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Cravings: Tamarind

Published May 27, 2008 - (Updated Dec 5, 2012)


Featured in Vallarta Lifestyles Magazine, Winter/Spring 2008 issue.

While it’s native to tropical Africa and an essential ingredient in several Asian cuisines, not to mention Worcestershire sauce, we like to think of tamarind as our very own. Widely popular in Mexico, tamarind grows wild in tall trees that produce 3- to 8-inch-long, brown, pea-like pods containing a soft acidic pulp and many seeds. When fully ripe, the shell becomes brittle and easily broken.

While the fruit can be eaten fresh, it is most commonly fashioned into a drink, agua de tamarindo, a mixture of water, sugar and pulp. But perhaps it’s most intriguing, at least here in Mexico, as a key ingredient in many spicy golosinas, or sweets, popular with children and adults. Take a chance on tamarind-based candies next time you find yourself at the checkout lane of your favorite supermarket. The notion of spicy candy may seem contradictory, but you will experience a genuinely Mexican tradition!

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