Foodie Blogroll

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Agua de Tamarindo (Tamarind Water)

It is that time of year to make some more frescas...of course in Florida we do enjoy this year round.It is so easy around here to just pick up a bottle of tamarind fresca, or sometimes called tamarind nectar, and even tamarind pulp in the freezer section of the grocery store, but I like to try to make my own. Mostly because I can control the amount of sugar used and the type of sweetener used.

After we have discovered an authentic local Mexican Bakery and restaurant we have been frequent visitors. connected right next to it they have a Mexican grocery store where I found large bins of dried chili peppers, jamaica flowers, and tamarind...you should of seen the look smile on my face. I can actually buy it in bulk as little or as much as I want and for a very reasonable price!!

Tamarind is sweet-tart in flavor and is a good source of fiber, minerals, vitamin C and a powerful antioxidant. So it's good for you!

Agua de Tamarindo
ingredients:
  • 14 tamarind pods (about 1 pound)
  • 32 oz - water(1 quart)
  • 3/4 cups sugar, or to taste I used piloncillo
Method: Peel the tamarind pods, removing as much of the strings that run along the sides as you can, but don't worry if you can't remove them all. You don't have to remove the seeds at this point. Bring half the water to a boil and add sugar and the peeled tamarind pods, stir as it boils for about a minute and the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let it set for an hour or two.  Strain this mixture into a pitcher and add the remaining water. Mix well and chill before serving.
Be sure to check for the strength and sweetness, and adjust to your liking. 
The pods vary a little in size...
The outside skin is dry pretty brittle...you can see some of the strings in the skins here.
This one is all in tact...
Ha! look at this one...hmmm...what can I make with this! The inside is pretty tacky, sticky almost like a date. Tamarind is also called Indian date.
...looks good huh? It is so funny how soft it gets after soaking. Some will remove the seeds and put the pulp in a blender and use that for the Tamarind water. I just pushed as much as I could through the sieve with a rubber spatula.
It is almost like a concentrate at this point. You can add as much water as you like. I like the tart tang of tamarind, but then I like key limes too. If you want, before you add the extra water you can freeze it and use it when you want...in marinades, drinks, BBQ sauce, or sorbet...
I like it over ice...and maybe a little rum added to it :)
Although this was interesting to do and I like that I can make it less sweet...I might just stick to the store bought...but the agua de jamaica I like better homemade.
Did I mention at this wonderful Mexican restaurant is also a bakery?
We just can't seem to escape leave without taking a few of these goodies home with us...and we are not the only ones.
They always have something different each time we go. Some are filled with guava, pineapple, or some custard-like filling...always a surprise and always good!
I have been seeing so many osprey around lately. I counted 14 as we were crossing the Sunshine Skyway Bridge a couple of weeks ago. We were driving across so I could really zoom in to get a photo at that time. In February when my parents were in town we saw so many nests along the ICW and I just didn't have the zoom at that time to get a good picture...
So Sunday as we were in the boat on Sarasota bay and I was finally able to snap a few shots. It wasn't easy with the moving rocking boat, but I was able to get some of this posing osprey. He never did leave his post, just showed us his wings a couple of times, and watched us as we floated by. Some of you might of already seen this on facebook or on The Tiny Bento! I just had to share!