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Mango Tamarind Shake

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It was bound to happen sooner or later working on Season with Spice - a spice hit me on the head.

In Penang, I always thought a well-timed coconut would knock me out, so I was relieved to be the victim of a much lighter falling object. 

Walking at night in Pulau Tikus, one of the busiest areas of the island, a tamarind pod hit its mark (sorry, I couldn’t resist).  When I looked up, I saw hundreds and hundreds of tamarind pods hanging on every branch.  With each gust of wind, five or six of the brittle pods would fall and crack open on the road.

Not one to ignore signs from above, I headed to Little India the next day and bought a clump of tamarind pulp.  Tasting a bit of the sour, tart flavor, I immediately thought of it as the perfect ingredient to neutralize the sweetness of the many tropical fruits available here.

Mango Tamarind Shake by Season with Spice

In Malaysian cooking, tamarind is only used in savory dishes like laksa, curry, and asam prawns.  So it wasn’t a surprise when Reese’s mom gave me a funny look when I said I was going to make a mango tamarind shake.  But when I blended it up and handed her a glass, she took a sip, then paused and glanced at me, before finishing the entire glass.

It’s never a win-win in cooking – create something delicious, and there’s nothing left for you to enjoy.

Mango Tamarind Shake by Season with Spice
Serves about 2

Ingredients:
2 tbsp compressed tamarind pulp, which is usually sold in block form (alternatively, you can use tamarind paste, but it is not as flavorful)
1/3 cup boiling water
1 large, ripe, sweet mango (equal to about 1 cup of fruit) – peeled and sliced
1 tbsp raw sugar
1 cup milk (or use half milk, half coconut milk)
6 ice cubes

The process:
1. In a small bowl, mix the boiling water and tamarind pulp.  Once cool enough to touch, squeeze the fiber and seeds until most of the pulp dissolves, turning the water brown.  Place a metal strainer over the blender and pour the tamarind syrup into it.
2. Add the mango, sugar, milk, and ice, and then blend until smooth.
3. Garnish with a lime and enjoy!