It's been a long time since our last post. Well, over the last 4 months, we have done a lot of waiting. Sending syrup samples to the food lab for testing took a lot longer than we had anticipated! But finally, we have our official papers for three 100% organic syrups: Raspberry, Cardamom-Clove, and Apple. Yay!
I should also mention that since our last post in November, we have had our first day in our commercial kitchen and we made hundreds of bottles of Raspberry Syrup and Cardamom-Clove Syrup. Well, okay, not hundreds of bottles in the first day, but definitely tens! Our fourth day in the kitchen is tomorrow, and I'm especially excited because we are scaling up proportions to test FOUR new flavors: Lavender-Lemon-Rosemary, 3 Pepper (Tres Chiles! Picante!), Mint, and Tamarind.
I had never worked with tamarind before deciding to create this syrup, but it's always been my favorite flavor piragua (you know, those old guys who push around the carts with a huge ice block in the summer, with tons of different bottles of syrup). It's not much to look at. The syrup comes out of the bottle a muddy brown color, with little bits of solids floating in suspension. But tamarind is a tangy surprise, tart and sweet at the same time. Royal Rose Tamarind Syrup tastes delicious with a lot of different spirits, and it's so complex that all you really need is a little lemon juice. Muy refrescante!
If you want to cook with tamarind, be prepared to spend some time! You can buy the fresh, whole pods, a sort of paste that's in the form of a block, or you can buy the concentrate. I experimented with all of these products, but the best flavor came from the paste, which is literally compressed tamarind pods with the shells removed. Tamarind is so sticky and seedy that it takes some time to prepare, but I think it's worth it. Aside from making delicious shaved ices and refreshing summer coolers, tamarind is excellent in savory dishes such as curries and pad thai. Here is a recipe for pad thai sauce (slightly modified) that I nicked from West Coast Cooking by Greg Atkinson (sorry, Leslie, I still have it...):
1/4 cup Royal Rose Tamarind Syrup
1 tablespoon lime juice
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons dried red chili flakes
2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
Mix it all together, make a little omelette, and toss everything with cooked rice stick noodles. Garnish with lime wedges, chopped peanuts, cilantro, bean sprouts, and scallion. Delicious!