Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tamarind, Agua Fresca & Chicha

This is what Tamarind looks like fresh - well, ours is from a box and not straight off the trees - Which Daniela tells me they used to eat when they were young in Brazil (& probably many tropical places in the world!).

Tamarind is sooo delicious and it was so wonderful and sweet tasting eating it fresh like this. This box was especially sweet and not as tart as usual. It was also not as sticky as some and easy to peel and eat it..

Tamarind is a very popular flavouring in many dishes ands sauces - it is used in Worcestershire, HP sauce, Pickapeppa and many other savory sauces. It is also commonly eaten sweetened as a candy.

In Mexico it is used to make a drink called agua fresca, which I think is a lot like our lemonade but using tamarind instead of lemons. Daniela showed us how to make it and we made some from the left over pulp we had from making out special Rawlicious Tamarind Sauce.
I forget what Daniela told me it was called in Portuguese..

But I think it is similar to the Chicha, which Arline was telling me about in Panama. She told me they make chicha out of everything, lots of fruits, they blend the fruit and strain it and mix with water and honey ( or sugar) & in our case we mixed it with agave.

Chicha can be made with: guava, mangoes, melons, papayas, lemons, oranges, cashew fruits, strawberries,pineapples.. etc etc.. just blend with water and a sweetener!

I remember getting a drink from a local place last year and you could pick any 2 fruits and they blended them with water and honey - I picked mango and jackfruit - it was very delicious & so simple - Now I realize that this is a very common drink in many parts of the world - and easy way to make juice!

The delicious tamarind..
You break off a piece and eat it - but inside are hard seeds .. these tamarind pods are quite small.

We mix the pulp in with water and then after straining & removing seeds get this (..which then gets mixed with other ingredients to make our special sauce! )

Today we mixed the left over pulp, which often gets tossed, with water..let it sit awhile and then strained it again..
Mix in some agave & Voila!! Tamarind Chicha.

This is the beautiful & wonderful Daniela, whom we love having in the kitchen with us!! making this special tamarind juice for us.
She is with us for only a few more weeks, and then is off to California, work exchange at another raw restaurant there!, before heading back to Brazil.

I ate and drank so much tamarind today - It was wonderful - What an excellent summer treat!

Mmm.. I think I need to go buy another box of tamarind - very, very soon!!


Charissa said...

Mmmmmm, I just tried this lovely fruit! Delux!

Hope you post your sauce recipe...that would be divine!

HiHoRosie said...

Wonderful! Looks tasty! I've never had tamarind before but knew what it was. I'll be on the lookout for them and may be brave and try 'em. :)

Robin 'Keiko' Gregory said...

Hi Charissa! Yes, I love tamarind - amazing flavour - You have to try it Rosie! ..kind of tangy sweet, they are often found in Asian markets if you have one close to you. & They are most commonly sold in blocks, wrapped in cellophane paper, roughly 4"x3"x1". Be brave!!

Maybe one day I will post the sauce recipe - I am planning on getting a book of recipes together sometime very soon - & am making it a priority to get onto that one!!