BASICS: Tamarindo


Tamarind is an ingredient that is used in many places around the world but especially in southern Asia and in Mexico, though it is native to Africa.

Tamarind has a great tangy flavor that pairs well with sweet and savory dishes.  It is definitely sweet and sour.  You can use it for marinades, for curries, for drinks and even desserts.

This is a basic recipe for using the tamarind pod.  You can also buy it in block form, but the easiest is as a prepared purée.  Just make sure you strain it through a fine colander.

This past winter, while vacationing in Ixtapa, we made Margaritas de Tamarindo.  This is how we prepped the tamarind pods.  I’d only used the prepared purée before, so I looked online for how to use the whole tamarind pod.  This is what the people at Fine Cooking have to say.   I modified it and removed only the husk of the pod and the easiest part of the fibers.  I simmered them for about 20 minutes.  It worked well.


“how to prep:

To use the whole pods, peel them with your fingers and then remove the sturdy fibers that enclose the fruit (similar to the process of “stringing” beans). To get about a cup of usable tamarind (enough for a dish serving four people), start with about 4-1/2 oz. of the dried pods, remove the fruit from the pods (you should have about 3 oz.), and soak it for about 20 minutes in about 1 cup of warm water. Pour the soaking water through a fine sieve into a bowl, and then press the pulp through the sieve into the soaking water (the solids will resemble a soft prune purée). Stir to combine, transfer to a glass jar, seal tightly, and refrigerate (for up to a week).”



I simmered them for about 20 minutes on low heat and added water as needed (I added water after I took this picture).  It helps to stir the tamarind pods.  You get more of the tamarind pulp that way.


Once you strain it, you are ready! Tamarind makes a delicious, refreshing summer drink.  Look for some recipes soon.


Categories: BASICS, Fruits

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