Tamarind Agua Fresca is one of the most popular agua frescas served at Mexican food restaurants and taco stands. Madde of only 3 ingredients, the trick is to find whole tamarind pods at the super market. Even here on the Mexican border, whole tamarind pods can be difficult to track down.
Use Whole Tamarind Pods for Best Flavor
You can order tamarind pods online, but you still need to check for freshness when making your Tamarind Agua Fresca. The thin outer shell on the whole tamarind pods should be intact. However, the outer shell can be cracked off in places with the fruit pod inside still perfectly good for consumption. The inner fruit pod should be moist and plump, with the consistency of a dried prune. Avoid tamaind pods that have no outer shell with an extremely dried fruit pod, or pods that appear to contain bugs.
There are prepared tamarind concentrates that can be substituted for whole tamarind pods, but I have never tried them. The quality can vary in different jarred commercial tamarind pastes. Occasssionally you can find a product that is 100% tamarind and that would be interesting to try. The boiling and pressing out of hte fruit from the whole tamarind pods can be a real drag, but Tamarind Agua Fresca is very much worth the hassle!
Tamarind Agua Fresca will separate. The fruit pulp will sink to the bottom of your pitcher or glass about 5 minutes after you mix and serve. The trick to keeping this refreshing beverage homogenous (aka stirred-up) is to leave a spoon in your pitcher and stir every time you serve.
Add Lime Juice for Extra Zing
For a little extra zing, you can add a few drops of freshly squeezed lime juice. And most certainly you can substitute your favorite non-calorie sweetner for the regular granulated sugar.
Tamarind Agua Fresca is delicious year round, but it is especially good in the summertime, served over cracked ice, next to a swimming pool. Enjoy!Print
Tamarind Agua Fresca
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 2 qts (2 lt) 1x
1 lb. whole tamarind pods (500g)
3/4–1 cup granulated sugar
2 qt. water (2 lt)
Crack the outer peel of the tamarind pods. Separate the fruit from the stringy interior veins, discarding the veins. (Don’t worry about removing the seeds yet.) Place the deveined and peeled tamarind pods in a 2 quart (2lt) saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes or until the tamarind pods are soft. Drain.
Place a mesh strainer over a 2qt (2lt) mixing bowl. Press the cooked tamarind pods through the mesh strainer, breaking up the pods and scraping the pulp against the mesh to remove the seeds. The tamarind pulp will drop into the bowl. You may have to do this in batches to accommodate all the pods. Discard the seeds that remain in the strainer. You should have about 1 1/2 cups (360ml) of pulp. Place the pulp in 2 qt (2lt) pitcher. Add the water and sugar to taste. Stir well to combine. Served chilled over ice.
Substitute artificial sweetner for granulated sugar if desired.