Tamarind balls make my mouth water. Fortunately, this childhood delicacy has more than survived and can be enjoyed plain, spicy (with added hot pepper) or flavoured with nutmeg.
Tamarind is native to tropical Africa and was well known to the ancient Egyptians. Sometime during the 16th century, it was introduced into the Americas, and is cultivated in the Caribbean. In the good ole days, almost every neighbourhood had at least one huge tamarind tree. We had two.
Tamarind balls are made from a dry pulp of shelled tamarind pod, sugar, salt and black pepper, formed into balls and rolled in castor sugar – a pleasing sweet/sour taste. Take small bites, each ball has a single seed inside to hold it together.
Nutmeg balls eliminate tamarind and use pulp of the nutmeg fruit pericarp and sugar to make piquant balls. There are no seeds to look out for.
Nutmeg-Tamarind balls combine the best of both fruit.
Either way, they are all delicious!
Spice Island Bites provides curated subscription boxes containing authentic hand-made snacks and hard-to-find ingredients from Grenada and the wider Caribbean.