Tamarindus indica is probably indigenous to tropical Africa,but has been cultivated for so long in the caribbean that it is sometimes reported to be indigenous there. It grows wild in Africa in locales as diverse as Sudan, Cameroon, Nigeria, Zambia and Tanzania. It reached South Asia likely through human transportation and cultivation, It is widely distributed throughout the tropical belt from Africa to Australia and throughout Oceania, Southeast Asia, Taiwan and China.
In the 16th century it was introduced to Mexico and to a lesser degree to South America by Spanish and Portuguese travelers and it became a staple ingredient in the region’s cuisine.
How to make the tamarind balls:
- 2 lb of Tamarinds (shells removed)
- 1 ½ cups brown sugar
- ½ cup white sugar (granulated)
- 2 tablespoons red rum (optional – helps to preserve it)
- 2 table spoons flour (optional – helps to bind the mixture)
- Shell the tamarind pods and remove the strings from the pulp.
- Put the pulp in a bowl.
- Optional – Sprinkle the red rum evenly over the pulp.
- Add the white and brown sugar (set aside a little brown sugar)
- Optional – Add the flour as it helps to bind every
- Knead with your hands until the tamarind mixture is like dough
- Break up the tamarind mixture into bite-size portions
- Shape them into balls
- Roll the tamarind balls in the sugar you set aside for more sweetness if desired.
- Store in a cool area or the refrigerator