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Why you should put tamarind on the menu in 2024

The+24th+edition+of+McCormick%E2%80%99s+Flavor+Forecast+notes+that+tamarind+is+a+flavor+to+try+in+2024.+%28McCormick+photo+via+StatePoint%29
The 24th edition of McCormick’s Flavor Forecast notes that tamarind is a flavor to try in 2024. (McCormick photo via StatePoint)

Tamarind, a spice native to Africa, India and the Middle East, has lent its acidic, tangy-sweet flavor to Latin, Caribbean and Mexican cuisines for centuries. Today, this plump, pod-like fruit is jet-setting across the world, feeding a global curiosity for what’s next in food, drink and flavor.

That’s according to the 24th edition of McCormick’s Flavor Forecast, an annual report illuminating the latest culinary trends shaping the way people prepare and enjoy food worldwide. Every year, over four dozen global chefs, culinary professionals, trend trackers, food technologists and team members tap into their expertise and passion to uncover stand-out predictions and trends, and with this year’s report, they’ve identified tamarind as the flavor to watch out for.

“We’re thrilled to encourage people to experience the versatility and tang of tamarind. It’s truly the perfect ingredient that can be incorporated into both savory and sweet dishes,” said Hadar Cohen Aviram, executive chef, U.S. Consumer at McCormick.

Whether you’re a home chef or foodie, McCormick is dishing up inspiration for incorporating tamarind into your life, both at home and when dining out with its new Tamarind & Pasilla Chile Seasoning, and by collaborating with Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer on limited-edition, tamarind-infused menu items. McCormick is also sharing a recipe for Tamarind Lemon Pepper Lemonade. All grown up and ready to party, this punchy twist on classic lemonade is refreshingly different. Garnish with ground black pepper on the rim for a subtle finishing bite.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

Lemon Pepper Syrup:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/4 cup McCormick Coarse Ground Black Pepper, ground with mortar and pestle
1 teaspoon McCormick Pure Lemon Extract

Lemon Pepper Sugar:
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon McCormick Coarse Ground Black Pepper
1 lemon, zest only

Tamarind Lemonade:
6 cups water
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
6 teaspoons tamarind paste

Instructions:

1. For the Lemon Pepper Syrup, mix sugar, water and black pepper in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil on high heat, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat; let steep for 15 minutes. Strain through a very fine mesh sieve. Stir in lemon extract; cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

2. For the Lemon Pepper Sugar, mix sugar, black pepper and lemon zest until no lumps remain. Store in an airtight container until ready to serve.

3. Place 1 tablespoon of the Syrup in shallow bowl. Dip rims of 6 (10-ounce) glasses into Syrup, then dip in Lemon Pepper Sugar to coat. Fill glasses halfway with ice; set aside.

4. To prepare Lemonade, whisk water, remaining Syrup, lemon juice and tamarind concentrate in a large pitcher until well blended. Pour into prepared glasses. Refrigerate until chilled or serve immediately. Garnish with fresh lemon wedges, if desired.

Need additional 2024 culinary inspiration? The report also identified these trends:

Sour Power: From tamarind to coconut vinegar, acidic agents are revolutionizing menus to open senses, boost crave-ability and even “cook” without heat.

Thoughtfully Borrowed: A reinvention of regional-traditional cuisine is paying homage and respect to chefs’ roots with inspiring ingredients and techniques.

Indulgence Redefined: Today, indulgence is all about emotions and memories. Two ways this trend comes to life are through “newstalgia,” with brands and restaurants reintroducing childhood favorites with gourmet twists, and “food maximalism,” layering flavors to create a feast for the senses and ultra-customize preferences.

“There is no shortage of trends to uncover, which allows us to continue to shake up the way people cook and eat,” Cohen Aviram said.


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