A quick lesson in Vietnamese. Me: a tree fruit also know as Tamarind. Me can either be sweet, or sour. The sweet kind makes a great snack as is. The sour kind is used in cooking to make anything from canh chua to soda Me (Tamarind soda). You can find sour tamarind at most Asian grocery stores in the spice section. It comes compressed in block, dark brown in color.
All Purpose Tamarind Paste/Syrup:
-200g sour tamarind
-1 tsp salt
-chili peppers (optional)
What to Do:
Boil together tamarind and water, let mixture sit for at least 1 hour (better if overnight). Strain tamarind in a sieve (press with a rubber spatula or a spoon to extract the pulp, throw away the outer seed coverings). Mix together tamarind pulp, sugar and salt, bring mixture to a boil and simmer for 15 mins, stirring occasionally.
Me Ngào Đường (Sugared Tamarind): A sugary sour and spicy snack. Favored by young students in Vietnam. Heck! I live in America and I like it too. *Mouth watering* Serve as is with toasted sesame seeds sprinkled on top and a tooth pick to eat with.
Soda Me (Tamarind Soda): 2 tsp tamarind paste + 1 cup club soda mixed together, top with crushed peanuts.
Canh Chua: Omit tamarind soup base and replace it with tamarind paste. As with savory dishes, you can eyeball the amount and give the dish a taste taste and adjust before serving.
Nước Mắm Me: Omit lime juice and sugar, replace with tamarind paste.
Stepping off the Traditional Road.....
Tamarind Cosmo: Use your favorite Cosmo recipe and replace cranberry juice and lime with 1 tsp tamarind paste.