Thursday, 20 February 2014

how to eat sweet tamarind from pods

A box of sweet tamarind from Thailand.

A few months ago, a friend offered me a box of sweet tamarind from Thailand. This was actually given to him as a gift, but he found them a little strange and daunting. I've used tamarind as an ingredient before, but these were whole tamarind pods which are sufficiently ripe and sweet that you can enjoy as a snack just by themselves, which was actually quite novel to me, too. So how does one eat sweet tamarind? Let me show you the way.

The tamarind pods look like this. Not the prettiest things...

The whole sweet tamarind pods.

I cracked the outer shell open. I did this by applying pressure to the pod with hands until the shell broke. Visually, it doesn't really get much better.

A half-peeled sweet tamarind pod.

Then I scrapped off the shell until I was left with just the sticky fruit. Now, here it is, with the shell completely removed.

Sweet tamarind pod with the shell completely removed.

I peeled off the tough, stringy fibers that still clung on to the outside of the flesh. To proceed from here, take a bite of the fruit, one section at a time, chew and spit out the seed.

What does sweet tamarind taste like? To me, it tasted like a tangy dried date. Simon concurred, describing it as having the texture of a date, and a mild cranberry flavour.

A chunk of the sweet tamarind flesh, and one of the sweet tamarind seeds.

In conclusion, these sweet tamarind pods may look quite challenging, but they're really not difficult to eat. All you require is a sense of adventure, and you'll be rewarded with a nice snack!

12 comments:

  1. I love candied tamarind, but have never peeled it myself (in fact I didn't even know what it looked like whole!). I may have to find some :)

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    1. I think I may have had candied tamarind before, also salted tamarind! These sweet tamarind pods don't have any added sugar that I can see - they are just naturally sweet because they've been allowed to ripen further, as far as I know.

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  2. Sounds interesting, but I LOVE Liz's candied tamarind suggestion!

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    1. I wouldn't want to candy these, they're sweet enough as they are!

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  3. I really enjoy tamarind paste but was completely unfamiliar with the source. Very peculiar looking, the flavour description does sound quite tasty though!

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    1. It is pretty tasty! A nice balance of sweet and sour. :)

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  4. It's a bit difficult to find tamarind here in Barcelona, I've used tamarind paste before but never seen the pods ;-)))

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  5. What a delightful second hand treat. Job well done!

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  6. Dear leaf,

    I don't have a sweet tooth but I love the sour sweet taste of this stuff, especially on a road trip and more so if I'm not driving.

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    1. Oh, good one! They would indeed be a nice treat to have on a road trip, as a carefree passenger. :D

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