Introduction: Tamarind-Acai Smoothie

Whether you feel like taking a break from warm weather or just feel like enjoying a delicious cold drink, whip out the blender and make yourself this smoothie with some ingredients you may have never thought to combine before.

Tamarind trees are indigenous to Africa, transplanted to the tropical climates of South America and Mexico by Spanish and Portuguese colonists.The tree produces long, brown seed pods which house the seeds of the tree, along with a brownish pulp rich in Calcium, Vitamin C, and B Vitamins. It's this delicious sweet-sour pulp that is seen and used in cooking. Tamarind is mostly invisible in traditional American cuisine, only making an appearance as an additional ingredient in Worcestershire sauce. You can find it in Mexican and South American cuisine flavoring candies, aguas frescas, and Mexican sodas (my favorite Jarritos flavor), as well as an ingredient in savory Indian and Thai dishes.

Acai palms are the producers of one of the latest food fads circulating today, the pulp of the acai [ah-sigh-EE] fruit. Also native to South American countries such as Brazil, acai pulp has a large concentration of antioxidants and anthocyanins, giving the fruit a rich, purple color. Acai has only recently come into the public spotlight as an ingredient in juice blends, and flavorings for yoghurts and other products.

Both of these lesser known ingredients shine through in this tasty and healthy smoothie, so blend, pour and alter this recipe to your tastes!

Step 1: What You'll Need

  • Blender
  • Knife
  • Cutting Board

  • Unsweetened Tamarind Pulp
  • Unsweetened Acai Pulp
  • Orange Juice (or other juice of your choosing)
  • Frozen Fruit (I used a berry blend)
  • Fresh Fruit (I used mangoes)

When it comes to fruit alternatives, fresh and frozen berries, strawberries, bananas and stone fruit (peaches, plums) would all make excellent substitutions and additions. You could try pineapple and citrus as well, but keep in mind that tamarind is already naturally sour, so you'd have to balance the combination of your flavors.

Additionally, regular yoghurt, Greek yoghurt, milk or any type of milk substitute (almond, soy) would give this smoothie an additional richness.

Step 2: Combine

These are the proportions that resulted in the best tasting smoothie for me. Keep in mind that I like my smoothies with a bit less sugar than normal, so if a slightly sour smoothie isn't appetizing to you, add more orange juice or change to a non-citrus juice like guava (which also worked well). Combine all the desired ingredients in your blender, and blend until smooth.

- 7 oz (1/2 package) tamarind pulp
- 7 oz (2 individual packets) acai pulp
- 1 whole mango, cubed
- 1 cup frozen berries
- 2 cups orange juice

Step 3: Enjoy!

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