Sweet and sour tamarind juice is one of the most common refreshers in the Middle East. By far, this is one of my favorite thirst quenching drinks. This chilled tamarind juice is a little sweet and a little tangy but seriously refreshing.
Tamarind drink or as we call it in the Middle East "Tamr-hindi " is a popular drink prepared from the tamarind wet pulp blocks with water and sugar. Make your taste buds happy with this tasty drink.
Sweet tamarind juice is usually sold by street vendors in Egypt especially during summer days. If you google "tamarind juice seller", you'll see pictures of a man holding a huge, probably copper, pot on his back with lots of cups arranged around his waist. This man used to also carry two copper discs in his hand, clanging them together to make a noise announcing that he is in the neighborhood, something like the ice cream truck. I still remember the rhythm he used when I was a little girl. It is very hard to find these guys nowadays, but I believe they still do exist probably around touristic sights.
My mom never allowed us to buy things from street vendors, so I am used to the homemade version of tamarind juice. I like mine sour and sweet, some of my friends like it light, more like flavored water. So in this recipe I made it the way I like. You could drink it as is, or dilute it with more iced water.
Sweet tamarind is especially popular during the holy month of Ramadan, along with sobia and Qamar-Addeen. These are sweet drinks that gives you the kiss of sugar you need after a long day of fasting. I was really surprised to know that this drink is not only sold in the Middle East but it is a very popular drink in Mexico called Agua de Tamarindo!
Note: This is an overview of the ingredients. You'll find the full measurements and instructions in the recipe card (printable) at the bottom of the page.
Note: This is an overview of the instructions. The detailed instructions are in the recipe card below.
- In a deep pot, break a block of tamarind into chunks with clean hands and cover with 8 cups of water.
- Let it soak for overnight stirring it every now and then to break it even more and release more flavors.
- Pour the tamarind mixture through a fine mesh strainer, preferably lined with a cheese cloth, placed over a large bowl or measuring cup. Squeeze the cheese cloth to get all the juice out.
- Pour into a blender and add the desired amount of sugar or your favorite sweetener and blend until combined. Place into a large pitcher and refrigerate until serving.
- Where to buy tamarind? Tamarind pods are not easy to find in the Middle East, that's why it is more common to use the wet pulp blocks. You can find tamarinds pods, blocks and paste in the Indian, Middle Eastern, Carribian and some Asian stores.
- Can I use tamarind paste? tamarind paste sold in small tubs are more like molasses in consistency. I've used it while making tamarind chicken but for a drink I do not think it will be as flavorful as the pulps itself.
- How to make the drink with fresh tamarind pods? fresh tamarind pods can even be eaten as a snack. Peel the hard brown shell, remove the root like veins, and just eat the pulp avoiding the hard seeds inside. For the drink place the peeled pods in a pot and add to a pot then pour hot or cold water as usual trying to break things apart and let it soak then proceed with the recipe.
- For sweeteners: sugar is the most common, try to taste it without sweeteners first to check you liking. Others suggest using agave and coconut nectar as well.
- Other flavorings: Some people like adding rose water, orange blossom water or ginger or vanilla extract.
Tamarind is an excellent source of vitamin B, C, potassium, magnesium, iron, thiamine, phosphorus, riboflavin, and fiber. Tamarind is believed to lower the risk of diabetes, aids weight loss, boosts digestion and also prevents chronic diseases.
Sweet and sour I would say. One of my kiddos described it as a very very concentrated lemonade with a hint of caramel. It is sour to the point that can make the back of your jaw tingles! You can dilute it ofcourse but if you like tangy stuff like me you are going to love it as is and it is going to send a shiver down your spine.
Consuming tamarind in moderation is essential as any other thing in life. Too much can lead to diarrhea, also it works as a blood thinner so you need to be careful if you already take blood thinner medications.
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- Tamarind Block, you will need two of this one.
Tamarind Juice (Sweet Tamarind Drink)
- 1 Block 350g tamarind
- 2 liter of tap water 8 cups
- Sugar to your preference
- In a deep pot or glass bowl, cut up tamarind block into chunks.
- Pour in water, cover for 8 hours, try to stir a couple of times in between.
- Strain through a fine mesh strainer.
- Add sugar to your liking and mix in a blender. Pour in a cups with some ice cubes.
- Another option for serving is serving it accompanied by sugar and more cold water so everyone can adjust his/her own cup
- If you are in a hurry you can use warm water and this will cut the soaking time to 4 hours.
- Some people like to boil the tamarind with the water, I’ve never used this method and I’ve heard that it decreases the tamarind health benefits.
- If your juice comes out more sour than you like, add more water to dilute it and maybe try adding more sugar.
- Please check the nutrition disclaimer policy.
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First published August 2013 . Last updated March 30, 2023 with important tips, clear step by step instructions and readability.