Wow. Sounds weird right? I mean after all tamarind is often used in savory dishes like curries or even condiments like HP and Worcestershire sauce. However tamarind is a fruit, and as such makes quite the lovely ice cream if I say so myself. This easy recipe for tamarind ice cream will make a unique and delightful dessert for your next South or South-East Asian themed dinner parties.
This recipe is actually different in method to most of my fruit ice creams like cherry or strawberry because of one major change. Since I use tamarind paste instead of fresh fruits, I save about an hour of time due to reductions.
In a way, making tamarind ice cream is a lot more like making black sesame ice cream. Both just use a standard French style custard as a base, and get mixed with the paste of choice.
What Is Tamarind Paste
Tamarind paste is simply a reduced a pureed form of tamarind pulp. It is much easier, and in fact more popular, to buy the paste version than making your own – unless you live in a tamarind growing country. And even in those countries, buying the paste is still much more commonplace.
The taste of the tamarind fruit is a mix of sweet and sour. How sour? Well let’s just say some varieties are considered too sour to eat raw. In a way it reminds me a lot of garcinia, a fruit that is used to cure fish in recipes like Sri Lankan ambul thiyan.
What You’ll Need
As with all of my ice cream recipes on Scoops of Delight, you need an ice cream machine. The exact style and brand does not matter too much but you do want one that is decent quality. I personally use the Smeg ice cream maker. The only issue with it is that you need to already have a Smeg stand mixer – which can be quite pricey. While there are plenty of recipes for no-churn ice creams, I often find a properly churned ice cream magnitudes better.
Some other things you will need for this homemade ice cream recipe are:
- Mixing Bowls
- Steel Pans (I personally find steel the best for making ice cream, but you can use any as long as you are careful about the temperature.
- Rubber Spatula
- Sealable Container (The best thing to use to store homemade ice cream is plastic in my opinion. You want something that is more flat than tall as it provides more surface area to quickly freeze in a home freezer).
- Kitchen Scale (optional, but recommended as almost all of my recipes use metric as it is more precise than imperial for most home cooks).
How To Make Tamarind Ice Cream
This recipe is fairly simple, with just a few ice cream making techniques that most people should know. The key ingredient of course is the tamarind paste. Make sure to get a paste like this and avoid buying something that says ‘concentrate’ as the latter has different culinary applications.
400 ml Heavy Cream
200 ml Milk (full-fat)
120 grams Sugar
50 grams Honey (I used Acacia honey, but you can use any real honey you prefer, but avoid the fake honeys as they can have preservatives that mess with the final texture of the tamarind ice cream).
1 inch Ginger (finely grated or microplaned)
35 grams Corn Starch (you can use 4 egg yolks instead, which is what I normally use for ice cream…however I did not want to use egg yolk in this recipe as I felt it might influence the flavor too strongly. Corn starch is a key ingredient in Sicilian gelato so I figured it would make a good substitute in this recipe.
1/2 tsp Salt
The first thing to do when making tamarind ice cream is to prepare the ginger. You need to let it infuse into the milk. The best way is to use a microplane and get it as finely grated as possible.
Add the milk and ginger to a pan and gently heat up. Once the milk is steamy turn off the heat and let infuse for 15 minutes.
After the milk is infused you can strain out the ginger or leave it in. I opt to leave in the ginger as it does not impact the final ice cream negatively. Add in the sugar, honey, corn starch, and salt and turn back on medium heat. Whisk the pan as it is heating up to prevent burning or splitting the milk. When the mix is thickened (about 5 minutes) add in the tamarind paste and whisk to combine. Take off the heat.
Whisk in the heavy cream and place the tamarind ice cream base in the fridge to chill completely.
To churn the ice cream just add the chilled tamarind ice cream base to your ice cream machine and run according to your machine’s instructions. I find that tamarind ice cream greatly benefits from extra air (compared to regular ice creams) so I actually crank the speed up higher than I normally use to really pump in that air.
Move your homemade tamarind ice cream to a sealable container and place in the freezer. Like with most homemade ice creams you don’t want to have a freeze-thaw cycle so I like to place them in the coldest part of the freezer and not even think about touching it until I know it is completely frozen.
I have never felt the need to garnish this homemade tamarind ice cream but you can do so if you like. I think some fresh berries would pair nicely. Or a drizzle of olive oil if you are feeling adventurous (if you have never had olive oil ice cream you are missing out. My olive oil ice cream recipe uses bergamot infused cold pressed EVOO for a playfully addicting dessert).
Tamarind Ice Cream
- 1 Ice Cream Machine
- 1 Large Mixing Bowl
- 1 Sealable Container
- 1 Wire Whisk
- 400 ml Heavy Cream
- 200 ml Milk full-fat
- 120 grams Sugar
- 100 grams Tamarind Paste make sure it's proper tamarind paste and not concentrate.
- 50 grams Honey I used Acacia honey, but you can use any real honey you prefer, but avoid the fake honeys as they can have preservatives that mess with the final texture of the tamarind ice cream.
- 1 inch Ginger finely grated or microplaned
- 35 grams Corn Starch (you can use 4 egg yolks instead which is what I normally use for ice cream…however I did not want to use egg yolk in this recipe as I felt it might influence the flavor too strongly. Corn starch is a key ingredient in Sicilian gelato so I figured it would make a good substitute in this recipe.
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- Finely grate or microplane the ginger and add it to the milk. Place the milk in a pan and gently heat it up until the milk begins to steam. Then turn off the heat and let the ginger infuse for 15 minutes.
- Mix in the Tamarind paste, sugar, honey, corn starch, and salt, and turn the heat back on to medium. Whisk constantly until the mixture has thickened and then remove from the heat. Pour into a mixing bowl.
- Add the heavy cream to the mixing bowl and whisk everything to combine. Then move mix to a sealable container and place it in the fridge to chill completely.
- Once the tamarind ice cream base is fully chilled place it in your ice cream machine and let it run according to the machine's instructions.
- Once the ice cream is churned to a soft serve consistency you can move it back to a sealable container and place it in the freezer until chilled completely.
- When frozen you can scoop a few balls to serve and add whatever garnishes you like!
Tamarind Ice Cream
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