Tamarind in our A-Z - Cooking Index
Tamarind is a fruit whose pulp which is widely used as a spice in Asian and Latin American cooking. The fruit’s pulp is edible as fresh fruit but is often used unripe used in savory dishes.
The pulp is often sold in concentrated form as a sticky, dark paste. Unless sweetened (as it often is) it tastes sour.
In Latin America it is particularly popular in candied form and is also made into a popular soft drink, Agua de Tamarindo. In Asia it is more often used in cooking, often in sweet and sour drinks. In India it is widely used in southern Indian cooking and is also very popular in chutneys.
The tamarind tree is native to North Africa and it is thought that it originates from the Sudan, however, it can now be found all over the world and is very popular in South America and Asia.
The seed of the fruit is often used as a spice and is instrumental in the cuisines of Latin America and South East Asia as well as being a key ingredient in the English HP Sauce, Worcestershire sauce and the Jamaixan Pickapeppa sauce.
Tamarind has many uses, it has been used as a flavouring in drinks and is the main ingredient in a popular Egyptian summer drink called tamr hindi. For a long time the flesh of the fruit has been used as a brass cleaner.
Tamarind is also used in many societies for medical purposes, either as a digestive or to help calm malarial fever.