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From the Kitchens of Pancho Villa has been awarded the honor of "WINNER" in the "Cookbooks: International" category of the 2014 International Book Awards!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Tamarind Water

Have you ever had tamarind sauce with your Indian or Asian food?
Bet you have. Tamarind is widely used in Mexico as well. It is, however, mostly used for candy and tamarind water. Today we are making the latter, tamarind water – which is also known as an 'agua fresca' (literally it means fresh water, but locally it means fresh flavored water).

You can buy the tamarind as I have, in pod form, already in pulp form or in a jar. I prefer to make my own so that I know what it contains and it is fairly easy to do. The photo is what the tamarind looks like in each stage of getting it ready to use – I like instructions with pictures too.

The pods are dried and the outer shell comes off easily. Just crack (like a peanut) and discard the outer shell. Next, you will have a sticky solid pod with large fibers. Peel off the fibers and toss them too. Put your cleaned pulp (which still has the seeds inside) into a saucepan, add 2 cups water. Bring to a simmer, turn off the heat and let the pulp soften for about 30 minutes.

If you have a food mill – go drag it out; if not, then get a sieve to use. Over a large bowl, place either the food mill or sieve, then pour in the tamarind and it's water. Push all the pulp through the sieve. You will have nothing remaining in the sieve except hard seeds and a few pesky fibers that escaped you before. Toss those – they are no good to anyone.

To your warm liquid, add ½ cup sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add enough water to make 2 quarts. Give it a taste.......yummy, does it need more sugar? More water? Add them now if you do.

Serve this refreshing sweet-tart drink over ice. Use this as an alternative to iced tea or soda.

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