A tart fruit from the tamarind tree, used as a spice and souring agent. The fruit is shaped like a long bean, inside which is a sour pulp containing many seeds. The pulp can be pressed to form a ‘cake’ or processed to make a paste. Tamarind tastes a bit like a date but is less sweet (and more sour), and is sometimes known as the Indian date. It is a key ingredient in Worcestershire sauce.
Available in pods, blocks, or as a concentrate. Tamarind juice is also available and some Asian supermarkets may sell tamarind pods which can be eaten raw.
Small pieces of tamarind cake can be broken off and infused to create an acidic liquid flavouring used in Asian and Caribbean cooking. Use tamarind to flavour meat and vegetable curries, chutneys and dhals.
The health benefits of tamarind have been well-studied and include the ability to reduce inflammation throughout the body, improve eye health, boost respiratory health, heal skin conditions, improve the digestive system, relieve pain, increase the strength of the immune system, reduce fever, lower cholesterol to improve cardiovascular health, treat piles, prevent cancer, and even protect children against parasites and worms.
Tamarind is a delicious, sweet fruit that has a wide variety of uses and applications, both for medicinal and culinary purposes. It is a medium-sized bushy tree with evergreen leaves and fruit that develops in pods characterized by long, brown shells. Inside is a sticky, fleshy, juicy pulp, which is the tamarind fruit. This is where the nutrition and taste reside! It is both sweet and sour in taste, and people tend to either immediately like it or have a natural disposition against it!
A seed pod from the tamarind tree that is used extensively in South-East Asian and Indian cooking to flavour curries, chutneys and bean dishes. Tamarind has a unique sweet and sour flavour and comes in seeded and paste form and most commonly in a block form.
To prepare compresses block tamarind, tear off the equivalent of 15ml and soak it in 150ml warm water for 10 minutes. Mix it together and strain through a fine sieve. Throw away the pulp and use the liquid.
To use tamarind slices, soak them in 150ml warm water for about 30 minutes. Squeeze and strain the juice.
To use tamarind concentrate, mix 15ml of tamarind with 4-6 tbsp warm water.
Also known as Indian date, the tamarind is the fruit pod of a tall shade tree native to Asia and northern Africa and widely grown in India. The large (5- to 8-inch-long) pods grow in clusters and contain up to 10 seeds and a dark brown sour-sweet pulp with a flavor reminiscent of lemons, apricots and dates. Tamarind pulp concentrate is popular as a flavoring in East Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines much like lemon juice is in Western culture. It’s used to season full-flavored foods such as chutneys, curry dishes and pickled fish. Additionally, tamarind is used to make a sweet syrup flavoring soft drinks. It’s also an integral ingredient in Worcestershire sauce. Fresh tamarind pods are available in the spring and summer in Asian, Caribbean and Indian markets, specialty produce markets, natural food stores and some supermarkets. Choose pods that are plump and relatively unbroken. Store in a plastic bag at a cool room temperature for up to 2 months. To use pods, crack open and peel off the brittle shell. Pull off the fibrous strings and cut the pulp away from the seeds. Put the pulp in a bowl or pan and cover with boiling water; let stand for several hours or overnight. Use a slotted spoon to scoop the pulp out of the water; press the pulp through a sieve. Cover and refrigerate strained pulp for up to a month, or freeze for up to a year. Tamarind can be found in ethnic markets in various forms including jars of concentrated pulp with seeds, canned paste, whole pods dried into “bricks,” syrup or powder.