Species: Tamarindus indica L.
Common Names: Tamarind, Tamarindo, Tamarin, Sampalok. pepol, tinti, wan shou kuo, betik petik, gandul, katela gantung, kates, kepaya, kuntaia
Part Used: Fruit, seed, wood
| PLANT DESCRIPTION |
The leaves have been traditionally used in herbal tea for reducing malaria fever. Due to its medicinal value, tamarind is used as an Ayurvedic Medicine for gastric and/or digestion problems.
The 3 - 8 inch long, brown, irregularly curved pods are borne in abundance along the new branches. As the pods mature, they fill out somewhat and the juicy, acidulous pulp turns brown or reddish-brown. When fully ripe, the shells are brittle and easily broken. The pulp dehydrates to a sticky paste enclosed by a few coarse stands of fiber. The pods may contain from 1 to 12 large, flat, glossy brown, obovate seeds embedded in the brown, edible pulp. The pulp has a pleasing sweet/sour flavor and is high in both acid and sugar. It is also rich in vitamin B and high in calcium. There are wide differences in fruit size and flavor in seedling trees. Indian types have longer pods with 6 - 12 seeds, while the West Indian types have shorter pods containing only 3 - 6 seeds. Most tamarinds in the Americas are of the shorter type.
The fruit pulp is edible and popular. It is used as a spice in both Asian and Latin American cuisines, and is also an important ingredient in Worcestershire sauce, HP sauce and the Jamaican-produced Pickapeppa sauce.
In Latin America, especially Mexico, and Latin American immigrant communities in the US, the fruit is wildly popular and is fashioned into a drink, "Tamarindo", and many kinds of treats. Many popular Tamarindo concoctions are hard candies and suckers and one of the most popular aguas frescas is flavored with tamarind. Tamarind is a popular food in Mexico and is used in many Mexican candies and drinks like Jarritos. Likewise Sino-Peruvian food uses tamarind-based juice for its distinctive sweet flavour.