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Aguas frescas, mainly made of fruit in season, are so popular in Mexico, that you'll see more agua fresca stands than taco eateries in any Mexican community. Noon meals on family tables are always accompanied by these delicious fruit "ades". Tamarind "water" is one of the most popular.
- Unpeel the fresh tamarind pods.
- Scrape any remaining peel bits under running water,.
- Bring unpeeled tamarind to boil in some of the recipe water.
- Simmer for about 3 min.
- Let cool and with hands get the pits out.
- Process unpitted pulp in blender.
- Sweeten remainding water.
- Mix everything together.
- Sieve for any remaining pulp threads or peel bits.
- Chill and enjoy.
I have a big jug of this in my refrigerator right now! Processing the tamarind pods to get the smooth pulp is pretty labor-intensive (a bit moreso than making fresh-squeezed lemonade from scratch, IMO), but it's definitely worth it in the end. I wasn't sure if the amount of tamarind pulp in the recipe was equal to the weight of the unprocessed pods, so I went nuts and ended up with about 4.5 cups of tamarind pulp to work with. Rather than add dry sugar to the mix, I made simple syrup (2 cups water and 2 cups sugar, cooked over low heat until dissolved and clear). I ended up with about 2 gallons of fairly strong agua de tamarindo, so I've been diluting it a bit with ice water as it's served (most agua frescas I've tried have been more watery, but I didn't have a big enough jug to dilute it down quite enough at the time). I guess what I'm trying to say is that I complicated the recipe more that it should have been, but I really like the drink anyway -- it's a nice change from lemonade every so often (and it garners brownie points from my DH, too!). Thanks, Mexi-Rosie!