little intimidating, but this recipe is so easy! I have to try it.
I think it could also make a good low calorie water-bottle flavorer. Hmmm...
arihant11 from USA on June 02, 2009:
Great hub. Your hub gives me an idea to use a mix of goji juice and tamarind juice to improve the taste of goji juice, especially for kids.
Thanks a ton for sharing this.
Gypsy Willow from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand on May 30, 2009:
I love the taste of tamarind so I bet I'd like this. Though I love them I'm always a little worried about my teeth as they are so acid and dentistry is so expensive!