A fruit native to Asia and northern Africa. The large (5" long) pods contain small seeds and a sour-sweet pulp that are compressed into cakes or blocks. Tamarind pulp is best known as a souring agent in food flavoring and is popular in East Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines. A sweet version of tamarind (identified by a darker pulp) is used to make a sweet syrup to flavor soft drinks. It is also an ingredient in Worcestershire sauce. Taramind works very well as a tenderizer when used as a marinade for meats and will not stand out as a strong flavor when eating later.
Season: available year-round
How to select: Can be purchased in East Indian or Asian markets in various forms: syrup, concentrated pulp w/seeds; canned paste, whole pods dried into bricks or ground into powder.
How to prepare: Dried Tamarind: Reconstitute required amount in hot water, soaking about 15 minutes and pushing through wire sieve to remove stringy bits and seeds. Use pulp and soaking water in recipe.
Matches well with: chicken, curries, fish, lamb, lentils, peaches, pears, poultry, rice