Aqua Frescas are very refreshing and very delicious. Today, I decided to make some aqua fresca using fresh tamarind pods. This aqua fresca is a little more labor intensive than some of the other the fruit ones I have made. You use fresh tamarind pods that you boil.
|Fresh Tamarind Pods|
After you boil the pods you have to remove the pulp from the pods. This is kinda of messy and somewhat time consuming. A fun job for kids if you want to enlist their help.
|Boiling Tamarind Pods|
|Pulp (front) Seeds (left) Pods and Fibers (right)|
I found this recipe on the Saveur website. I kept the ingredients the same, but I modified the directions. Instead of of removing the pulp from the pods right after I boiled them, I let them sit for about 2 hours. Letting the pods steep for a while made the liquid a little richer and the pods cooled. I couldn't imagine removing the pulp of hot pods. The next modification I made was adding sugar to a quart of boiling water and making a simple syrup. Being that I let the pods cool a bit the syrup was cooling at the same time.
After you have removed the pulp of the tamarind pods you process them in a blender with 2 cups of the tamarind liquid. Strain the puree and add to the tamarind water. Add your simple syrup and stir. Pour the drink over some ice and you have a delicious sweet drink that is slightly tart. Perfect for your Cinco de Mayo celebrations or whenever you need something cool and refreshing to drink.
Tamarind Aqua Fresca
Adapted from Saveur
1 pound fresh tamarind pods
3 quarts water
1 cup sugar
1. Rinse tamarind pods. Bring 2 quarts water to a boil in a medium pot; add pods. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until just tender and the water is brown, about 15 minutes.
2. Remove the pan from the heat, uncover and let the pods steep for about 2 hours.
3. Boil the remaining 1 quart of water in a small saucepan. Stir in 1 cup of sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Let the syrup cool.
4. Remove the pods from the water. Strain the water through a fine sieve into a 3-quart pitcher. Remove and discard skin from each pod. Using your hands, place as much pulp as possible from the softened fruit in a blender, discarding the seeds and fibers. Add 2 cups of the strained tamarind liquid to blender; puree until smooth.
5. Strain puree through a sieve into a pitcher. Add the syrup to the pitcher. Stir well. Serve over ice.
Makes 3 quarts