Đá Me Đậu Phộng – Vietnamese Iced Tamarind with Roasted Peanuts
Unlike Thai cuisine, I got to know Vietnamese food fairly late. I didn’t have my first pho or bahn mi until only a couple of years back. It may seem strange but Vietnamese cuisine to me is strangely familiar and yet very alien at the same time. I love the liberal use of greens and herbs in their soups and dishes, as well as the subtle spiciness in their food. A good bowl of pho bo makes a really satisfying lunch and me a very happy man. But that is only because I always make sure there is a glass of da me dau phong on standby at the side, and sometimes two! Dau me dau phong is Vietnamese for “Iced Tamarind and Roasted Peanuts”. It is so addictive and an absolute must order for me in a Vietnamese food joint. And it is so incredibly easy to make at home!
Da me dau phong is a very popular drink in Vietnam it seems. I can only imagine because I’d never been to Vietnam myself. But I’d heard loads from other folks, especially a dear friend of mine, Syebvonne Nguyen whom I’d gotten to know only over the last 2 years or so but it feels almost like I’d known her for a long time! She has such a spontaneous and likable personality which makes her so easy to befriend. Despite being a mother of five, she is still very fond of doing crazy things, going crazy places at crazy times, and even makes one do it with her! But she is super fun to hang out with, always full of cheer and energy. Alas her family would be leaving us for UK very soon. Oh how we wouid all miss her dearly… her silly jokes, her infectious laughter and of course, her enduring friendship. But I wish her and her family the very best, and with the advances in technology, the world’s gotten a lot smaller than we thought, so I’m very sure and we would all meet up again in no time!
I’d ordered a glass of Da Me Dau Phong earlier this year with a friend Lynette when we dined at a Vietnamese restaurant in Joo Chiat called Luong Phuong. It is a casual dining family restaurant which probably serves one of the best Vietnamese food in Singapore. Then we reprised it again over a luncheon at the same place with Syebvonne, Lena, Anna and Soo Keong. As a group, we were able to sample so many dishes together, amidst all that chitter chatter. Good food with great company, one really couldn’t ask for much more in life. And now with a good tub of homemade sugared tamarind paste in my fridge, I could enjoy a glass of Da Me Dau Phong now anytime! All that’s left is for me learn how to make a wickedly good pho!!
Đá Me Đậu Phộng – Vietnamese Iced Tamarind with Roasted Peanuts Recipe
with estimated instructions from a dear friend, Syebvonne Nguyen
150 g tamarind pulp
200-250g sugar or Thai palm sugar***
cold water as required
crushed ice as required
handful of roasted peanuts
In a saucepot, add water and tamarind pulp
Using fork or clean fingers, break up the tamarind pulp and rub it into the water to form a slurry.
Place the saucepot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
Stir in the sugar until it completely dissolves.
Return to a boil and bring heat down to low. Simmer for 10 min or so to thicken the paste.
Take the pot off the heat and leave it to cool down to room temperature.
Pour sugared tamarind paste into a clean jar and storage in refrigerator.
To enjoy, Add 2 tbsp of sugared tamarind paste over a glass of crushed ice.
Add a small handful of roasted peanuts and top up with a small amount of cold water.
Stir well to homogenise the mixture and enjoy!
*** traditionally, regulated granulated sugar is used but I’d made it with Thai palm sugar and I think I like it better with it! Feel free to stick to granulated sugar though. Also, I would imagine it to taste fabulous with chilled soda in place of cold water for all that fizz! Perfect for the scorching hot weather we have now in the mid of June!