The Tamarind (Tamarindus indica) is the only species of the genus Tamarindus in the family Fabaceae. It is a tropical tree, native to eastern Africa, including parts of the Madagascar dry deciduous forests. It grows wild throughout the Sudan but has now been introduced into most of tropical Asia as well as Latin America and the Caribbean. A Tamarind seedling A Tamarind seedling The tree can grow up to 20 m 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 10-40 leaflets. The flowers are produced in racemes. The fruit is a brown pod-like legume, which contains a soft pulp and many hard-coated seeds. The seeds can be scarified to enhance germination. Alternative names include Indian date, translation of Arabic تمر هندي tamr hindī. In Malaysia it is called asam in Malay and swee boey in Hokkien. In Indonesia it is called asem (or asam) Jawa (means Javanese asam) in Indonesian. In Hindi it is called imli. In Bangla, the term is tẽtul. In Sinhala the name is siyambala, in Telugu it is called Chintachettu (tree) and Chintapandu (fruit extract) and in Tamil and Malayalam it is puli. In Kannada it is called hunase. In Malagasy it is called voamadilo. The tamarind is the provincial tree of the Phetchabun province of Thailand (in Thailand it is called Ma-kham).
Tamarind is the seed pods from the tamarind tree. It is widely used to provide a sweet and tart flavour to savoury meat and vegetable dishes and in drinks and deserts in South Asia. India is the top producer, growing tamarind in orchard-like plantations for domestic use and export.
Tamarind is the brown, tart flesh from the pods of a tree in the pea and bean family. The flesh surrounds the brown shiny seeds within the sausage-shaped pod. Pods are harvested at different stages of maturity according to their intended use.
Tamarind fruit pods and seeds have a characteristically tart flavour. They are used in South Asia to add a sour taste to dishes such as sauces, curries, rice and to drinks and deserts. It is purchased in its whole, fresh form, or as a paste or concentrate, or compressed into a syrupy block. It is a good source of zinc and was traditionally made into a type of porridge and given to pregnant women in South Asia.