Tamarind

Tamarind Tamarind is the pod like fruit of a shade tree tamarindus indica. Tamarind fruit is shaped like large bean pod. As it matures the color of the outer skin changes from green to sandy brown and it becomes hard. Inside the pod is the sticky dark brown pulp covering black seeds in pods. There are a few thick strands that run along the length that hold the pulp in place. The fresh tamarind pulp is brownish black in color and has a sour taste with a hint of sweetness. The dried pulp is available in whole pods, a compressed block, paste or concentrates. The dry pulp needs to be soaked before usage. Tamarind is an important ingredient in many Indian curries and chutneys, and makes delicious sauces. It is a much-valued food ingredient in many Asian, and Latin American cuisines.

India is a major producer of tamarind on a commercial scale. A large part of India's production of tamarind is exported to West Asia, Europe and America, where it is used in the preparation of commercially prepared sauces. The taste of the famous Worcestershire sauce (also spelled Worcester), an Indo-British contribution to international cuisine, is composed of several spices, garlic and tamarind.

Tamarind originated in tropical Eastern Africa and today it is cultivated all over the tropics. Tamarind wood is very hard and durable, valuable for building purposes and furnishes excellent charcoal. Ancient Arabic traders found tamarind in India and gave it the name tamar-hind that meant dry date of India.

AMMINI RAMACHANDRAN