Tamarind is one of the most versatile fruits in the Caribbean. This low hanging fruit can be picked from the tree, shelled and eaten as is. While this is a great way to use and eat tamarind, the fruit can also be used in a variety of different ways, the most popular of which are displayed below.
This is probably the most popular method of consuming tamarind, especially among children. Tamarind balls are made with shelled tamarinds, and white and brown sugar. Others choose to add spices, for additional flavor or for a spicy taste, while flour is another optional ingredient. In Barbados, they are sold both as sweet and sour and sweet and spicy. The Tamarind balls recipe is a very simple one, as it merely involves mixing everything together,
rolling the mixture into individual balls, and rolling the ball into either white or brown sugar.
To make this, you simply need water and sugar in addition to the tamarinds. The water is used to boil the tamarinds. The length of time you boil is dependent on how much acid you desire to remain the paste. Alternatively, instead of boiling, the tamarinds can soak in a little bit of water for a few hours or a day or two. Add sugar to the pulp formed after boiling or soaking and serve either at room temperature or cold.
This follows the same recipe as the paste, however, the objective is getting the liquid only. Therefore, more water should be added in order to ensure you can get a fair amount of liquid and as the tamarind pulp beings to form, separate the solid from the liquid. This will give you a delicious syrup that can be added to water to make Tamarind Juice, or served over crushed ice as a Snow Cone.
This has become a popular ingredient for rotis, as it add a sweet and spicy flavor to them. Tamarind Chutney is sold locally in stores, but can also be made quite simply at home in your kitchen. All you need is tamarinds (of course), onions, pepper, salt, sugar, garlic, lime juice and water, with other optional ingredients such as scallions and cilantro. Ideally, you begin by making the tamarind paste (boil the shelled tamarinds in about 2 cups of water for 15 to 20 minutes). Then, remove the seeds from the tamarinds, so that only the solid a seedless pulp remains. Add your chopped onions, garlic and the other ingredients to the pulp on the stove and cook for 20 additional minutes. Finally, purée this mixture in a blender so that it becomes a smooth sauce. Taste, and add more salt, sugar or pepper depending on your preference.
In addition to these amazing uses and recipes, Tamarind can also be used as a flavoring for various foods such as chicken, fish, salads and potatoes to name a few. As such, you can essentially have a lunch/dinner, with drink and desert that is all ‘bout Tamarind.
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