It’s not exactly summer here but it’s getting close. What better way to usher in the sun than a cool drink.
It was actually almost winter when I first saw a fresh tamarind pod. This was years ago, in Southern California, my family visiting relatives in the area for a wedding. After my brother and sister visited a local Asian market, we all met up for dinner in Alhambra. My younger brother showed me their purchases, one being fresh tamarind. They weren’t really sure what they were going to do with it, but they bought it all the same.
It wasn’t until a week or so later I found out what happened to that tamarind.
My younger brother somehow dropped the tamarind pod from his hotel window into the outdoor swimming pool below. Whether this was accidental or a social experiment on mob behavior, I do not know. I’m sure it was reminiscent of Caddyshack: Unidentifed Floating Object in the pool and ensuing chaos. I can imagine all hell broke loose the next morning when some poor sod went out, prepared for an energizing morning swim and discovered the tamarind bobbing on the water.
Lucky for me, no swimming poo, I mean, pool and no tamarind pods in sight. I bought “wet” tamarind paste at a local Asian market that worked wonderfully for this recipe. Although we liked the flavor of this drink, Eat and I felt it was missing something. Maybe more lime or lime oil? Perhaps a bit of honey? You decide.
- 4 cups boiling water
- ¼ cup brown sugar, firmly packed*
- 3 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons tamarind paste (I used a "wet" paste purchased at an Asian market. See my photos above.)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- thinly sliced rounds of limes, for garnish
- In a large bowl, whisk together boiling water, brown sugar, ginger, and tamarind paste. Allow to steep 5-6 minutes. Add in lime juice (don't worry about seeds; you'll strain these out soon). Cool.
- Strain mixture over a fine sieve and chill for 2-3 hours.** Pour into glasses with ice. Top with lime round. May add some lime-flavored seltzer water if you want some fizz (but will dilute the tamarind flavor). Serves 2-3.