Easy Recipes for Fresh Tamarind

I love eating fresh Tamarind.  It's one of my favorite tropical treats and it is a taste ingrained in me from childhood.  Tamarind is grown through out the Caribbean and Tropics and even here in South Florida.  Fresh tamarind can be found in the farmers markets and even in the grocery stores.  It can be used to make drinks and both savory and sweet sauces.  I'm going to share a few ways I like to eat my fresh tamarind.  The only ingredients needed is salt, sugar, pepper and garlic.  I like to use bottled hot pepper sauce and garlic paste.  You can remove the seeds when making sauces or sweets but I don't mind the seeds and include them in my recipes.

For a Hot and Sour Sauce - use with savory treats such as samosas
1 cup shelled and segmented fresh tamarind
1.5 cup water
1 tsp. salt
1 tbs. sugar
1 tsp. garlic paste
1 tsp. hot pepper sauce.

In a small pot, bring all ingredients to a boil, using the back of the spoon to squish the tamarind allowing the flesh to be released from the seeds.  Once slightly cool, you can strain if you prefer to have the seeds removed.  Keep refrigerated, Use within two weeks.

For a Sweet/Spicy/Tart Sauce or what we call Sour - Follow the same method as above but increase the sugar to 1 cup.  The sauce should still have some sugar grains.  I like to eat this with a spoon and nothing else.  However you can try it on meats or fish as a glaze if you removed the seeds.  Keep refrigerated, Use within two weeks.

For Tamarind balls:
1 cup shelled and segmented fresh tamarind
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic paste
1 tsp. hot pepper sauce (optional)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (white) in a small bowl

In a bowl, with clean hands Rub brown sugar into the tamarind to release flesh from seeds.  If your tamarind isn't as fresh, you may need to add a few tablespoons of hot water, but you don't want this mixture to be runny, so add a spoon, rub more, add more water only if needed.  Once mixture becomes a paste, add the salt, garlic and pepper, mix well.  Use your hands to form little balls (about 1 tsp of mixture) roll in bowl of granulated sugar, then set aside.  Store in airtight container.

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