Sweet and refreshing tamarind dessert defies all expectations

Tamarind candy balls in the market

picture: Tond Gaspar (stock struggle)

One of my favorite things about growing up in Vietnam was the endless selection of sweets. Offers usually come from adults – from soft sweets that melt in your mouth to redundant sweets to sour sweets that curl in the mouth, I’ve accepted it all. (Fortunately, no one ever asked me to ride in the car with them.) What can I say? I had an awesome sweet tooth. And I was especially excited whenever I gave tamarind dessert.

What is tamarind candy?

This dessert became a staple snack of my childhood. But for many, tamarind candy is an acquired taste, because it is sweet, sour, And the hot at the same time. Made from the fruit of the tamarind tree, the fruits of its labor lie within the pods. One of my neighbors who grew up had a tamarind tree in his yard, and whenever I passed by his house, I secretly hoped that the tamarind pods would fall off so that I could open up its beautiful caramel-colored peel and steal the dark, juicy fruit using bits of fibre-filament inside.

Tamarind candy is made by mixing the fruit with sugar and chili powder. It is neither the first nor the only type of candy with a multi-layered flavor, but for me it is the first that makes a long-lasting impression.

Eating tamarind pudding is a unique experience on its own. The taste of tamarind on your tongue can only be described as an intermarriage of complex flavors; As writer and food historian Chitrita Banerjee put it in her book Eating India: Exploring the Nation’s Kitchen, it’s an experience where “your eyes are weeping from the chili…the tongues are quivering at the intensity of the tamarind.” In other words, it’s like going on a blind treasure hunt – you know what you’re into, but you often don’t see it coming.

The history of tamarind

To truly understand the roots of tamarind candy, look no further than the tamarind tree itself, a tall, shady giant that thrives in tropical climates. Native to tropical Africa, the tree was introduced to the Western Hemisphere in early seventeenth centuryspecifically to Mexico and the Caribbean. Later it reached the Persians and Arabs who came up with the word “”indian tamar(or “Indian date”) to describe its date-like appearance. But when It appears in these areas is still unclear. One theory claims that a file tamarind It was introduced to Aleppo, a city in Syria, from India via Persia in the seventh or eighth century, and has since been used to season food.

Regardless of the exact migration pattern, the tamarind tree has, over time, proven beneficial in many ways. In a tropical environment where refrigeration was not yet available, tamarind fruit was a reliable ingredient that could last for months if stored properly. With tamarind pods so abundant, what better way to use them than to turn them into candy?

The many uses of tamarind

Some of the oldest evidence of tamarind’s culinary uses can be traced back to blessing cookbookwhich included “a royal recipe for rice and meat with prickly nuts by dipping in tamarind syrup,” Writes Mehr Mirza in savour. Additionally, the tamarind tree was prized by the Mughal emperors (who ruled parts of northern and central India from the 16th to 19th centuries) for the dense shade it provided, making it an ideal place for the weary traveler to relax.

Of course, tamarind trees can be used for more than just an afternoon nap. The pulp is harvested from tamarind pods with multiple uses, such as cream of tartar or Worcestershire sauce, which come from tartaric acid From immature sour pods. Fully ripe pods are brittle, more chocolate in color and can be easily broken in your hand. It also tends to be on the sweeter side, which makes it perfect Soft drinks Sweet and sour candy– Both are famous for Mexico. The desserts are known as “tamarindo” or simply “Mexican dessert”.

In Southeast Asia, especially India, the fruit is often used in pickles, chutneys, chutneys and curries. In Malay, it is called “asam”, which roughly translates to “sour”. The Vietnamese call it “keo me” or “sour candy”. Apart from its culinary uses, it can also be used medical purposesAs a treatment for diarrhea, constipation, fever and malaria. Its anti-inflammatory properties may also be useful in treating certain diseases; However, science has not yet proven this. Finally, it is not uncommon for tamarind to be used as a spice, seasoning, paste, or sold as dried fruit.

Where do you get tamarind candy?

in Asian supermarketTamarind candies are usually in the middle of the candy and snack aisle, in small plastic shells no bigger than a soup bowl. One of the most popular tamarind candy brands is Amira, which happens to be the brand I ate a lot when I was a kid. If you’re feeling ambitious, a quick Google search will yield hundreds of recipes on how to make your own tamarind candy.

But if you are not ready to experiment in the kitchen and do not live near an Asian supermarket, there are other ways to get this delicious and spicy dessert. On the Internet, there is no shortage of specialty stores selling tamarind candy, such as MixGrocerAnd the Only Asian foodAnd the Lollipops and Pops (especially This delicious dessert looks like a chia animal), candy storeAnd the Zocalo Foods.

It should be noted that tamarind candy, like other candy you find in an ethnic grocery store, contains prop 65 California warning sign due to potential lead exposure. While this may be cause for concern, it is also worth noting that lead exposure can occur in A variety of waysNot just through candy. So it is up to you to decide if this dessert is right for you. For me, it will always be associated with happy memories from my childhood, thus, the answer is usually “yes”.

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