I have been enjoying tamarind flavors in a number of Indian and Thai dishes for years, but until recently it had not occurred to me to attempt to use tamarind in anything myself. Last year, I was making a recipe that called for tamarind concentrate. We used it in a few dishes (and a few cocktails), and when I recently stumbled upon a bag of dried tamarind pods in a local international market, I decided it was finally time to figure out how to really use this lovely fruit.
Now, I am certainly not an expert on how to properly use tamarind. So for those of you who are, feel free to chime in on how I should have prepared this fruit.
First I cracked off the hard, outer pod. Then, inside the fruit are very large seeds which I removed. Although I probably could have infused the fruit at that point, I thought reconstituting the fruit a bit might help bring out the flavor. So I added some water and heated it on the stove (as above). It isn’t very pretty at this point, but it has that lovely, tangy flavor.
50 g. tamarind flesh (approximately 1/3 cup)
1/2 c. water
Zest of 1 orange
1 1/2 c. Gin
2 TB Sugar
Combine the tamarind flesh and 1/2 cup water in a small sauce pan and place on stove. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 3-4 minutes, or until most of the water has either soaked into the flesh or evaporated. Remove from heat and let it cool.
After the tamarind cools, combine all ingredients in a jar, shake and let sit in a cool area for a few weeks. We let this infuse for about 3 weeks, but it seemed to infuse pretty quickly. You could probably do this in two weeks, or even use a bit more gin. Strain and filter through a strainer, cheesecloth or jelly bag, and finally a coffee filter.
We love this liqueur. Both the tamarind and orange flavors stand out beautifully. We have tried it in a gin and tonic, and I think you can guess how delicious it was. More cocktails recipes to follow…
Don’t let the tamarind intimidate you! I’m so pleased with how well this infused and how easy it was, we will make more tamarind infusions as well.