Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Agua de Tamarindo

I have never been a huge lover of tamarind. Back in Ireland I always seemed to have a block of prepared tamarind in the fridge with the intention of making Pad Thai but somehow it never seemed to end up being used. The idea then of Aqua De Tamarindo never appealed to me, I always imagined it as being quite astringent and unpleasant and if you look back at the first post I made on various Aguas Frescas I left out Agua de Tamarindo.

I was wrong. It's actually very good, and refreshing.

It's possible to buy a box of oversized teabags which make tamarind cooler very quickly and without mess or fuss, but I also wanted to try using actual tamarinds which are also available in all the shops. If you have never seen a tamarind in the flesh before (and I hadn't) they look like giant brown peanuts. Making the drink simply requires breaking the pulp out of the shell, and soaking the pulp in some warm water for 20 minutes or so. Not a huge amount of tamarind is necessary, and 10 medium sized pods will easily give a couple of litres of finished drink.

After the pods have softened in the water you need to break up the pulp in the water and release the seeds. This is a bit unpleasant, it is I imagine exactly what you would have to do if your pet swallowed something valuable. But once the pulp has been mushed into the soaking water the resulting slurry can be sieved into a blender to extract the seeds, veins, skins and any stray bits of pod. After blending the mixture should then be decanted into a jug, again through a sieve, and diluted and sugar or sweeter added to taste.

Like Agua de Jamica it's best when not too concentrated and not overly sweet. Think light and refreshing rather then viscous and overly cloying. I also discovered Tamarind Margarita while in a restaurant lately.....definitely something to add to the list!

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