Tamarind Water

Tamarind is the fruit of a tall tropical tree, a fava bean-shaped pod filled with a fruity, orange-brown, sweet-sour pulp. You can buy fresh tamarind pods in Caribbean and Asian markets. Peeling fresh tamarind is time consuming, so most ethnic markets and many supermarkets sell peeled tamarind pulp, which is quicker and easier to use.

8 ounces tamarind pods (8 to 10 pods) or 1/2 cup peeled tamarin pulp
1 3/4 cups hot water
If using tamarind pods, peel the skin off with a paring knife. Break the pulp into 1-inch pieces and place in a blender with 1 cup of the hot water. Let the tamarind soften for 5 minutes.

Run the blender in short bursts at low speed for 15 to 30 seconds to obtain a thick brown liquid. Don't over blend, or you'll break up the seeds. Pour the resulting liquid through a strainer, pressing hard with a wooden spoon to extract the juices, scraping the underneath side of the strainer with a spatula.

Return the pulp in the strainer to the blender and add the remaining 3/4 cup hot water. Blend again and pour the mixture through the strainer, pressing well to extract the juices. Store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or freeze for several months. (I like to freeze it in plastic ice-cube trays, so I have convenient pre-measured portions.)

Ease of Preparation: Easy

Preparation Time: 15 min
Let soften 5 min

Servings: Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Recipe By: Steven Raichlen

From:  The Barbecue! Bible
Used with permission of Workman Publishing Company

Chef Suggestions
Indian markets sell plastic jars of smooth, dark, syrupy tamarind extract. This product has an interesting flavor, but you can't use it to make tamarind water.

If you live in an area with a large Hispanic community, you may be able to find frozen tamarind purée, which eliminates the need to make this recipe.