Nước đá me, literally “tamarind ice cubes” in Vietnamese, is a fairly common drink in Vietnam. It’s served in various ways, such as with salted key lime rind preserves, but today I made it with fresh pineapple purée. It’s sweet and tart at the same time but most important, it’s so refreshing!
Tamarind is quite popular in Asian and South Asian cooking. I usually eat the fresh pods as they are, and use tamarind concentrate or tamarind powder for cooking.
1. Info for Sweet Tamarind Drink (Nuoc Da Me)
- Cook Time: 10 mins
- Total Time: 40 mins
- Servings: 8
- Calories: 186kcal
2. Ingredients for Sweet Tamarind Drink (Nuoc Da Me)
- 6 cups water
- 1-1/2 cups fresh pineapple, peeled, halved, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 9 star anise pods, whole
- 5 cinnamon sticks
- 1-1/4 cups superfine sugar
- 1 pinch sea salt (or regular salt)
- 2/3 cup tamarind paste
- For the pineapple: In a blender or a mini-blender if you have one, blend the pineapple chunks with vanilla extract. Add a little water if the blender doesn’t flow smoothly.
- For the cinnamon and star anise: Slightly crush 1 stick of cinnamon and 1 star anise, using a hammer / meat pounder. Set aside.
- For the simple syrup: In a saucepan, make simple syrup by dissolving the sugar in about 1 cup of water.
- Infusing the syrup: Add 1 whole star anise pod and the crushed stick of cinnamon. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 2 minutes. Lower the heat to low and let simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove from the stove and cool completely. Add the tamarind concentrate, pineapple purée and a pinch of salt.
- Filtering: Strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve. Discard the cinnamon and star anise remnants. Dissolve the syrup with the remaining water.
- A sweet touch : Half the rest of the cinnamon sticks. Wrap each piece with a string of raffia. Decorate each glass with the cinnamon raffia ribbon.