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.
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