Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tamarindo or Tamarind

Food In Isla Mujeres

Tamarids are so common in Yucatan, they grow wild around rural villages and ornament urban streets.Tamarind (English) Tamarindo (Spanish), Pah-Ch'uhuk (Maya)  
The large tree, which originates in Africa, was brought to this area during colonial times, and its fruit is very popular among the Maya. The fruit pods hang in clusters up to six to eight inches long. The trees bear great amounts of fruits pods from April to July. When they ripen the outside skin becomes a brittle, easily-cracked shell and the pulp dehydrates naturally to a sticky paste. Their tartness overpowers their sweetness, making them an addictive snack for some who eat them fresh, while others prefer them sweetened in drinks and candies.They are aromatic and used in savory sauces. In the US they are an ingredient in Worcestershire sauce, in Mexico you will find them in chamoy sauces and snacks.
  In Isla Mujeres, you will find the popular beverage aqua de tamarindo and a variety of tamarind candies (dulces de tamarindos) such as  pulparindo, which contains sugar, salt, and chili peppers, making it simultaneously tart, sweet, salty, and spicy. A popular version is squeezed out of the 'head of clown' creating 'hair'; made by Hershey called Pelon Pelo Rico . That roughly translates as Bald Guy with Delicious Hair. There are also cocktails made from tamarind. (I have seen one at Mango Cafe.) Here is a Mexconnect article with recipes and more tamarind information.

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