Steve and I have just returned from a trip to Campeche, Mexico. I'm not a huge fan of Mexican food (although I do like Tex-Mex) but I love their snacks and drinks; frozen margaritas, tamarind covered in chilli, pineapple covered in chilli, oranges covered in chilli, frozen margaritas - you get the idea.
On this trip we discovered agua de tamarindo or tamarind water. By now you know how much I love tamarind and this drink was cool and refreshing - perfect for rehydrating by the pool. The weather in London is far removed from the 38 degree heat that I grew accustomed to in Mexico but having bought a large bag of fresh tamarind home with me I thought I'd try to make it.
My version includes lemon juice to give it a tang that I thought was missing in Mexico. The recipe is very simple although if you are having problems obtaining fresh tamarind then dried tamarind should work too.
By the way in a a bid to reclaim my youth I have just created a Twitter account so feel free to follow my tweets as I "hang" with the cool kids.
Makes 900 ml cordial
- 440 grams granulated sugar
- 625 grams fresh tamarind (peeled weight) - no need to destone the tamarind
- 1 litre boiling water
- 3 lemons
- 36 grams citric acid
- In a large mixing bowl dissolve the sugar in the boiling water.
- Add the tamarind and stir well to separate the lumps of fruit.
- Leave to cool until the mixture reaches room temperature.
- Meanwhile zest the lemons and then slice the remaining fruit. Do not juice the lemons.
- When the liquid has cooled, add the citric acid, the lemon zest and lemon slices. Stir the mixture and then cover using cling film. Place the mixture in the fridge immediately and let the flavours steep overnight.
- The next day, wash and rinse the glass bottle(s) you plan to use for storing the cordial. Place the bottle(s) in your oven and then set the temperature to 160 degrees Centigrade. Heat the bottle(s) for 30 minutes and then carefully remove the bottles and allow them to cool.
- In the meantime discard the lemon slices from the cordial mixture and then using a nylon sieve, strain the remaining mixture into a bowl. Use the back of a wooden spoon to push the pulp through the sieve. Extract as much of the tamarind as possible, periodically removing the pulp from the back of the sieve into the mixing bowl.
- Once this is done, take a clean sieve and strain the mixture again into another clean bowl.
- Now use a funnel to pour the cordial into your sterilized bottles.
- Store the cordial in the fridge and use within 1 week. Dilute to taste and serve with ice.