The Tamarind fruit is very acidic can be extremely sour by itself, but with a little preparation, you can have a delicious sweet and sour treat. Adding some powdered chili will give you some spice as well..
Lets get started..
Step 1: Gather your ingredients
Here is what you will need:
1 pound Tamarind pods
1 to 1 1/2 cups of water
2 1/2 cups sugar (save a 1/2 cup for later)
1 teaspoon salt
1 to 2 tablespoons Chile de arbol (optional and to taste) or cayenne
Step 2: Hulling the pods
This step probably takes the longest. You have to remove the outer shell and inner strings to get to the sticky fruit. After you remove the shell, break them apart in smaller pieces. You can either leave the seeds or remove them. I normally just leave them as that is how this candy is normally made in Mexico.
Give them a quick rinse with some water to remove any debris from open pods or stuck shell pieces. Make sure its a quick rinse.
Step 3: Breaking down the friut
Pour half of the water over the fruit and cook it over a low to medium heat while stirring until the fruit breaks down and looks more like a paste. You can help it along by mashing the fruit as it cooks. If needed you can add water little by little to get a thick consistancy.
Step 4: Adding the salt, sugar and chili powder
Once you have a nice thick paste, add the salt and start adding the sugar. Add 1 cup of sugar at a time until it is completely incorporated. You can add the Chile de Arbol at this time as well if you choose to do so. Turn up the heat a little, stirring constantly until it boils.
Step 5: Making the pieces
Make sure you use something that will fit in your Fridge.
Using a cookie sheet and some wax paper I dropped a little more than a tablespoon for each. I then placed them in the fridge till they cooled and somewhat hardened. About 1 to 2 hours.