Tamarind Drink

We’re still in the midst of spring but Southern California weather in my neck of the woods has already begun to pound the street with ominous heat like it was the height of summer. WTH, El Nino!

The outside temperature today was almost fever pitch, you could have fried an egg on the pavement if you tried. Alright, I am exaggerating, but it WAS pretty darn hot! I felt so sluggish and out of energy the whole afternoon, you couldn’t have nudged me out of my seat if you tried. I suspect I might have been dehydrated and considering I usually don’t drink adequate fluids throughout the day, this might have been the case. But bless my sweet chap! 😍 I was sprawled like a slug on one of our patio lounge chairs when he came out from the house and handed me a tall glass serving of this tamarind drink. Sweet, tangy and icy cold, it was the perfect refreshment in the sweltering heat!

Tamarind drink is a type of agua fresca popular throughout Latin America and typically sold in most Mexican food courts here in Southern California. I am not sure if we have this beverage or something similar in our Filipino food scene (do we?) but since tamarind pods are widely used in our cuisine and readily available in our markets, it won’t be difficult to introduce you to the pleasures of this delightful refresco de tamarindo 🙂 Other than its bright, fresh flavors, tamarind drink is also very easy to make. The pods are first shelled and deveined, and then simmered in water to soften and to extract the pulp. The resulting pulp is strained, diluted with additional water and sweetened with simple syrup to taste. Served over ice, it’s the best way to cool off and hydrate this summer!

Tamarind Drink

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Author: Lalaine | Kawaling Pinoy
Recipe type: Beverage
Cuisine: Mexican
Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
  • 1 pound fresh tamarind pods (ripe, NOT the green one used for sinigang)
  • 7 cups water
For the Simple Syrup
    • 1 cup water
    • 1 cup sugar
  1. Shell and devein tamarind pods.
  2. In a sauce pot over medium heat, combine tamarind and 3 cups of the water. Bring to a simmer, stirring and mashing with back of spoon, for about 8 to 10 minutes or until tamarind is softened and mixture is thickened. The flesh at this point has mostly peeled from the seeds.
  3. Using a fine mesh sieve, strain pulp into a pitcher. Slowly add the remaining 4 cups water to the pulp, mashing with the back of the spoon to extract any remaining pulp. Discard seeds.
  4. Sweeten tamarind water with simple syrup to taste and stir well. Serve over ice.
For the Simple Syrup
  1. In a sauce pot over medium heat, combine water and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved.

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