No-Sugar-Added Mexican Agua de Tamarindo Recipe

tamarindo drink
Andre Baranowski/StockFood Creative/Getty Images
Total Time 40 min
Prep 10 min, Cook 30 min
Yield 1 cup Sugarless Tamarind Water

Agua de Tamarindo is a popular drink in Mexico made from tamarind pods. It is considered an agua fresca or "fresh water" drink. Agua frescas are usually a mix of fruit, sugar, and water. These drinks are similar to lemonade.

This recipe for Agua de Tamarinda is a sugarless twist on the traditional recipe and you can use pods or prepared tamarind. 

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon of water
  • 1 pound tamarind pods (about 16 tamarind pods) or 1/2 cup prepared tamarind
  • Artificial sweetener to taste

Preparation

  1. If using pods, prepare the pods by removing the outer shell of the tamarind pods and discarding. There will be strings or growths that look like roots surrounding the flesh of the pods. Remove as many of these strings as possible and discard. You will be left with a strip of firm fleshy pulp with the seeds still inside. The seeds will be removed later.
     
  2. Put the pulp or prepared tamarind into a large pot with water. Bring the water to a boil. Lower the heat and cook for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. If you are using pods, try to separate the seeds from the pulp as you stir and it softens.
     
  1. Strain the liquid to remove the seeds and large bits.
     
  2. Pour into a pitcher and add artificial sweetener to taste. Most traditional recipes suggest adding up to a cup of sugar. Personal preferences vary, so test as you add up to that equivalent amount of sweetener.
     
  3. Refrigerate and serve over ice.

Nutrition facts: 1 cup or 8 ounces has 8 calories and 2 g carb

A Little Bit About Tamarind

The flavor of tamarind is sweet, tangy, and a little bit spicy. The flesh of the pods is used in many dishes including soft drinks, desserts, juices, and candy. Tamarind is also used frequently in Asian cuisine and imparts a sweet-and-sour tangy flavor to dishes such as pad thai. Tamarind is thought to be a diabetes-friendly food that may offer some diabetes-specific health benefits.

The puffy pods are usually large and brown. They are found in many markets, especially those that carry Mexican products. They can be found in the fruit section or with dried packaged or bulk foods.

In a Pod, Block, or Can?

Prepared tamarind is sold in blocks, as a paste, or in cans. Make sure there is no sugar or other flavorings added. Tamarind is made into Mexican tamarindo candy or paste which has added sugar, chili, and sometimes other spices. Make sure you are getting pure tamarind pulp which already has some of its own sweetness.

They even make a good snack right out of the pod. Just don't eat a lot, they still contain carbohydrates and can act as a laxative.

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