-The sweet and
Tamarind also known as Indian date, the
tamarind is the sweet and sour fruit of a tall shade tree native
to Asia and northern Africa and widely grown in India. The tamarind
trees flourishes in the tropical regions.
The large (about 5-inch-long) pods contain
small seeds and a sour-sweet pulp that, when dried, becomes extremely
sour. Tamarind brings an acidic zing to food. It is a much-valued
food ingredient in many Asian and Latin American recipes.
Extraction Process and uses
The dried tamarind is obtained after removing the rind from the
mature, ripe and dried fruit of Tamarindus indica.
It is then compressed into cakes. This
spice also comes in the forms of pulp and juice concentrates which
mainly go into the preparation of cool drinks, seafoods and a range
of sophisticated cuisine. The pulp of a young fruit is very sour,
and hence suitable for main dishes, whereas a ripened fruit is sweeter
and can be used in desserts, drinks, or as a snack.
Its taste goes well with meat and vegetable dishes, it merges well
with the heat of chilies and gives South Indian dishes their hot
and sour character and their dark colour. The Juice of dry Tamarind
are adequate to add a touch of sourness in the curry. It is extensively
used in south indian cuisine and is normally used as a replacement
for tomatoes. It is used to prepare Sambhar (spicy lentil soup with
lots of vegetables), Pulihora rice, and various types of chutneys.Tamarind
is also very effective as a natural preservative and marinade.
Tamarind is a multi-purpose herb.Almost all parts of it can be used;
beans, seeds, pulp, leaves, flowers, juice and bark.There are two
types of Tamarind beans; one is smaller in size, has a red colored
pulp when ripe and has smaller seeds, while the other is longer,
has a brownish pulp when ripe and has bigger seeds. The former is
the type of tamarind that is used in medicine.
It is used as a digestive, laxative, tonic, and astringent. It is
favored for wound treatment, sore throat, urinary problems, gonorrhea,
ulcers, liver disease and so on.Tamarind is acidic and excites the
bile and other juices in the body. Tamarind is also a blood purifier.
Folk medicine uses Tamarind leaves for sprains and swelling.
Tamarind wood can be used for various purposes.Due to its denseness
and durability, tamarind heartwood can be used in making furniture
and wood flooring. The wood is a beautiful red timber.Tamarind is
also recommended as a polish for brass and copper.
Indian Name: Imli, Amla, Huli, Hunise mara, Puli, Imbli, Tintiri,
About the tree
Tamarindus indica is the only species of the genus Tamarindus in
the family Fabaceae. The tree grows up to 20 meters in height, and
stays evergreen in regions without a dry season.
Tamarind timber consists of hard, dark
red heartwood and softer, yellowish sapwood.
The leaves consist of 10 to 40 leaflets.
The flowers are produced in racemes.
The tree produces brown pod-like fruits,
which contain pulp and many hard-coated seeds.
The seeds can be scarified to enhance
Seedless tamarind comes under two varieties
- Light red to tinged brown color tamarind and Black color or mixed
color variety of special grade.
Tamarind trees are very common in South India particularly in Andhra
Pradesh.They are used to provide shade on the country roads.
The harvesting season of tamarind is mainly during March and April.