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Tamarind Drink | Nam Makham | น้ำมะขามสด

Tamarind Drink | Nam Makham | น้ำมะขามสด

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.  

Tamarind Drink | Nam Makham | น้ำมะขามสด

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


Tamarind Drink | Nam Makham | น้ำมะขามสด

Makes 2 servings

Tamarind Drink | Nam Makham | น้ำมะขามสด


  • 1/2 cup fresh tamarind or wet tamarind block
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • lime slices
  • 2 sprigs of mint


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
12 comments… add one
  • margaret n. hernandez February 6, 2017, 1:52 am

    Today is the first time I taste the tea, I got it at a Taqueria but now I would like to learn how to make it, do u have a receipe

    • Rachel February 6, 2017, 3:53 am

      Hi Margaret! The recipe should show up at the bottom of the post. Best, Rachel

  • Murli Menon April 30, 2016, 3:49 pm

    In Kerala, tamarind juice is a common summer cooler, however instead of sugar you must use palm jaggery or coconut jaggery which is available in all Indian stores in USA,
    With palm jaggery and coconut jaggery this drink tastes heavenly.
    Also it becomes 100 percent vegan and can detoxify your body by excreting fluoride through urine.

  • Baby Kato March 29, 2016, 7:26 pm

    Wow, I loved this simple recipe. Thank you so much for posting it. The Tamarind drink turned out perfect. Tart, tangy and sweet, just the way I love it. This lovely drink is very refreshing and will be made often this summer. Made for What’s on the Menu Tag Game.

    • Rachel March 30, 2016, 4:00 am

      So glad to hear it!

  • Rachel April 10, 2012, 4:55 pm

    Gosh, Stephen, I’m not really sure… I tend to drink it all pretty quickly :) I do keep pad Thai sauce (which has tamarind paste in it) for a week or two in the fridge, so my guess is that it’d keep that long.

  • Stephen April 10, 2012, 10:19 am

    I’ve craved this since I came across it in Cambodia. I have blocks of tamarind, which I’ll need to soak and stone. I was just wondering how long you think it would keep in the fridge, if I made a big batch?

  • Rachel December 28, 2011, 8:25 pm

    That’s a good question, Charles, and I’m afraid I don’t know the answer! I’ve never seen tamarind powder used except in soup bases and such. If you give it a try, let me know if turns out!

  • Charles December 28, 2011, 8:21 am

    Hi Rachel,
    Thanks for the article. I cant get fresh tamrind where I am. Is tamrind powder a good substitute?

  • Rachel July 31, 2011, 12:49 pm

    Hi Patricia – I can consistently find fresh tamarind at Ranch 99, especially the one in Cupertino. It tends to be hidden on the lower shelves in the vegetable section there. You can also find it at many Hispanic markets (Mi Puebla, for instance) and at Southeast Asian markets (like the Lao Market in Oakland).
    For those outside of this area, my mom in Louisiana was able to find fresh tamarind at her local Wal-Mart! I haven’t checked the Wal-Marts around here, but was happy to hear that it’s becoming more and more available.

  • Patricia July 31, 2011, 11:33 am

    Hi Rachael – Where can I find “Fresh Tamarind”? Some stores sell “Pods and Paste” only. I live in Bay Area. {;>)
    Thanks and Regards, Patricia paw@feri.com

    • dave August 10, 2016, 4:21 am

      I bought some raw in the shell at the flea mart
      One booth wanted 4 dollars a pound the other was 2..50 a pound not sure what the difference was it looked the same to me .

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