Agua de Tamarindo
If you are looking for a refreshing natural Mexican drink try tamarind water, one of the many aguas frescas enjoyed in Mexico. Our version is tart, a little sour and a little sweet. Tamarind is rich in vitamins and minerals and is a healthy substitute for soda with your meals.
How to Make Tamarind Water
In Mexico, tamarind water is prepared from the dried pods which are available in any market. You can also buy tamarind concentrate which is a poor substitute for freshly prepared. Fresh is more work but it tastes so much better.
The first step is peeling the tamarind pods. Remove as much of the hard shell as possible. Don’t worry if you can’t get all of the shell off. The remaining bits will come off when boiled.
Add 3 cups of water to a medium-size pot and bring the water to a boil. Add the peeled tamarinds and reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes.
After cooking the tamarinds, turn off the heat and allow the water to cool completely. Remove the tamarinds and reserve the soaking water.
Once the tamarinds have cooled, you need to remove the sticky paste from the beans. Reserve the paste and discard the beans. This step is a bit tedious but it is important to get as most of the tamarind paste as possible. Much of the flavor comes from the paste.
Add the tamarind paste to your blender.
Then add the soaking water and the brown sugar and blend for 1 minute.
Strain the blended liquid into a ½ gallon pitcher and add 3 cups of water and give it a good stir.
Serve in a tall glass over lots of ice. You can add a squirt of lime juice to each glass if you’d like. We usually serve ours without the lime. We love the pure taste of the tamarind.
What is Tamarindo?
You might be wondering what on earth tamarindo is. Tamarinds are the fruit of the tamarind tree, a member of the fabaceae family which is the same family of plant as peas and beans. The trees are native to Africa but are now grown throughout the world in sub-tropical regions. The flavor of tamarind is loved in Mexico and it is used mainly to prepare tamarind and spicy candy like Pulparindo which you can buy at any corner store. Kids are crazy for tamarind candy.
- 15 dry tamarind pods peeled
- 6 cups water
- ¼ cup brown or refined sugar We prefer brown sugar for it’s richer taste.
- Peel the tamarind pods. Remove as much of the hard shell as possible. If you can’t get all of the shell off the remaining bits will come off when you boil the tamarinds.
- Add 3 cups of water to a medium size pot and bring the water to a boil. Add the peeled tamarinds and reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes.
- Let the water cool completely. Remove the tamarinds and reserve the soaking water.
- Remove the sticky paste from the beans and reserve the paste. Discard the beans. (This is the most difficult part)
- Add the soaking water, the tamarind paste and the sugar to the blender and blend for 1 minute.
- Strain the blended liquid into a ½ gallon pitcher.
- Add 3 cups of cool water and stir.
- Serve over lots of ice.
- Add more sugar if your tamarind water is too tart for your taste. This recipe is on the tart side.
- You can add a splash of lime juice to each glass of water if you’d like.
- Adding ¼ teaspoon of salt in the pitcher will bring out the tamarind flavor even more.