Tamarind balls are delightful, sugary treats in the Caribbean.
They are made with tamarind pulp and seeds and lots and lots of sugar. You can also add your own flavorings to it too.
They are perfect sweet snacks for the kids that they can make on their own.
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What is in this tamarind balls recipe
For this recipe, I used:
- tamarind seeds
- Caribbean green seasoning with chadon beni, garlic, chives and pepper
- very warm water
You can leave out the pepper if you like.
If you like recipes like this, then head over to the snack list page. You’ll all the sweet, savory and fried Trini treats.
How to make tamarind balls
You can start with tamarind pods in the shells or already shelled tamarind pulp. Here I used tamarind pods but you can skip this step and get tamarind pulp on Amazon.
Remove the tamarind seeds
Step 1: Crack open the brittle pods and remove the pulp. The pulp is usually segmented where the seeds are so pull the segments apart to separate the individual seeds. There’s also a string that runs along both sides of the pulp. Remove that too. You can compost the shells or discard them.
Season the pulp
Step 2: Add the salt and green seasoning to the pulp. You’ll want to add these at the beginning because, as you soften the pulp, you’ll start infusing the flavors into the tamarind flesh. If you use pepper in your seasoning, you’ll want to use gloves for the next part.
Soften the pulp
Step 3: Add the warm water to the tamarind seeds and mix. The pulp will absorb the moisture and begin to soften. Get in there with your clean hands (or gloves if you want) and squeeze the seeds for about 5 minutes or so. The pulp will become softer and softer. There’s no need to add more water – just keep working on the flesh.
Step 4: When there is little to no pulp on the tamarind seeds, add half of the sugar and work into the softened tamarind. The sugar will begin to dissolve in the tamarind pulp. As the sugar becomes completely brown, add half of the remaining sugar.
Step 5: Work the sugar in and begin squeezing to form one and a half to two inch balls. Be sure to get a few seeds in each ball. Roll them between the palms of your hands to get that nice rounded shape (sorry this photo is a little blurry).
Step 6: When you’re happy with the shape, roll the balls in the remaining sugar to give it a white, sugar coating.
Step 7: Place on a plate or tray to dry out. As the tamarind balls dry, they will begin to harden. You can place them in the fridge to dry out too.
Serve when they are completely hard and can hold their own rounded shape.
Can you batch make tamarind balls
This recipe makes 6 tamarind balls. Feel free to scale up the recipe and batch make for your friends and family.
It stays well in the fridge for a week or two and you can freeze them for later.
Flavorful tamarind balls recipe
Flavorful tamarind (tambran) balls recipe
- ½ cup tamarind pods
- 1 cup sugar
- 1½ tbsp very warm water
- 1 tsp green seasoning (with chadon beni, garlic, and chives)
- pinch of salt
- pepper (optional)
- Deshell the tamarind pulp and separate the seeds.
- Add salt and green seasoning to the seeds.
- Mix in the warm water.
- Work the water into the pulp. Rub and squeeze the pulp for at least five minutes to soften the pulp.
- Work in half of the sugar (1/2 cup).
- Once incorporated, repeat for half of the remaining sugar (1/4 cup).
- Squeeze to form 1½ to 2 inch balls.
- Roll between your palms to shape the balls.
- Roll the finished ball in the remaining sugar.
- Set aside to dry.
- Enjoy when hardened.