Sunday, August 26, 2012

Anatomy of Tamarind


My friend brought me some fruit - figs that she stole from yards in Kitsilano (an annual tradition, without which summer is not quite real for her... FYI: If she does not steal them, the fruit goes to waste. Fact).
She also brought me 6 tamarind pods, which looked like dry beans or very plump carobs; but inside their brittle pods is a soft, pliable, date-like textured pulp. Inside it there are pits.

A couple of days later, I promptly turned into a refreshing drink. The flavour is not nearly as intense as I remember it from the tamarind merchants in the Jerusalem's souk; though it's not unlikely that my memory is confusing them with that of "souss" aka licorice root drink.

I'm sure there are many better recipes out there for tamarind refreshments; what I did was simply peel off the shells, and soak the pulp in boiling water (just enough to cover). That makes removing the seeds or pits quite an easy task. Let the pulp sit for a while, until very soft (I just forgot about it for a couple of hours); then strain and push it through a fine sieve, and dilute with more water. I used only 6 pods for a whole liter of water. Add a sweetener to taste: either raw sugar, or agave syrup. It's cooling and refreshing, and could also make a great base for cocktails. If you have any other ideas for using tamarind I'm listening!

Tamarind by Ayala Moriel
Tamarind, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.



At August 27, 2012 6:43 AM, Blogger EarthlyReality said...

I use to eat these in Jamaica and to make the juice I think that is how they did it soak it in warm water. We would just eat them out the shell or add sugar and roll them into balls.

At August 27, 2012 9:27 AM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Thank you for the additional info on tamarind!
Yes, I failed to mentioned that the flesh from the fresh tamarind pods was absolutely delicious and edible as is - without that slightly funky salty/sour addition that the dried/preserved tamarind paste has.
I should buy them more often! I bet there are many delicious ways to prepare this fruit and enjoy it besides in sauces and chutneys...

At September 19, 2012 5:35 PM, Anonymous Fragrant_Ninja said...

Oh Im going to have to give you a receipe for a "Ponche de frutas NavideƱo" soon. Its a great hot drink thats especially made during the holidays. It has tamarind,hibiscus, guavas,cinnamon and couples of more ingredients. When done right, it just blows your socks up, plus it smells amazing! I just need to dig up the receipe.
Oh we also eat tamarind in candy form, but we eat it in a spicy/sweet mix. Its soo good.Cheers! F_N.

At September 19, 2012 5:38 PM, Anonymous F_N said...

I meant to say "it blows your socks off" Goodness I wouldn't want your feet to auto-combust over a drink haha. F_N


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