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Tamarind -- Spice



Scientific classification
Binomial name
Tamarindus indica

The Tamarind (alternative name Indian date, translation of Arabic is a tropical tree, originally from east Africa but now introduced into most of tropical Asia as well as Latin America. The tree can grow 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 18 leaflets. The tree produces brown pod-like fruits, which contain pulp and hard-coated seeds. The seeds can be scarified to enhance germination.

The pulp of the fruit is used as a spice both in Asian as well as in Latin American cuisine, and is also an important ingredient to Worcestershire sauce and HP sauce. 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. The pulp, leaves, and the bark also have medical applications. For example, in the Philippines, the leaves have been traditionally used in herbal tea for reducing malaria fever. Due to its denseness and durability, tamarind heartwood can be used in making furniture and wood flooring.Tamarind trees are very common in South India particularly in Andhra Pradesh. They are used to provide shade on the country roads and highways like oak trees. Monkeys love the ripened tamarind fruit. You can buy Tamarind in Indian stores all over the world. Tamarind is the staple in South Indian diet. They use it regularly to prepare Sambhar (Spicy lentil soup with lots of vegetables), Pulihora rice and various types of chutneys.

The tamarind is the provincial tree of the Phetchabun province of Thailand.



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