The Tamarind tree is huge and spreading, rising up on a thick trunk covered in gray bark. Growing up to 6 ft. high, its pale-green foliage sections of 10 –15 curry leaf-shaped leaflets provide a wonderful canopy of shade, punctuated by small cluster of red-striped, yellow flowers when in bloom.
Tamarind is a native to East Africa and Asia. The Indians make a refreshing drink from it called Amli Panni and in Middle East a version with sugar added is sold in attractive cordial bottles. A delicious confection is made in Asia from Sweetened balls of tamarind, rolled in sugar and sometime spiced with chili. Mexicans make a hard candy with the tamarind pulp filling. Philippino make a hard candy as well. Tamarind is one of the main ingredient in making Worcestershire sauce and Hp sauce.
Tamarind concentrate is a thick, black, molasses-type liquid, and is made by boiling the fruit and straining it to remove the fibers and the seeds.
Tamarind can be used instead of lemon juice in Asian soups, curries and chutneys, naming a few.
This was one of the fruits the locals sold on the road side so, on the way home from school, we would buy the green tamarind, sprinkle it with salt and red chili powder and eat it. It is tart.
Tamarind is also used as a dip for potato chips, fries, cassava fries and nachos.
Making the chutney is a little messy so I prefer to make it in a big batch and then freeze it.
- 1 pkt Tamarind(12 oz)
- 1/2 lb Dates or 1 cup sugar.
- 1/4 cup Salt
- 1/4 cup Chili Powder
- 8 cups Water
- In a Sauce boil Tamarind, dates and 4 cups of water. Stir it around and break the tamarind block. Let it cool. Strain the liquid off, squeezing the remaining pulp. Add more water and squeeze the pulp as dry as possible before discarding it.
- If you have a food processor use it to break the Tamarind block, (this is a faster way of making the pulp) after you have boiled it. (do not use the food processor if the Tamarind has seeds in it, It will break the blades of the food processor)
- Add the salt and chili powder and mix well.
This pulp will be quite thick and you should have about 8 to 10 cups. You can freeze this in ice cubes or small containers and use it as required. If you are using it as a chutney add equal amount of hot water(this will thaw the frozen cube instantly.
You can use equal amount of tamarind pulp for lemon Juice in your cooking.