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Brits - The Tamarind Heads

Recently on a business trip to Bali, I was introduced to a pod with an interesting shape, weird in texture but with a surprisingly fruity, sweet, and sour flavour. This fascinating sticky, fleshy and juicy pod came from the tamarind tree. It has been said that people either love it or hate it.

Have you heard of it?

The tamarind tree is indigenous to the tropical regions of Africa and Sudan, however, its production has spread to many neighboring regions for its source of nutrition and unique flavours. Tamarind history dates back 5000 years ago through merchants in the Indian subcontinent and further to Southeast Asia into countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia. Today we know tamarind mainly for its wide use across Mexican cuisine.

During the Victorian era, the British living in the Indian state of Goa stuck tamarind pods into one of their ears to keep locals at a distance. Locals believed that the fresh pods were inhabited by demons, which therefore kept them from approaching Brits. This earned the nickname of “Lugimlee,” translated in English as “tamarind heads” which is still used today.

Tamarind fruit is used in local medicines but its full potential is found as food. Tamarind fruit can be eaten raw, cooked into desserts, jams, sauces, and soups. When tamarind is dried it can be used ground into spice and or made into candies. Many believe that tamarind is a secret ingredient used in many cuisines across the world especially in vegetarian cuisine. Tamarind pulp mixed with a bit of salt is an excellent brass and copper polish.

Tamarind fruit can be found in several different forms:

Raw The pods are the least processed form of tamarind. You can easily open the pods and remove the pulp/fruit.

Pressed Block Shell and seeds are removed and the pulp/fruit is compressed into a block. Its natural flavour is still very close to raw tamarind.

Concentrate Tamarind concentrate is the pulp that has been boiled down and sometimes preservatives are added.

Tamarind & Chilli Margarita 60 ml 100% Agave Blanco tequila infused with chilli* 20 ml Fresh lime juice 10-15 ml Tamarind syrup**

  1. Combine all ingredients into a shaker, add ice and hard shake.

  2. Double strain into a chilled margarita glass.

  3. Garnish with fresh lime and dark chocolate on the side.

*Chilli Tequila 3 pieces of birds eye chilli 700 ml 100% agave blanco tequila

  1. Cut chilli and deseed, combine together and infuse overnight.

  2. Once infused, strain the chilli and bottle the infused tequila. This will last for a month - depending on your consumption speed ;-)

** Tamarind Syrup 60g Tamarind paste 100g caster sugar 60g still water

  1. Bring water and tamarind paste to a boil then lower the heat.

  2. Add the caster sugar and stir until it dissolves. Make sure the tamarind paste is dissolved properly and cool it down to room temperature.

  3. Bottle and keep refrigerated. We suggest using within 2 weeks for the best flavours, but it will keep refrigerated for up to 4 weeks.

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