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Thai Tamarind Candy

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Last year during a visit to Thailand we encountered the most delicous candy we've ever tasted. The candy was all natural, made of just tamarind paste and sugar, shaped like a Tootsie Roll and wrapped in little plastic wrappers twisted at each end. It was soft, fruity, slightly sour, chewy, and the overall flavor of this candy was just perfect. While we've offered tamarind candy of our own, what we tasted was different because it was so fresh.

We've been working on our own tamarind candy recipe for a few days now and we've got the flavor down but something is not quite right. It's either too sticky & wet, or it becomes overcooked with hard bits developing in the fruit. If anyone reading this can help improve the recipe we'd really appreciate it. Perhaps a candy maker reading our recipe might like to offer some help. Feel free to use the form below to send improvements and suggestions.

Here is what we've come up with so far:

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups (or one 17.5 oz package) of tamarind paste.
1 16 oz package palm sugar
3 cups warm water

Method

Put the tamarind paste in a large container and soak with the warm (hot to the touch) water. After about 1 hour, mix well to dissolve the tamarind as much as possible, then pour this into a strainer and work the mixture through the strainer as much as possible. You will be left with a nice, strained, thick sour liquid. Put this into a pot over medium heat and add the palm sugar. Stirring on a regular basis until the palm sugar is dissolved, keep it at medium heat until about 1/3 of the liquid is evaporated.

Try putting a small amount on a dish in the fridge. If it sets up after a few minutes, it's time for the next step.

Pour the thick mixture onto a cookie sheet, spread it out a bit, and place in the fridge for a few hours. Remove from fridge and, with a spoon, scoop up a small amount and drop it into a bowl full of plain white sugar. Roll it around and form a small candy, then let it sit on another plate that has sugar about 1/2" deep on it.

After about an hour, the candy is ready to eat. We'd like to find a way to make the candy more firm, but in our experience if it's overcooked the flavor becomes less desirable. Any feedback is most appreciated.

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Comments

Fred Hanson
December 31st, 1969
7:00 PM
For the tamarind candy I have made I generally follow David Thompson's recipe in his book Thai Food.  His recipe has a more or less similar approach to yours whether it is whole tamarind or paste.  One initial difference is I use the brass wok I bought from Importfood!  To make these candies is why I bought the wok. That could be part of the problem.  It is difficult to stir into the corners of a square sided pan. The wok's smooth surfaces and even heating allow you to stir all around so nothing sticks or burns.  Try using the ten inch wok and a silicone scraper and cooking until you get a thick but not burned consistency. It is a little tricky to get the consistency right.  I try to make it not hard but smooth enough, so I can roll it on a granite board without it sticking.  To finish I usually roll it in sugar smoked with a Thai incense candle.  I have used this technique to also make candies of pureed apricot as well.   Good luck, it takes just a little trial and error.
Shelly
September 9th, 2008
7:06 PM
I was always been told tamarind candy won't form into a ball unless it's formed around a tamarind seed...
Anonymous
March 17th, 2009
11:20 PM
try adding rice flour , chilli and salt to it in the batter once done roll it in sugar
Sandra
December 15th, 2009
12:16 AM
Maybe a bit of cornstarch would hep it to gel without affecting the flavor?
Rita
February 20th, 2010
8:37 PM
In the Philippines, my aunt cook the tamarind with seeds on it with brown sugar & a little salt. Stirring until it's too thick. Then she let it cool off a little bit & she try to touch it if she can. If she can handle it, she start to get a small ball into her hands & kind of shaping it then roll in white sugar. She don't put chili peppers like the Thais. She wrapped each of the tamarind balls in a cellophane (different colors). We call this "Tsampoy"
Tony Tan
October 11th, 2011
6:28 AM
We have been making tamarind candies for almost 10 years now, We sell these candies to schools and canteen. Up to now we cannot find a solution to our problem. The shelf life of our products is at most 2 weeks(the candies especially when it is exposed absorb moisture and become sticky and messy to eat). Anyway the taste is still there and it sells and we are doing well, except that we can not mass produce or else it will spoil. I was able to extend the shelf life by making the candies a little bit harder. I did this by using as little water and allowing as much water to evaporate during the cooking. With regards to your problem, you still need to evaporate more water. These can be done by continuing to cook over a very very low fire. These will allow the water to evaporate without having to burn your candy.
Anonymous
October 9th, 2014
11:30 PM
try cooking it longer.

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