This chilled tamarind drink is one of my favorites. It is tangy and sweet and completely refreshing.
When I’m able to find fresh, sweet tamarind in the markets, this drink is one of the first things I make, even before eating it as a snack or transforming it into a sweet and savory tamarind candy. If you’re not able to find sweet tamarind in the pod, this drink can also be made with the “wet” tamarind blocks that are readily available at most Asian markets.
It’s a very simple drink to make. You simply squish and squeeze the tamarind flesh with water until it forms a paste. Then dilute this tamarind paste with some additional water, add sugar, and heat until the sugar is dissolved. Once the drink is chilled, serve over ice with some lime and mint to garnish, and you have a wonderfully refreshing treat. It’s a perfect drink to quench your thirst on these hot summer days, or to quell the fire in your mouth after eating a spicy Thai meal!
Tamarind Drink | Nam Makham | น้ำมะขามสด
Makes 2 servings
1/2 cup fresh tamarind or wet tamarind block
3 cups water
1/4 cup sugar
2 sprigs of mint
To make tamarind paste, combine 1/2 cup of fresh, sweet tamarind fruit or pre-packaged wet tamarind block with 1 cup of hot water. Mash with your fingers until the fruit dissolves into the water. Strain the fibers and seeds out with your fingers or a fine mesh strainer. The resulting paste should be about the consistency of ketchup.
Heat 1/2 cup of the tamarind paste, 2 cups water, and 1/4 cup sugar over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. The sweetness of the drink will depend on your tamarind. If it's too sweet, add a little more tamarind paste or some lime juice. If it's too sour, add more sugar.
Cool the tamarind drink in the fridge. Fill a glass with ice and then pour the tamarind drink over. Garnish with a slice of lime and a sprig of mint.