Sweet and Tangy Tamarind Syrup

Tamarind is a tree that grows long, edible pods. The pods contain seeds that look like shiny, black beads. The paste that grows around the seeds is used in many countries to make tamarind syrup. Tamarind is also used to add a sour taste to food, and to give food that distinct tamarind flavor. Tamarind can also be eaten as a snack, especially if you enjoy sour flavors. Just ask eight year old Hilda, as it was one of my favorite snacks. I also enjoyed sucking on lemons, and eating sour salt/citic acid. What can I say, they didn’t have sour gummy worms back then. Now you can just purchase tamarind candy. I feel cheated!

 

Tamarind Options

Tamarind can be purchased in a variety of forms. Fresh tamarind pods are readily available in most ethnic markets. Many stores carry the dried tamarind pods in their spice section. The dried pods need to be rehydrated in warm water. Once softened, the shell and stringy parts can be discarded, and the dark paste retained for eating, or cooking with. You also have the option of purchasing the paste that’s ready to eat. I prefer the paste because it’s so much more convenient.

 

Tamarind Syrup

You may not realize it, but tamarind is used to make a variety of drinks. In fact, my favorite margarita flavor is tamarindo. I also love the tamarindo-flavored Jarritos Mexican soft drink. In the Middle East, it is used to make a tamarind syrup concentrate that’s diluted with ice water to make a delicious and very refreshing drink. As usual, my recipe has a little twist; I like to add dried limes to further enhance the flavor. Dried limes are also used in the Middle East for cooking and in drinks. But let’s leave that for another post…



Print Recipe
Sweet and Tangy Tamarind Syrup
tamarind syrup
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings
32 oz mason jar
Ingredients
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings
32 oz mason jar
Ingredients
tamarind syrup
Instructions
  1. Unwrap the tamarind paste and cut in half. Rewrap and store one half for later use.
    tamarind syrup
  2. Cut the remaining tamarind into chunks, place in a pot, and cover with six cups of water.
    tamarind syrup
  3. Place three dried limes on a cutting board, and crush with a mallet.
    tamarind syrup
  4. The seeds taste bitter, so sort through the pieces of dried limes, and discard the seeds.
    tamarind syrup
  5. Stir the broken lime pieces into the tamarind mixture.
    tamarind syrup
  6. As the liquid boils, break up the tamarind pods with the back of a wooden spoon against the side of the pot. After simmering for 30 minutes, carefully pour the liquid in a strainer that's placed over a large enough bowl to hold the liquid. Use a spoon to push the pulp through the strainer.
    tamarind syrup
  7. Scrape the pulp from the bottom of the strainer, and mix into the liquid in the bowl.
    tamarind syrup
  8. Rinse the pot that was used to boil the tamarind mixture in, then pour the strained liquid back in. Whisk in four cups of sugar.
    tamarind syrup
  9. Stir mixture until it comes to a boil. Reduce the temperature, and simmer for 30 minutes.
    tamarind syrup
  10. Pour the syrup into a large mason jar, and store in the refrigerator.
    tamarind surup
  11. Mix three tablespoons of syrup in a glass of ice water, and stir until syrup completely dissolves. Feel free to add more syrup if you prefer. Enjoy!
    tamarind syrup
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