Agua Fresca de Tamarindo (Made With Tamarind Pods)

Tamarind beverage recipe

The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel 

  • Total: 15 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Soak Time: 60 mins
  • Yield: 2 quarts/liters (32 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
25 Calories
0g Fat
6g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 quarts/liters (32 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 25
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 0mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 6g 2%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 0g
Calcium 1mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Agua de tamarindo or "tamarind water" is one of the most common and well-loved aguas frescas in all of Mexico. The earthy sweet and sour flavor—with its definitely bracing acidic note—is most welcome on a hot day.

Though tamarind itself is native to Africa and most often used in Indian cuisine, tamarind water is a popular drink mainly in Latin America. The flavor is so beloved that commercially produced tamarind-flavored drinks (some carbonated, others not) are commonly found, most notably Mexico´s Jarritos brand soda.

The rustic-looking and astringent fruit of the tamarind tree is a pod containing a few seeds surrounded by pulp. It is the pulp, mixed with water and sugar, that is used to make this refreshing beverage. Although ready-made tamarind syrups and bricks of tamarind paste can be found at many Hispanic and Asian stores, there is something singularly satisfying about making the drink from scratch—that is, starting with the dried pods themselves.

Ingredients

  • 15 dried tamarind pods
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for tamarind beverage
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel 
  2. Bring half the water to a boil in a large pot over high heat.

    Bring water to boil
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel 
  3. While you are waiting for the water to boil, prepare the tamarind pods: remove the brittle outer shell and pull off as many strings as you can; discard the shell and strings.

    Prepare tamarind pods
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel 
  4. After the water comes to a rolling boil, remove it from the heat and place the inner portion of the tamarind and the sugar in the water. Let the tamarind soak for about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

    Tamarind in pot
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel 
  5. At this point, the water will have cooled down. Use your fingers to squeeze out the hard tamarind seeds and remove the remaining strings; discard them.

    Squeeze down tamarind seeds
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel 
  6. Place the liquid and remaining pulp in a blender and process until the pulp is fully blended into the water.

    Place pulp in blender
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel  
  7. Run the liquid through a strainer, if you wish, or leave it pulpy.

    Strain
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel 
  8. Pour your delicious agua de tamarindo into a pitcher, add the rest of the water, and refrigerate until cold.

    Place in bottle
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel 
  9. Serve over ice, if desired.

    Serve over ice
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel 

Tips

  • All the quantities in this recipe are approximate and can be tweaked to taste. Add more water if you like a less concentrated beverage, use less sugar if you want more tartness, etc.
  • Squeeze a juicy lime or two into your pitcher of agua de tamarindo for an extra punch of flavor.
  • Even the most well-strained tamarind water tends to have solids settle at the bottom of the pitcher, so always stir before serving.

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