Mwaka here, with a story of how I fell in love. It’s still the usual experiences and experiments shenanigans, but with an additional tartness for extra flavor. May the love story begin!
This is no ordinary love story of a girl meets a prince, the prince saves the girl, and they fall in love and live happily ever after. Now that I think about it, somehow the plot is similar… this love story is so sweet (and savory) that it makes your taste buds dance, and your body tingle.
Let’s Learn About Tamarind Water
Science was my favorite subject in school, with history being a close second. So, welcome to Mwaka’s class: Tamarind 101 - all you need to know!
Buddhists believe that tamarind seeds are a representation of forbearance (self-control) and faithfulness. This fruit is popular in Indian cuisine, its name is derived from the Arabic for ‘Indian dates’. But Tamarind, which has been assimilated into many cultures and cuisines around the world, originally hails from Africa.
Although nature’s candy has spread its roots in North America, it’s still quite the stranger in the United States. I wouldn’t be surprised if you have never seen this fruit before. Today is your lucky day, let’s get acquainted.
I did promise to introduce my good friend to you, so here we are! I would love you to meet tamarind fruit, who lives in a pod, and whose flesh is sticky and dark brown. She can be sweet or sour depending on variety - Dr. Sebi recommended the sour variety because it is the potent antioxidants that make it taste sour.
Tamarind can be transformed into different ‘states’ (including pulp and paste) which can be a little confusing. So, let’s start with understanding the names and textures of this sour-sweet delight:
- Tamarind Tree: Produces hard-shelled brown seed-pods which are the leguminous fruit.
- Tamarind Pod: Protects the seeds, and nourishes them with a sweet and sour pulp.
- Tamarind Seeds: Next generation of the tree, beware they are hard, like little stones.
- Tamarind Pulp: Sticky fibrous substance that surrounds the seeds in the pod.
- Tamarind Block: Pulp is often sold as compressed blocks (usually with seeds in).
- Tamarind Paste: Softening the pulp with water makes a paste for cooking.
- Tamarind Water: Diluting the paste with more water makes a drink!
My Heritage & Tamarind Water
Having grown up on the coast of Kenya, tamarind fruit is no stranger to me. Since I can remember, it has been part of my diet from childhood up to this point. We incorporate tamarinds in practically everything we eat. We add onions and spices to the tamarind water and use it as a dressing, add tamarind paste to soups for extra flavor and drink cold tamarind water for refreshment.
When I was younger and had a cold, my grandma would soak tamarind in water, add minced ginger, boil it and serve it for me to drink. The concoction worked its magic overnight. Other than its flavor and versatility, there are a lot of benefits of tamarind that would have you falling for it too.
The Benefits of Tamarind Water
- Antioxidant: tamarind is rich in phenolic compounds, flavonoids, anthocyanins and carotenoids (these are the colorful and tasty phytonutrients!). These incredible therapeutic compounds bind free radicals that cause damage inside the body.
- Cell Regulation: Tamarind phytonutrients help prevent the rapid uncontrolled growth of cells in the body. The natural anti-inflammatory effects help balance immune responses and cell division.
- Herbal Properties: Tamarind has been used traditionally to ease constipation, soothe upset stomach upsets, shrink gallstones, and support the liver. It’s immune supporting actions also make it an excellent defense against coughs, colds, and seasonal flu’s.
- Brain Health: The highest concentration of fluoride in the body is in calcified tissues. Fluoride weakens bones and alters hormonal production. Tamarind increases the output of fluoride in urine, while helping to retain the minerals zinc and magnesium. Tamarind water is the most effective way to detox fluoride from the pineal gland.
- Nutrient Dense: Mother nature, in her generosity, gave us a fruit packed with iron, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. This is the true definition of small but mighty. These energy-enhancing minerals also help your body cope with carbohydrates and improve insulin sensitivity.
- Strong Bones: The high dose of minerals, specifically magnesium and calcium, makes the tamarind fruit great for promoting bone health. It also protects joints from the impact of wear and tear, reducing the risk of arthritis.
- Weight Loss: If you’re on a weight loss mission, tamarind water is a must-have addition to your daily routine. High in fiber, and loaded with flavonoids and polyphenols that boost metabolism, tamarind pulp encourages the detox of fats cells helping you shed excess weight.
Now you know the benefits of the beautiful tamarind, let me show you how to transform it into a delicious drink. I am also going to share my method for naturally increasing the length of time it can be stored, assuming you don’t drink it all immediately like me!
Welcome to my kitchen!
How To Make Tamarind Water In Your Kitchen
Tamarind water is the new drink in town, and it’s about time you get rid of your fizzy sugar-filled sodas and jump on the tamarind train.
- 2 ounces (56g) of tamarind block or pulp fresh from the pod
- 1 cup of hot (boiled) spring water
- 500ml fresh spring water
- If you are using a block, separate it into smaller chunks and soak in the hot/warm spring water for 15-20 minutes till the water starts turning brown and the tamarind softens.
If you are using fresh flesh from the pod then you don’t need to soak it.
- You can use your fingers to squeeze and mush the tamarind into a pulp or use a potato masher. Discard any seeds (it won’t fully dissolve but it will get gradually softer and create a smooth pulp).
- Add a little more water until it becomes more paste-like then sieve the paste to remove any fibrous strings or small seeds.
- Mix a liter of fresh spring water with your paste.
- Put your juice in the refrigerator and serve when chilled.
When consuming your tamarind water I recommended you try and learn to love it’s sour taste, you can tryand avoid adding any sweetener like date sugar or agave syrup, but the natural flavor is great on its own.
In its natural sour state the drink doesn’t increase appetite, it just fills you up with incredible nutrition. Your tongue has special sensors dedicated to sour tastes, lets get them excited!
This recipe is the extra flavor for your salad, it’s also delicious for marinating vegetables to go on skewers.
- 2 ounces (56g) tamarind paste (from block or fresh pulp).
- ½ cup boiled spring water
- 1 cup fresh spring water
- 1 tbsp approved oil
- ¼ cup young coconut milk
- 2 key limes
- 2 tbsp cayenne pepper or to your liking
- 1 tsp oregano powder
- Add all the ingredients together (in a bowl or glass jar and shake!)
- Add to vegetables for a marinade or drizzle over your favorite salad.
- Enjoy your tasty tamarind-inspired treat!
How To Store Tamarind Water To Last Longer
You read my article, and out of excitement, you made too much tamarind water. Don’t fret, I’ve got you! It is simple, just boil your tamarind water (to sterilize it) and pour it into a clean airtight mason jar or another glass jar with a tight lid. Let it cool, then refrigerate. This will ensure your juice lasts longer than a week.
And that’s how and why I fell in love with Tamarind water! I hope this article makes you fall in love so much that you get yourself a glass. Drop a comment on how good yours tastes and let us know if you have fallen in love with tamarind water too.
Until next time,