A to Z Challenge (Letter T): Tamarind
I cook with tamarind a lot, it shows up in my okra curry, onion chutney, and eggplant fry, and many others I’ve yet to post. It’s a common ingredient in Indian cuisine in general, and my favorite form of tamarind is the concentrate. You can pick up a small container at most Indian grocery stores. Tamicon is my favorite brand because of its bold tamarind flavor.
This drink reminds me of the Tamarindo soda that Jarritos makes, but I am not a fan of soda or sweets, so I make my sodas less sweet. However, for those who enjoy the that sweet soda taste, I’ve made notes on how much to increase the recipe to achieve that nice sweet kick.
Special Ingredients: Tamarind concentrate (you can get at Indian grocery stores)
Special Tools: strainer (optional), beverage container (can hold ~7 cups / 56oz or more)
SPICED SIMPLE SYRUP
In a saucepan, bring to a boil and then reduce to a low simmer:
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1″ piece of dried ginger (not powder)
or about 2″ fresh, roughly cut
- 4-5 green cardamon pods, crushed
Note: double everything noted above for a sweet soda. My version is very lightly sweetened.
After the cinnamon has begun to open (10-15 minutes), remove from heat and strain into a container, discard the spices. Place in the fridge to help it reach room temperature
Return saucepan to the stove on a medium heat and add:
- 2 cups water
- 3 tbsp tamarind concentrate
It is one tablespoon of tamarind concentrate per 2 cups of water. This step is to help dissolve the tamarind concentrate without heating all of the liquid.
When tamarind has dissolved completely (5 minutes), remove from heat and allow to reach room temperature (10 minutes) or faster if you use an ice bath (3-4 minutes).
In a beverage container, add the tamarind water and simple syrup, mix.
- 1 bottle (32 oz) of seltzer water/sparkling water (or club soda)
Serve with ice.
Soda water tends to lose its carbonation in relatively short order. So if you want to keep carbonation then don’t mix it into the sweetened tamarind, add a new can of seltzer water and pour about 1 cup into a glass with 1/3 cup of the sweetened tamarind. Add more if you use the full 11 oz can.