Tamarind. Its taste brings back so many childhood memories … especially going to the “tienda” to buy tamarind balls and pay for them one “real” (5 cents) or asking our neighbor if she has tamarind “duritos”.
This fruit is delicious, healthy and very versatile; there are countless recipes with tamarind in many different cultures. Today I share with you three, almost four.
This post is called 250 g tamarind because I managed to make all these recipes with only 250 g (tamarind is too expensive in Madrid), so you can halved the following recipe and still get a lot.
These are very popular in Panamá and in other countries in America. Mexico for instance has a very similar recipe, but they add chili powder to the tamarind; I bet they are delicious too.
In the Panamanian version there are only two ingredients, tamarind and sugar and they are perfect in their simplicity.
- 500 g tamarind
- 2 liters of water
- 1 cup sugar plus a little more to cover the balls
Peel and rinse the tamarind in ½ liter of water. Strain and discard the liquid.
Pour 1½ liter of water in a large pot and bring to a boil, then add the tamarind and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.
Drain, reserving the water (we are going to use it for our next “recipe.”) and strain the tamarind through a sieve to remove all the pulp.
Pour the pulp back in the pot and cook with the sugar, stirring constantly, until it thickens enough that you can see the bottom of the pot.
Remove from heat, pour it in another bowl and let cool enough so we can form the balls.
Then dip the tamarind ball in sugar and they are ready.
Coconut Macarons with tamarind
I love these two flavors, they work perfectly together.
- 2 teaspoons of desiccated coconut and a little more for garnish
- 200 g icing sugar
- 125 g ground almonds
- 120 – 125 g egg whites (about 3)
- Pinch of salt
- 40 g caster sugar
- Tamarind Cream
Place the grated coconut, powdered sugar and almond flour in an electric mixer and mix for about 30 seconds. Then sift to remove lumps.
Whisk the egg whites (is apt to age the whites, leaving them in the fridge for at least 24 hours or to speed up the process by putting them in the microwave for 10 seconds) with the salt until it begins to foam, now begin to add the sugar a little at a time until everything is well mixed. Continue beating until meringue is firm, but not dry.
Now add the coconut/ almonds mixture and fold with a spatula until everything is well incorporated and the mixture begins to shine (you will see what I mean once you reach that point).
Fill the pastry bag and cut the tip or use a nozzle (Wilton’s # 12 for example). Form the shells on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Sprinkle a bit of grated coconut on top of each shell, tap on the counter to get rid of any air bubbles and let dry 15 minutes to an hour. You will know they are ready when you touch them (with dry hands) and they don’t stick to your finger.
Preheat oven to 140-150 º C (284-302 º F).
Bake the macarons for 12 to 15 minutes depending on the oven. After 12 minutes, open the oven and carefully touch the cookies, if the top is loose and it separate from the bottom, it means that they are not ready yet. Keep baking and check again every 30 seconds or so.
Finally, let them cool completely and fill with the cream of tamarind.
For the cream tamarind we will use the same recipe as above, just lighten it adding some water until it has the texture needed to fill the shells.
Bonus track: Tamarind duritos
Add sugar to the cooking water of the tamarind and you will get a delicious drink or “chicha de tamarindo” and if you put it in the freezer for a few hours, well, then you will have a delicious and refreshing “durito”, or a Panamanian Popsicle!