Aqua de Tamarindo – Tamarind Juice, or really Tamarind Tea, is a classic Mexican drink. Tamarind is used in many sweet dishes such as syrups over fruits, eaten as a jelly paste, frozen in pops, mixed in sweat stews and trendily in Margarita cocktails. Usually you see this beverage in the large faceted juice jars at carts in the market or on counters in market food stalls. Very refreshing and an unusual taste to the American Pallet. When I try to encourage people to try Tamarindo “Juice” I ask them if they ever drink homemade gingerbeer or rootbeer. It helps open there minds to the unique refreshing flavor Tamarind Juice offers.
Agua de Tamarindo is very easy to prepare.
6 Pods of Tamarind - usually available dried at Latin or Asian grocery stores
1/4 Cup of Sugar
6 Cups of Water
Its best to remove the crusty outter shell around the sweet interior filling but not necessary if you are in a rush, just crush the pods a little so the water can seep in. Gently Boil for at least 8 to 10 min to extract the flavor of the Tamarind and reduce you liquid. Let cool, strain a few times to remove the tamarind and residue and serve. Delicious over Ice as a sweet tea. Agave or honey could be substituted for the sweetner eventhough sugar would be the traditional sweetener used in the Markets and homes of Mexico.
Garnish with lime for a more complex flavoring or mix with mango juice for another yummy favorite.
For a more intense Tamarind flavor, you may want boil the pods without the shells, when cool remove and discard the seeds from the tamarind pulb, run through a blender and strain a few times for a very intense Tamarind Juice. (Also yummy with a little dark rum and lime!!!!).
For an El Dia de Los Muertos gathering, Agua de Tamarindo is an excellent choice to serve since it a is a classic, typical drink, families would bring or buy while celebrating The Day of the Dead at the Cemetaries in Mexico.