Vietnamese Tamarind Drink Recipe (Đá Me)

On the hottest summer days, there is a favorite drink among Vietnamese people: Đá Me (Vietnamese Tamarind Drink). It’s simply because tamarind is a native fruit in this tropical country, with a pleasant tangy flavor and an aroma that stimulates our taste buds. The combination of tamarind, peanuts, and some other toppings is truly tasty. Nowadays, thanks to tamarind paste, we can make this drink anywhere in the world. Let’s try it.

Vietnamese Tamarind Drink

Tamarind Paste

Tamarind is a tropical fruit known for its distinct sour taste, grown in Africa, South Asia, and Mexico. Thanks to its unique flavor, tamarind is a common ingredient in various cuisines, used in sauces, marinades, drinks, and desserts. Each tamarind pod includes a hard, brown skin, covering sticky, dense, and fibrous dark brown pulp, and hard seeds inside. From the pulp, we can turn it into tamarind paste for better storage over a longer period.

Tamarinds, known as cay me in Vietnamese, were first introduced to Saigon in 1865 by the French navy, who planted them to provide shade. These trees came to be known as admiral’s tamarinds. Since then, tamarind and tamarind paste have become key ingredients in various Vietnamese cuisines, offering a unique sour and slightly sweet flavor. For example, in Vietnamese, there are a variety of dishes that use tamarind, such as tamarind pork ribs, hotpot, soups, tamarind sauce with rice papers, tamarind chicken, tamarind candy, etc. Tamarinds also widely used in many other Asian cuisines.

Tamarinds are also widely used in many other Asian cuisines. For example, tamarind is a key ingredient in dishes like Pad Thai. In Indian cuisine, tamarind is commonly used in chutneys and sauces. In Filipino cuisine, tamarind is one of the main ingredients used to create the sour taste in Sinigang soup.

Types of tamarind paste

There are two types of tamarind paste: seedless and with seeds. Seedless tamarind paste is made by removing fibers and seeds, while the paste with seeds consists of the pulp of tamarinds after peeling the hard skins. To make Tamarind Drink, we can use both types of tamarind. In my opinion, I prefer using tamarind paste with seeds because it’s more authentic with the seeds and fibers, resulting in a drink that is 100% similar to the version I enjoyed in Vietnam. You can find both versions in many Asian grocery stores.

what is tamarind paste

Recipe of Vietnamese Tamarind Drink

In Vietnamese, “Đá” means ice, and “Me” means tamarind. As it is typically served with ice, “Đá Me” becomes the official Vietnamese name for Vietnamese Tamarind Drink. To make 1L of this drink, prepare:

  • Tamarind: 80g (4 tbsp)
  • Sugar: 100g (1/2 cup)
  • Water: 900ml (30.4oz)
  • Roasted peanuts: ½ cup
  • Ice: 2 cups

How to make Vietnamese Tamarind Drink

Step 1. Mixing Tamarind with Sugar

  • In a large mug/glass, add tamarind and sugar. Press them together until well combined. This step is to soften the tamarind so that it can dissolve easily in water. The amount of sugar can be adjusted according to your taste preference.
Vietnamese Tamarind Drink

Step 2. Adding water to the mixture

  • Add water to the mixture. Typically, the ratio between the sugar-tamarind mixture and water is 1:5 or less. For example, with 180g of sugar and tamarind, add 900ml of water. Stir until the tamarind and sugar completely dissolve in the water. Taste the drink and adjust the sweetness and tanginess by adding more sugar or tamarind.
Vietnamese Tamarind Drink

Step 3. Adding ice and topping

  • Finally, add ice to the drink. Remember to place the ice on top, then add toppings like roasted peanuts. You can also use other nuts such as hazelnuts, pine nuts, or almonds—all of which work well with this simple drink.
Vietnamese Tamarind Drink

Serving and Storing

Because it’s Đá Me (Ice Tamarind Drink), it’s usually served with ice because Vietnam is a tropical country, hot all year round, especially in the South. However, if you are trying this drink in a colder region, you can skip the ice and chill the drink in the fridge instead. Remember to check the taste to adjust due to the absence of ice.

If you would like to make a large batch of Vietnamese Tamarind Drink and save it for later use, it’s possible. Store the mixture of tamarind, water, and sugar in sealed bottles and always keep them in the fridge for a maximum of 5 days. When serving, add ice and toppings like roasted peanuts, almonds, etc.

Vietnamese Tamarind Drink

Vietnamese Tamarind Drink (Đá Me) Recipe

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

In the hottest summer days, there is a favorite drink of Vietnamese people: Đá Me (Vietnamese Tamarind Drink)

Ingredients

Instructions

Step 1. Mixing Tamarind with Sugar

  • In a large mug/glass, add tamarind and sugar in. Press them until well combined. This step is to soften tamarind so that it can dissolve easily in water. The amount of sugar can be adjusted following your taste preference.Vietnamese Tamarind Drink

Step 2. Adding water to the mixture

  • Add an amount of water to the mix. Usually, the ratio between the sugar-tamarind mixture and water is 1:5 or less. For instance, with 180g sugar and tamarind, add 900ml water in. Stir until tamarind and sugar totally dissolves in water. Taste the drink and adjust the sweetness as well as tanginess by adding more sugar or tamarind.Vietnamese Tamarind Drink

Step 3. Adding ice and topping

  • Finally, add ice to the drink. Remember to put ice on top, then toppings like roasted peanuts. You can also use other nuts like hazelnuts, pine nuts or almonds, all works well with this simple drink.Vietnamese Tamarind Drink

Notes

Because it’s Đá Me (Ice Tamarind Drink), it’s usually served with Ice because Vietnam is a tropical country, which is hot all year round, especially in the South. However, if you are trying this drink in a colder region, you can skip the ice, and chill the drink in the fridge instead. Remember to check the taste to adjust because of the lack of ice.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 250ml
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 120

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2 Comments

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