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What is Tamarindo? How to Make Tamarindo

Tamarind, often spelled as “tamarindo” in Spanish, refers to both the fruit and the tree from which it comes. The tamarind tree produces pod-like fruits that contain a sweet and tangy pulp surrounding seeds. These pods have a hard, brown exterior.

The tamarind fruit is widely used in various cuisines around the world, particularly in South and Southeast Asian, Latin American, Caribbean, and African cooking. It adds a distinct sweet and sour flavor to dishes and beverages.

In Latin American cuisine, tamarind is often used to make a drink called “agua de tamarindo” or “tamarind agua fresca.” To prepare this beverage, the tamarind pods are peeled, the pulp is extracted, and then it’s combined with water and sugar, sometimes with additional spices like cinnamon or cloves. The mixture is strained to remove any fibers or seeds, resulting in a refreshing and tangy beverage that’s enjoyed cold.

Tamarind is also used in cooking to add a tangy flavor to savory dishes, sauces, marinades, and desserts. Its versatility in both sweet and savory preparations makes it a popular ingredient in various culinary traditions. Additionally, tamarind paste or concentrate, which is a concentrated form of the fruit, is available commercially and used as a flavoring agent in cooking.

Background

Originating from tropical regions, tamarind has found its place in various world cuisines, notably in Mexico as Tamarindo. This drink is all about balancing sweet, tart, and spicy.

  • Origin: Mexico
  • Primary Flavors: Tangy, Sweet, Spicy
  • Recipe Type: Beverage

Why make this recipe?

  • Refreshing: Beat the heat effortlessly.
  • Distinct Flavor: Unlike any other drink.
  • Simple: Easy to prepare with minimal ingredients.

What does Tamarindo taste like?

Tamarindo has a tangy flavor with a hint of sweetness and a touch of spice. Think of it as the exciting cousin of lemonade.

What is in Tamarindo?

IngredientRole
Tamarind PodsFlavor
WaterBase
SugarSweetness
Chili PowderSpice

Equipment required for this recipe

  • Pot
  • Strainer
  • Measuring cups
  • Stirrer
  • Pitcher

Ingredients

  • 10 tamarind pods
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder

Instructions

  1. Prep Tamarind: Peel and remove seeds from tamarind pods.
  2. Boil: Add 4 cups of water and tamarind to a pot. Bring to a boil.
  3. Simmer: Lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Strain: Remove tamarind pulp with a strainer.
  5. Sweeten: Add sugar and stir until dissolved.
  6. Spice it Up: Add chili powder.
  7. Chill: Mix in the remaining water and refrigerate.
  8. Serve: Pour over ice and enjoy!

How to serve Tamarindo

  • Glassware: Use a chilled glass.
  • Garnish: A slice of lime and a sprinkle of chili powder.

What to serve Tamarindo with

  • Tacos
  • Guacamole and chips
  • Seafood dishes

My recommendations and tips

  • Opt for fresh tamarind pods over pre-made tamarind paste for authentic flavor.
  • Adjust sugar and chili levels according to your preference.

Tamarindo storage ideas

  • Fridge: Stays good for up to a week.
  • Freezing: Not recommended; texture may change.

Potential ingredients substitutes

  • Sugar: Agave syrup or stevia.
  • Chili Powder: Cayenne pepper for extra kick.

Nutritional Information

NutrientAmount
Calories100
Sugar20g
Sodium10mg

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is Tamarindo high in sugar?
    • Yes, but you can adjust the sugar level.
  • Can I use tamarind concentrate?
    • Yes, but fresh pods give a more authentic flavor.

Conclusion

Tamarindo isn’t just a drink; it’s a fiesta in a glass. Tangy, sweet, and a bit spicy—it captures the essence of Mexican cuisine. Once you get a taste, it’ll become your go-to refreshment for every occasion. Salud! 🌶️🍹