Tamarind

Tamarind husks
Tamarind

Tamarind is a tropical fruit native to tropical Africa and the Indian sub-continent. The tamarind trees have now spread to the tropical Americas.

Tamarind fruits are flat, bean-like, irregularly curved and bulging pods from 3 to 7 inches long. The pods contain a reddish-brown highly acid flesh enclosed by a few coarse strands of fiber extending lengthwise from the stalk.

This edible pod is used primarily as a flavouring for beverages and in food preparation world-wide. It is used extensively in South-East Asian and Indian cooking to flavour curries, chutneys and bean dishes.

Tamarind has a unique sweet and sour flavour and comes in seeded and paste form and most commonly in a block form.

Preparation

To prepare compressed blocks of tamarind, tear off the equivalent of 15ml and soak it in 150ml warm water for 10 minutes. Mix it together and strain through a fine sieve. Throw away the pulp and use the liquid.

To use tamarind slices, soak them in 150ml warm water for about 30 minutes. Squeeze and strain the juice.

To use tamarind concentrate, mix 15ml of tamarind with 4-6 tbsp warm water.

Store in a cool, dark place.

Tamarind fruit contains many volatile phytochemicals such as limonene, geraniol, safrole, cinnamic acid, methyl salicylate, pyrazine, and alkylthiazoles. Together, these compounds account for the medicinal properties of tamarind.

Its sticky pulp is a rich source of non-starch polysaccharides (NSP) or dietary fiber such as gums, hemicelluloses, mucilage, pectin, and tannins. 100 g of fruit pulp provides 5.1 or over 13% of dietary fiber. NSP or dietary fiber in the food increases its bulk and augments bowel movements thereby help prevent constipation. The fiber also binds to toxins in the food thereby help protect the colon mucosa from cancer-causing chemicals.

Nutrition

Tamarinds, raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 239 kcal (1,000 kJ)
 
Carbohydrates 62.5 g
Sugars 57.4
Dietary fiber 5.1 g
 
Fat 0.6 g
 
Protein 2.8 g
 
Vitamins
Thiamine (B1) (37%) 0.428 mg
Riboflavin (B2) (13%) 0.152 mg
Niacin (B3) (13%) 1.938 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5) (3%) 0.143 mg
Vitamin B6 (5%) 0.066 mg
Folate (B9) (4%) 14 μg
Choline (2%) 8.6 mg
Vitamin C (4%) 3.5 mg
Vitamin E (1%) 0.1 mg
Vitamin K (3%) 2.8 μg
 
Minerals
Calcium (7%) 74 mg
Iron (22%) 2.8 mg
Magnesium (26%) 92 mg
Phosphorus (16%) 113 mg
Potassium (13%) 628 mg
Sodium (2%) 28 mg
Zinc (1%) 0.1 mg

 

 

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