Some people like it raw, others cook it a bit
This Ramazan we made a few calls to our grandmothers to raid their recipe stash. This particular one for Imli or tamarind sherbet is really old school but has great wow factor if you are hosting an iftari.
There are two ways to make this sherbet with the tamarind: katcha/raw or cooked.
You buy the imli in blocks from the supermarket. This recipe calls for using half a block.
Soak the tamarind with one glass of iced water and remove the seeds. You will see the pulp softening. You’ll have to use your hands to extract the seeds and rub off the tamarind skin from them. Strain the concentrate because you don’t want any hard bits to stay behind.
For the raw sherbet just add iced water and ice to the concentrate till you get the right level of flavor, according to your taste. It is meant to be less on the pulpy side and a thinner beverage.
Add sugar to taste and kala namak or Himalayan black salt and for a little kick, the grandmother said add a tiny bit of red chili powder. No lemon is needed because tamarind already has a quite a bit of kick.
Some people bring the tamarind paste to a boil twice with about a glass or two of water to make their concentrate. You let the syrup cool and then dilute for the drinks.
According to Healthline, the polyphenols in tamarind have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. One cup of the pulp has magnesium, potassium, iron, Calcium, Phosphorus, Vitamin B1 (thiamin), Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (niacin).
Tamarind contains sugars but not the kind that is linked to metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. But as with all cases, if you have a health concern, do consult your doctor if fasting on what kind of food and drink you can safely incorporate into your diet during Ramazan.