As a child of the Caribbean, fruit juices was my thing. We always had a jug of passion fruit, sour sop, barbadine, freshly squeezed orange or other citrus fruit juices in our fridge. Since I don’t do the sugar thing any longer…but oh how I crave those juices I grew up on. I still have a weakness for a cold glass of mauby or sorrel on those hot summer days.
Tamarind juice wasn’t a favorite for me as I much preferred making Tamarind Balls with whatever tamarind we would borrow from the neighbors tree.
2 cups tamarind pulp
6-8 cups water
1/2 cup sugar (add more to your liking)
1 teaspoon Mixed Essence (or vanilla extract)
3 drops Angostura Bitters
slices of lime
Note: if you live in North America you can source both tamarind pulp (with and without seeds) as well as different varieties of tamarind at Asian, Latino and Caribbean markets. In this recipe I used the prepacked pulp of the tamarind.
* If using fresh (ripe tamarind) you’ll need to remove the hard outer shell and the sort of fibers which hold everything together, then soak in the hot water as I’m about to explain. Boil about half the water called for in the recipe and pour it over the tamarind pulp in a large bowl. While still hot, try to break it up a bit with a large spoon – remember the water will be hot.
When the water cools, it’s time to use your hands to break the pulp apart until it’s relatively smooth. There will be fibers and seeds.
It’s now time to strain the pulp/water (it will be thick and have a sort of sour or tart scent) so you don’t have any debris in the final juice. You will need to strain this a couple times (at least) with a fine strainer.
Add the rest of the water and other ingredients, stir well and chill or serve with a couple cubes of ice. I like serving with a slice of lime or lemon. Do taste to ensure it’s sweet enough for your liking.
So the next time you see tamarind in the market or you feel the need to borrow some from the neighbors tree.. make some refreshing juice with them. BTW.. you can make this a ‘big people’ tamarind drink by adding some rum or vodka to the mix. Then the fun starts!