Tamarind balls are a favourite treat throughout the Caribbean. The Tamarind tree is indigenous to tropical Africa but is also to be found in the Middle East, India and South Asia. The fruit is used in many recipes, check out things like Worcester Sauce and you’ll find it on there. In some countries tamarind is used in cooking, in others it is mixed with spices. I know tamarind from a Jamaican perspective where it is eaten in it’s raw form as a fruit straight from the tree or more familiar to me as tamarind balls which are made by adding sugar to what can be the tangy sourness of the natural fruit if you’re not used to it.

Tamarind balls are a delicious treat and I love to eat them, however, too many all at once can be a reminder that medicinally tamarind is also used as a laxative. So whilst lovely to look at and lovely to eat, less is definitely be more. Once made you can keep them in a cool place or in the fridge. They can keep for many months.

Here’s my recipe, which includes a little something for the adults 😉 and an additional raw ingredient twist.

Hope you Enjoy!

Tangy Sweet 'N Sour Tamarind Balls. Luxury raw treats.

Tangy Sweet ‘N Sour Tamarind Balls coated with raw cane sugar or raw cacao.

Tamarind Balls with a Twist

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Tangy Sweet 'N Sour Tamarind Balls. Luxury raw treats.

Tangy Sweet ‘N Sour Tamarind Balls. Luxury raw treats.

  • 1/2 cup of tamarind paste (if creating from fresh fruit you’ll need to crack the shells and remove the string)
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cup of raw cane sugar
  • 1 tbsp of rum (optional. A little something for the grown-ups)
  • 1 tsp of rice flour (optional, but helps to bind especially if adding additional liquid of the rum)



Put the pulp into a bowl. Add the sugar and start working it into the pulp by kneading the pulp and sugar together (if you’re creating from the fresh fruit keep working the mixture together, you will see the fruit seeds will start to automatically come away as you’re working it. Don’t worry if you still have seeds in the final mixture you can easy discard these whilst eating as they are large enough). Add the liquid (water or rum) little by little until the mixture starts to hold. Once the mixture had come together, take some and work into a small ball in your hands.

Roll the ball again in some sugar and seal in an air-tight jar in a cool place.


I’ve also rolled some of mine in raw powdered cacao for a chocolatey taste.

Any other great ways you’re working with Tamarind in it’s raw form? Would live to hear. Tell me about it here or post pics to @LorraineGardens on Instagram. If you love raw desserts try the amazing Coconut Key Lime Pie. Enjoy!


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    • oneorganicjamaican

      Hi Zeina

      Thanks for visiting, yes in JA they like it straight from the tree or sweet. My parentage is Jamaican and so this is how I’m familiar with it. The Caribbean is such a melting pot of cultures that each island will do things differently so some like it spicy. Across the world so many different ways with this wonderful fruit also called Indian date. Do you cook with this fruit? Would love to hear about it. BTW, love the premise for your blog. Give me Za’atar over saccharine sweet peachy yogurts and pasteurised milk anyday too :-)


      • Poem and Dish

        Thank you…Would love to visit one day… Haha glad u love Za’atar, I bring my own all the way from Northern Lebanon, the smell is intoxicating, freshly picked wild za’atar, it’s a treasure :)) Like you I much prefer sour and savory to sweets

      • oneorganicjamaican

        Intoxicating, is exactly the right word. I photographed it recently for my IG account and spent ages just smelling it. Mwah.x.

      • Poem and Dish

        Oh yes, just saw the photo and comment ” smelling it you will fall in love” Shame on me I haven’t posted anything with this amazing herb yet :) xx

      • Poem and Dish

        Haha, wish I had more time to post the many recipes I’d love to share. This I promise will have to do sometime soon . Looking forward to learning more about Jamaican cuisine :)

      • oneorganicjamaican

        Great! The interesting thing about herbs like Za’atar is that they are used in the wonderful places of North Africa where the Med, Middle East and Africa meet. Maybe we could look at working on a post together taking a herb/fruit that we both use and take two takes on it for a raw/vegan, nutritious recipe. That could be fun if you have time? If interesting let me know how best to reach you to discuss. Enjoy your evening! :-)

      • Poem and Dish

        Sounds great, we can tackle it next month as June is super busy for me and I’m going away. I will be in touch in July, exciting and I love North African food :)))

    • oneorganicjamaican

      Hi, great to see you again! Oh, that’s a shame. However, not to worry, next time ;-). However, stop by in July, going to be looking at doing a post of taking a fruit and looking at two ways of using it. Tamarind may well be on the list, so hopefully lots more ideas for you to try :-)

  1. sianthebaker

    These are my favourite! I recently went to Antigua and their version is just not the same as ours! I’m going to make them myself from your recipe next time.Thanks.

  2. sianthebaker

    Hi Lorraine, you’re most welcome, thanks for taking the time to reply to my comment. In Antigua I tried a few different ones in different stores across the island and for me they were all too sweet, that tangy/sour balance was not there and its just not the same…

  3. mariceci283

    These look amazing, I so need to make them! I have some tamarind paste just sitting in my pantry & been dying for some simple desserts to use them in :) Looks gorgeous


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