Tarugos - Tamarind Candies
Oh, Mexico. I am almost done here - this will be my last week of teaching classes, and then Justin and I will spend one week backpacking around Guanajuato before kicking it back to the old Ciudad del Lago Salado. I am excited to get back, but here are a few things I will miss:
Falling asleep to the angry/hilarious sounds of baahing sheep. It is oddly soothing now.
Picking fresh pomegranates and figs off of trees (discreetly, of course).
Swimming in the local natural water holes, warmed by hot spring water.
Agave plants so big they look like dinosaurs.
Dulce de leche treats (hopefully featured in an upcoming blog entry)
Food parties with my classes - these are days where I have the kids bring food, which we eat while translating some popular English song. These have been great - they bring tamales, cookies, arroz con leche, quesadillas. I bring nothing! Suckers!
Anyways, it has been a time. I recommend Mexico to anyone interested in visiting a cheaper and more delicious version of Southern California. They tell me it is dangerous, but this is my second backpacking trip here and I have yet to have any trouble. Might help that my husband is a six foot tall sasquatch.
Anyways, here are some delicious tamarind candies we made! Anyone out there like tamarind? It is a novel flavor for the American tongue, particularly when sprinkled with chili powder! But they grow on you, they really do. Also, this is a particularly good recipe to do with kids, with all the hand smooshing. You can always leave out the chili powder if they (or you!) don't like it.
Love Arranza's face in this one.
Oddly mirror like quality in this one, this is Mariana, my current hostess/mama.
Tarugos (Tamardind Candies)
1 kilo of tamarind (available in bulk in Mexican stores and most grocery stores)
Unrefined sugar (refined would probably do as well)
Chile pequin (that bright red, very fine chili dust you buy in the Mexican section)
(sorry about the undefined quantities here - it is very much a recipe 'to taste')
Boil a quart of water. While waiting for it to boil, peel the tamarind so you have only pulp and seeds. When boiling, put in tamarind. Simmer for 10 minutes. Strain, and put boiled tamarind mush into a bowl. Cover with sugar, then cover with chili pequin. Mash together with hands (wait until cool enough to do so, of course). Keep adding more sugar and more chili, tasting as you go, until it gets to where you like it. Take out strings and threads from tamarind pods. You can take out the seeds too, but not everyone does. We didn't, and it was fine, you just spit them out later.
When mixed in with a nice flavor and a sticky texture, roll into balls (it will still be sticky, so they don't have to be perfect) and then roll balls first in sugar, then in more chili powder. Leave to set for an hour or two (or skip it, they are just as delicious at once, if more likely to fall apart). Spritz on lime juice if you like it that way, and eat!