Tamarind candy recipe – learn how to make this low GI version delicious Caribbean delicacy using unrefined coconut sugar with a splash of rum flavoring.
Tamarind is that sweet and sour fruit that people either love or hate. I love the sweet and sour combination of this tropical fruit so much that I’m elated to be sharing this Caribbean sweet snack called tamarind candy also known as tamarind balls. It’s very simple to make, more-ish and diabetic friendly thanks to the use of coconut sugar.
What is tamarind candy
Tamarind candy balls are a sweet treat made from the tamarind fruit which grows in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. The fruit is de-shelled, then moulded into a large ball with the seeds still intact. Some people add either rum, black pepper, sauce and sugar for additional flavouring.
The mixture is broken off into small balls and finally rolled in sugar before being ready to eat. I know too well that tamarind balls are a sought after island confectionery which is why I felt the need to make a more healthier version.
If it is your first time visiting my website, you may want to head over to this page entitled Caribbean foodie:101 to learn how about why I modify Caribbean recipes.
Is tamarind candy good for you
Yes, the pulp itself contains an array of vitamins and minerals
- B vitamins,
- C vitamins
Tamarind candy ingredients
- Tamarind pods – you can purchase a box from most Caribbean/Asian or Latino stores.
- Coconut sugar – I used two types of coconut sugar to make this recipe – fine and granulated version for dusting which a friend brought me from overseas.
- Alcohol free rum flavouring – This is optional, you can leave out the rum flavouring if you want to make it child friendly
How to make tamarind candy balls
De shelling the tamarind pods – the shells of a tamarind is surprisingly more on the soft side then it is tough. Use your fingers to literally crack open the shell and pull the stalk away from each pod. You want to be left with the flesh and seeds only.
Additional ingredients – Once the tamarind has been shelled. Add the rest of the ingredients (rum essence and coconut sugar, pepper, sauce etc.. if needed)
Moulding the tamarind into a bowl – Use your hands to shape the tamarind into a ball. It takes a bit of effort to make into a dough ball. Some people add flour as an aid for shaping the tamarind ball but I prefer to add as little additives as possible. Don’t worry if some of the seeds come apart, this is completely normal.
Forming candy balls – Set up a plate with an layer of coconut sugar on it. Break off small pieces of tamarind so you can form small balls. Then roll into the sugar, repeat this step. Your hands maybe become sticky overtime, so wash in between intervals if needed.
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Tamarind candy balls (steps with pictures)
De-shell the tamarind pods and remove the stalk (see picture)
Add the sugar and rum essence then use your hands to mould the tamarind flesh into a big ball
Break off small pieces of the flesh to form balls then roll each one in the sugar
Notes and tips
- Tamarind is also known as sampaloc/tamarindo
- Use your hands to mould the tamarind flesh into a ball
- Don’t worry if some of the seeds come away, this is normal
- Omit the rum essence if you want to keep the recipe child friendly
- Add hot sauce or black pepper for an extra kick
- Using fine coconut sugar to dust the rolls, form a thicker coating around the balls (not what is pictured, looks like a truffle)
- Can use a white zero calorie sweetener such a stevia or erythritol for dusting the balls if you prefer to.
- A box of fresh tamarind pods or use 20 pods
- 1 tbsp of rum essence optional
- 1/4 cup of coconut sugar
- Additional sugar for dusting - I used coconut sugar mixed with a small amount of erythritol optional
- Use your hands to de-shell the tamarind then place the flesh in a medium sized bowl.
- Discard the stem and shell pieces once the tamarind has been shelled
- Add the coconut sugar, rum essence and any other additional ingredients you choose to use i.e black pepper, hot sauce etc..
- Use your hands to mould the tamarind into a large ball and prepare a plate with a layer of sugar for dusting.
- Break off small pieces of tamarind to form balls then roll into the sugar
- Repeat this step until all the balls have been made